Home Cover Story Two new motorcycles from Mahindra for the commuter segment

Two new motorcycles from Mahindra for the commuter segment

Two new motorcycles from Mahindra for the commuter segment

By Huned Contractor

The two new motorcycles, Pantero and Centuro, are based on the same platform and will address different sub-segments within the commuter segment


Introducing just another motorcycle in an already congested market obviously wasn’t on the mind of the Mahindra 2 Wheelers’ team when it first started making a prototype for a 110 cc machine. “Rather, we were looking to create a thinking machine for an intelligent world,” says Viren Popli, Executive Vice President, Mahindra 2 Wheelers Ltd (MTWL). The result, as was unveiled to a select group of automotive journalists on January 2 in Pune, is two motorcycles – Centuro (Rs 44, 190 ex-showroom Chennai) and Pantero, both having been designed on an entirely fresh platform to specifically cater to the needs of the emerging class of motorcycle buyers. Designed completely in-house at the future-ready, state-of-the-art Mahindra R&D Centre in Pune in a record 18 months, both the motorcycles are powered by the MCi-5 engine manufactured at its plant in Pithampur near Indore. “Having undergone extensive testing in the lab, on the road and in the hands of consumers across the country, Mahindra 2 Wheelers’ latest offerings for the Indian bikers not only scores high on styling but also on performance. We have aimed to redefine the Indian riding experience through an intimate understanding of the Indian consumers coupled with our technical capabilities to design products with in-built intelligence and really thoughtful features,” said P S Ashok, Senior Vice President & Head (R&D and Pune Operations).

The Centuro delivers 8.5 BHP @ 7,500 RPM and 8.5 Nm of peak torque at 5,500 RPM with a ground clearance of 173 mm, seat height of 800 mm and a maintenance-free battery. The Pantero too has similar technical specifications and the company claims that its MCi 5 (Micro Chip Ignited 5-Curve) engine delivers an “excellent” mileage of 79.5 kmpl as per ARAI specifications. Additionally, the Pantero has the longest seat (774 mm) in the 110 cc commuter segment that allows riders for increased comfort over longer distances. The motorcycle has a ground clearance of 165 mm and has alloy wheels with a wheelbase of 1,265 mm. It will be made available in four variants – self-start/cast alloy wheels/digital console, self-start/cast alloy wheels/analog console, kick start/cast alloy wheels/analog console and kick start/spoke/analog console.


Pointing out why both the bikes belong to the ‘intelligent’ class, Ashok informs that some of the innovative features in the bikes include protection against theft through a central locking anti-theft system with an engine immobilizer and a remote 128 bit encrypted flip key – claimed to be a first in Indian motorcycling as also ‘find me’ lamps that can help you locate your motorcycle in crowded parking lots.

The guide lamps continue to illuminate for about seven seconds even as you walk away after parking your bike. “One of the unique features is that these bikes sport an advanced, white, fully-lit digital dashboard with an in-built ‘service due’ indicator and distance- to-empty fuel calculator,” Ashok said. The Pantero is also equipped with certain other first-in-class features like LED pilot and tail lamps for added safety, choke on the handlebar, 13.7 litre fuel tank, etc. “The LED pilot lamps and tail lamps are to ensure safety of the rider during twilight and foggy winter conditions when there is lower visibility,” Popli informed. The R&D for both these bikes was started after Mahindra 2 Wheelers acquired Kinetic Ltd and it is the MCi 5 engine which is being credited for giving both the bikes greater power on the steep gradients, higher mileage on flat roads and quicker acceleration than its peers.

Both Pantero and Centuro are totally new bikes


A chat with P S Ashok, Senior Vice President & Head (R&D and Pune Operations)

How did you decide on the design parameters of Centuro and Pantero?

We conducted surveys that indicated a preference for reliable bikes that would be high on mileage, styling and operations.

Those whom we spoke to were clear about the fact that they didn’t want bulky bikes but certainly wanted motorcycles that would attract attention while promising sustainability.

There were certain other concerns that emerged, such as the fear of theft, of being unable to locate a motorcycle from among the many bikes stored in parking lots or in poorly lit spaces and the fact that keys can make holes in your pockets. We have therefore addressed all these problems.

How does the Pantero provide a high mileage of more than 79 kmpl?

It’s all to do with reducing the friction in the engine, the rings, etc. Moreover, two-wheelers are now able to provide better mileage because the road conditions have improved and people are able to drive at average speeds of 40-50 km per hour.

Are these bikes a revamped version of the Stallio?

No, let me make it clear that except for certain styling features that were carried forward from the Stallio, both Pantero and Centuro are totally new bikes that have been designed with a fresh approach. This explains why both these bikes have so many new features.

Quick test ride


It’s a clear, though slightly hot, morning on a hill just outside the main city of Pune and the buzz on the otherwise tranquil estate is because Mahindra 2 Wheelers has lined up several Pantero motorcycles for a test ride. There’s a winding road down of about three to four kilometres that you can use to get a proper feel of the bike, sans any traffic congestion except for the occasional grazing buffalo that may threaten to cross the road. We sit astride the Pantero and the first impression is that it’s definitely a much slimmer model than any bike in its class so that your legs do not spread out at awkward angles from the petrol tank.

As you kick-start the gear, appreciate its pleasant purr and move into first gear, the acceleration does take you by surprise. The Pantero definitely seems to make a point here as it quickly moves ahead. In terms of comfort, the seat is longer than that of most bikes and therefore can accommodate a pillion rider without both persons straining for space.

The dashboard is certainly innovative as it flashes the speed, distance and even the number of kilometres it would be able to tackle on the fuel that’s there in the tank. The head lamps and the tail lights make a good impression and the bike maintains a good balance even during the turns. The speed is better than other bikes in the 110 cc segment and the bike is able to tackle gradients without much of a problem. We don’t know if it really can post an average of 79 kmpl since this was a short test drive but the Pantero would score high in terms of maneuverability.

That’s primarily because of its sleek, cat-like styling. However, one is not sure if this style would appeal to those searching for fancy cuts or a muscled stature. This one cannot lay claims to a six-pack body for sure. However, it’s neat and compact and features like the immobilizer and the LED-fitted key may work in its favour.

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