It was a bright and sunny afternoon in Pune, and the temperature was pleasant, which was unusual for the city at this time of the year. I was glad of that, because this weather was perfect for the proceedings of the day. Mahindra had flown us down to this city for a test ride of the latest offering from the M2W stable, the Pantero, keeping up with Mahindra’s tradition of naming all their vehicles ending with an “oh”. The Pantero fits in the already established segment of 110cc commuter bike, but aims to be a bit more than that. Things stand at the state where Mahindra does not list any motorcycles on its website. A lot is expected of this new offering. Does the Pantero deliver? Read on.
I have always felt that looks are subjective and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As for me, I believe the Pantero does look good. The overall feel of the bike is fresh, with the sporty decals and the funky looking headlamp unit. The bike is modern and certainly the looks justify that, and the styling won’t get dated in any hurry. The head light unit is practical, with good visibility from the head light, and excellent visibility for on coming traffic through the LED pilot lamps. There are no features on the fuel tank except for the decals, and that in-turn translates into a bigger fuel tank. The LED tail lamps also provide safety as it can be seen from quite a distance, and so, reduces the risk of being hit from behind when visibility is poor. The dash is an all digital unit, which makes the bike look cool and provides more information than an analog dash.
Engine and Performance
The Pantero’s engine, named MCi-5 (which stands for Micro Chip Ignited 5-Curve), displaces 106.7cc and churns out a healthy power of 8.5PS@7500 rpm and torque of 8.5 NM@5500 rpm. Mahindra firmly veered us away from the assumption that this was a improvised version of the Stallio’s engine. Mahindra’s R&D centre in Pune is said to have completed the development of the engine in 18 months. The ARAI certified Fuel Efficiency figures suggest an overall Fuel Efficiency of 79.5 KMPL. At our test location in Pune, the roads offered some decent straight stretches of roads, and the top speed I could achieve was 85 Kmph. The vibrations are quite vivid after the speedo shows 60 kmph and thus discourages pushing it upwards. But considering the real world conditions in which this bike will be used, which is commuting, 60 kmph is pretty much what will be achievable. The location also offered some steep gradients, and the Pantero, considering the engine size, does get the job done well, provided you keep the bike in the correct gear. The engine does feel a bit strained going up a gradient, but it does keep going.The engine is mated to a 4 speed constant mesh transmission box. Mahindra has opted for an all 4-up shifting pattern instead of the one down three up pattern we’ve seen on the Stallio. The gearbox has definitely improved and shifts are no longer clunky. Finding neutral is still a trick that you get to pull off only after a while of being acquainted with the Pantero.
Suspension and Handling
Mahindra has worked magic with the suspension of the Pantero. The ride is excellent. The roads at our location were quite bumpy but I hardly felt the shocks. Expect motorcyclists on Panteros to keep their hand steady on the throttle over bumps and potholes with abandon! It also handles the twisty stuff well. The Pantero is agile and flickable and boasts best in-class maneuverability.
..best in-class maneuverability
Where the Pantero does let itself down is in the brakes. There is no option of disc brakes in the bike and that clearly translates into less confidence in the front brakes. The bite in the rear is good, but the front brakes simply lack the feel. It may be argued that the the masses will hardly use the front brakes, and would much prefer to use the rear ones, but it is disconcerting nonetheless. The front brakes hardly give you any confidence while braking heavily into a corner.
While the Centuro is Mahindra’s offering that deserves a whole paragraph and more for just the features, the Pantero isn’t too far behind. The Pantero has a first-in-class, all digital dashboard and LED pilot and tail lamps, which are useful in conditions were visibility is low. The fully digital dash comes equipped with a speedometer, fuel gauge, tachometer, a clock and a trip meter. The Stallio was lauded for the long, wide seat that was the most comfortable in its class and then some. Pantero also boasts the largest seat in its class, which is pretty comfortable and can easily seat 2 adults.
The Pantero is an excellent commuter bike, with good looks, practical features, excellent ride, decent performance and with a 13.7 Liter fuel tank and a 79.5 Kmpl fuel efficiency, it has an excellent range as well. The prices of Pantero are yet to be announced, and so it remains to be seen how competitive the prices are in relation to the competition. We expect the price to be the deciding factor that will enable the Pantero to trump over the likes of the Honda CB Twister.
|Single Cylinder, 4-stroke, Air cooled, Mci-5 engine
|Bore X Stroke
|52.4 X 49.5 mm
|8.5 PS @ 7500 rpm
|8.5 Nm @ 5500 rpm
|Electric Start / Kick Start
|Transmission: Gear Box
|Constant mesh 4 Speed
|Double cradle steel Tubular structure
|Telescopic , Coil spring
|Coiled 5-step adjustable
|Drum – 130 mm
|Drum – 130 mm
|Tyre Size: FRONT
|2.75” x 18”
|3.0” x 18”
|Battery: Electric Start
|12V / 5 Ah
| Kick Start
|12V / 2.5 Ah
|12 V – 35W/35W – Halogen (Multi-reflector)
|Digital / Analog
|Kerb Weight (90% fuel filled)
|Minimum Ground Clearance
|Fuel Tank Capacity
|White Twin Pilot Lamps -LED Type