Mahindra flew us down to Mumbai to test their latest offering, the new Rodeo RZ. The first monsoons had washed the city in the morning, the results being very slippery roads. But the rains had just stopped by the time my flight landed in Mumbai, and for brief moments even the sun shone brightly. All this meant that by the time I got to the black Rodeo RZ, the roads had dried up well, and the rain showed no signs of a return. I put on my riding jacket, helmet and riding gloves and got on the Black Rodeo RZ. The film city, as the name suggests, is a place where movie makers come to shoot and is a place that is always hustle and bustle with activity. And this day was not going to be an exception and there was a shoot going on right outside the event venue and I had to gently wade through it all, till I reached the open roads. That done, I opened the taps on the Rodeo RZ and was delighted with the responsiveness of the engine. It felt eager and urgent to get going and that’s a good thing in an engine!
The Rodeo RZ has the 125 CC ‘Z Series’ engine. This is of course, the same 125cc mill used in the Duro DZ we reviewed last year. The Rodeo RZ too boasts of increased power and an improved fuel consumption, thanks to the new Dual Curve Ignition System. The engine packs 6 KW, or roughly 8 bhp at 7000 rpm and maximum torque of 9 Nm at 5500 rpm. The Rodeo RZ has best in class acceleration claims Mahindra, faster than even the Suzuki Swish. The ARAI certified fuel efficiency figure is 59.38 KMPL, but Mahindra also gives us another figure, around 53 kpl, under the Indian Driving Cycle. The top speed of the scooter has been reduced from 91 kph to 80 kph, but the scooter gets to the 80 kph in no time at all. Overtaking slower moving vehicles on the roads should not be a problem in the Rodeo RZ.
The other change in the RZ is the ride height, which has been increased to a class leading 154 mm. I took the scooter on some pretty bad terrain, strewn with huge boulders and the under side was never scratched. The handling of the scooter is exceptional. It does feel very composed even at high speeds and it does take the corners very well. The suspension has been optimally setup to make sure that the pot holes that are in their millions on our roads can be dealt with. A normal Indian pot hole strewn road couldn’t be found inside the Film City, but there were quite a few bumps and holes on the roads and here, the suspension did its job beautifully.
The jolts were not transmitted entirely to you, and you could hardly feel the bumps. The Rodeo RZ has the perfect balance of sporty handling and a comfortable ride. Then comes the business of stopping the vehicle. The brakes on the Rodeo RZ are superb. The Rodeo does not have disc brakes, even as an option, but honestly, the drum brakes are just adequate. The only situation where you would miss the disc brakes is when you hit the brakes hard from 70 kph. Make no mistake, the brakes aren’t bad, in fact, even when you brake so hard, the vehicle is still stable, but you do cover a lot of distance before you come to a stop. The drums brakes cannot match the discs in terms of quickness of stopping. But for your average use, these brakes are brilliant.
The Rodeo RZ has a fully digital speedometer, which includes a tachometer, tripmeter, acceleration timer, odometer, speedometer, overspeed alarm, fuel gauge, clock and a side stand buzzer. What the overspeed alarm does is change the back light on the speedometer to red, when you go past 60 kph. And the side stand buzzer is an interesting addition to the features list. The buzzer goes off if you turn on the ignition, without putting up your side stand. This is particularly useful, as many do forget to put up the side stand, and a side stand warning light is mostly ignored, but a buzzer makes sure you don’t ignore it. The scooter also features a MP3/Mobile phone charger.
The 4-in-1 Anti theft key can also be used to open the fuel filler cap. Also the back end of the key can be used to close the key hole itself.
The Rodeo RZ also has a best-in-class 22 litres of under seat storage space, which is also illuminated. But still, the storage space could not fit my full faced helmet, which was a bit disappointing. But the space seems quite adequate for the commuter helmets that were presented by Mahindra.
Styling of the Rodeo RZ is not that much different to the Rodeo. But the design tweaks make you feel like there is a flow to the design, like the design is more complete, somehow. The Rodeo RZ has an option of seven colors, the new additions being Mystique Violet, Electric Green and Flame Orange.
Mahindra says it plans to launch this product within the next couple of weeks, but still hasn’t revealed anything about its pricing. If you are in the market for a sporty scooter, that’s comfortable, cool, fuel efficient, feature laden and fun, look no further. The Rodeo RZ is your answer. It does what you expect of a scooter, and then some more!