We took the Mahindra Mojo to Ladakh. Here’s how it went…

A Mahindra Mojo, among the Royal Enfield ruled territory. Read about how it performs at Leh here

The Mojo, when launched, was pegged as an entry-level performance bike. Over time Mahindra realised that the Mojo’s true potential was in its touring capabilities. That commuter-ish riding position, torquey motor and relaxed handling reminded one of what a Royal Enfield could be without being a Royal Enfield. My first tryst with the Royal Enfield was riding a Thunderbird 500 to the Himalayas two years ago. At that time, I felt the Enfield belonged there, it was probably more comfortable than me at higher altitudes. It is one of the reasons every Tom, Dick and Harvinder who buys a Royal Enfield, dreams of going to Ladakh. The Bullet has been the perfect companion to traverse this desolate landscape for the simple reason that its large capacity long stroke motor delivers ample torque to chug along up the steepest of inclines where most high-compression motors would sputter for lack of oxygen. Its mechanical simplicity is another bonus allowing it to be repaired by almost anyone, anywhere. The ‘Bullet to the mountains’ pilgrimage turned out to be so successful that Royal Enfield has been running its own annual expedition there for 13 years, aptly calling it the Himalayan Odyssey.

Mahindra two wheelers now has a capable touring bike in the Mojo, and if this modern motorcycle can prove its mettle in the Himalayas, the brand could benefit immensely and establish itself well enough to steal some thunder from the thumpers. This odyssey on the Mojo we are riding is called the Mojo Trails. It plans to take us to exotic places high up in the mountains with a large part of the ride in the Ladakh region. Moreover, I am curious to know whether the Mojo is cut out for hardcore touring, especially when it comes with those Pirelli Corsa tyres that are more suited for the race track than dirt tracks. More importantly, how does it stack up against the reining entry-level touring champion — the Bullet?
So here I am, on an overcast Sunday morning at the Bikers Cafe in Gurgaon. The cafe is abuzz with activity, mechanics doing final checks and enthusiastic riders checking each other’s kit, all eager to pop their Himalayan cherry. Outside the cafe 25 shiny Mojos wait patiently. Looking around I see a few interesting modifications on some of the bikes. Apart from auxiliary LED lights, a couple of bikes are sporting all-terrain tyres and mounts for luggage racks. It is well executed but unfinished, the kind you see on prototype bikes. Turns out the bike belongs to a factory rider hinting at the possibility of an adventure version of the Mojo or at the very least, touring accessories.
The ride from Gurgaon to Chandigarh is the opposite of the Ladakh section. Smooth, congested highways with smoke and sweltering heat for company. The good thing though, is you can really gauge the touring capabilities of a bike on this 280 kilometre stretch. The Mojo excels at this. The upright seating position keeps fatigue at bay while the 300cc motor allows for relaxed cruising at speeds of 110-120kmph. I did the same ride on the Thunderbird 500 and while performance seemed the same, the Mojo feels more comfortable over longer distances as the Thunderbird has a softer seat which makes your backside numb. The Bullet still trumps it, its old-school springer seat still is the best in the business but the Mojo comes a close second.

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