Mahindra unveiled the Duro DZ ( shortly known to us as the 125 DX ) to the press at Lavasa. Have you noticed how the syllables la-va-sa roll off and leave a sweet tingle on your tongue? Pune, don’t even get me started. I do not know if it was the smooth did-not-have-to-haggle-with-cabbies drive upto Lavasa on a serene Tuesday morning, or the mellow evening rush back to the airport that caught my fancy, but am I in love with Pune. No dear Sir, I have no clue about your problems with parking, congestion and eye ball popping expensive real estate, but what I experienced of your little city, I’ve come to like, a lot.
I knew I was in too good a mood to be unbiased. Following instructions from the unwritten Riot Engine rulebook, I parked the Duro by the side of the road, zipped up my black as Street Hawk mesh jacket, shut the vents on my lid, and stood under the sweltering Pune sun for the prescribed 2 minutes 53 seconds, so I’d get a bit flustered. So began the Mahindra Duro 125 DX test ride.
The senior management from Mahindra’s Two Wheeler sector was in full force at the unveiling, along with their affable Corporate Communications team. Viren Popli, Senior VP (Strategy & Marketing Development), a Mechanical Engineer himself, introduced the new Duro 125 DX and fielded questions from the media. Before we move on to the actual ride report, a brief run through of the changes to the Duro.
The Duro 125 DX gets front telescopic suspension, halogen lamp, a brake lock lever, four point mounted wheels, increased ground clearance, marginally better fuel efficiency, a raised handle bar that improves ergonomics, rear view mirrors with a better view, much improved braking and better tyres. Hurray. Now, we’ve also noticed that the wheelbase has been optimized to 1270mm, still one of the longest in its class and top speed has dropped to 80kph from the previous gen 91kph. This should translate to better fuel efficiency.
Scooters are a weird kind. Most of them are designed with practicality being the most important trait, yet they taunt you to take them to the limits and dare you to find out what can go wrong with 10″ diameter wheels. Not much on the Duro 125 DX, as this correspondent found out. Lavasa, the interior especially has the requisite twisties, craters ( yes, really ) at blind corners and steep inclines with ruts and rocks. Two incidents are seared in memory now.
One, when I took a blind corner, at an appreciable clip, ran into a pothole at partial lean, and came out unscathed. Here’s a cookie lil’ Duro. Two, a steep incline, with ruts a couple of inches deep, gravel strewn about and requiring the 100cc motorcycles of the valley to build up momentum on the preceding tarmac before attempting a climb. On the Duro, I climbed a couple inches, stopped, posed for a picture, climbed again, posed for a picture, completed a U turn mounting the embedded rocks, and came down without a fuss. The Duro’s 125cc engine that is good for a max power of 6 kW ( 8bhp ) at 7000 rpm and more importantly 9 Nm maximum torque at 5500 rpm can take you and your pillion up the steepest inclines nature and man can throw at you, with complete disregard to the condition of the road surface. Here lil’ Duro, you can keep the entire jar of cookies.
We were a bit skeptical as to whether addition of telescopic forks would improve ride quality as much as it would improve the scooter’s aesthetics. It does actually. Riding through potholes isn’t bone jarring, thanks to the hydraulically damped suspension and dual rated coil springs. The dual rated coil springs stiffen up towards the end of travel, preventing the suspension from bottoming out while having much lesser resistance to compression when the springs are not yet fully deformed, and thereby offering better ride quality.
Finding typically tall speed breakers was a chore in Lavasa, and we had to settle for the less taken roads with rocks jutting out at all angles and heights. I couldn’t scrape the underside, and I think that speaks for the Duro 125 DX. Before I left Chennai, I was also asked by a friend who had ridden the Duro to check if the handlebars hit the rider’s knees at extreme angles. Fortunately, Mahindra had taken feedback from the taller customers and had raised the handlebar to improve ergonomics. Our correspondent who had tested the Duro previously, also reported having to make a slight effort reaching the horn. The switch gear still remains the same, and though not difficult, reaching the horn with ease on the Duro does take some familiarization.
The wheelbase is still among the longest in this class, and that accounts for comfortable legroom. The brakes are fantastic for a scooter, and after a couple of minutes, I got the hang of it and was able to brake late into corners, feeling confident.The tyres have something to do with that too.