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Updated: June 26, 2012 17:24 IST

Road smart Rodeo

KARTIKEYA SINGHEE
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Mahindra Rodeo RZ
Mahindra Rodeo RZ

An RZ tag and upgrade give an edge to Rodeo, the scooter from Mahindra

Mahindra’s Rodeo, a 125cc feature-rich scooter has done quite well since it was launched. But in the last year or so with the competition growing, Mahindra has in time upgraded the Rodeo.

The Rodeo now boasts seven colour options, including three new candy colours. Apart from this, the scooter sports simpler graphics on its apron and side panels, and overall, the sleek, unisex design should cater to a wide audience. Some elements, like the chrome garnish on the front apron and exhaust give it a richness.

Mahindra says it has been working hard to improve quality and the tolerances for flush-fitting panels. The fit seemed fine on the test bikes, but the finish could be better. We could see a couple of rust spots on the exhaust and, despite the polish, the faded plastics could be made out. However, the Rodeo RZ feels like a robust scooter that can handle Indian conditions with ease.

When it comes to equipment, the Rodeo was the envy of all the other scooters in the market and the RZ also boasts the same expansive list. The convenience of a front fuel-filler, an open storage space at the front, a massive 22-litre illuminated under-seat storage bay and a 12v mobile charging point is hard to ignore. The Rodeo also features a side stand warning buzzer, and a digital display that integrates a tachometer and a speedometer. Telescopic forks keep the Rodeo from crashing through potholes. However, one feature that is sorely missed is the rear brake lock clamp, and apart from this, Mahindra would have done well to include a disc brake and alloy wheels to improve on the comprehensive features list.

On the technical front, Mahindra has made three changes. Most straightforward of the lot is the increase in ground clearance by 24mm to 154mm. This keeps the Rodeo’s belly from scraping over speedbreakers even with two people on board. The second involves a new fuel-level sensor. Instead of a float-based system, the Rodeo RZ uses a pressure-based system that provides consistent readings from the 4.5-litre tank. Lastly, the 124.6cc, four-stroke, air-cooled engine carries changes that were introduced on the Duro DZ recently. This motor now develops 8.05bhp of power and 0.91kgm of torque. It also features a Dual Curve Digital Ignition system, which chooses between two preset ignition maps for greater performance and efficiency.

Out on the road, the Rodeo pulls eagerly off the line. The motor is smooth and refined and continues to feel that way as you accelerate. Like on the Duro, acceleration tapered off once the speedo crossed the 50kph mark, but for regular city duty the Rodeo has ample shove and the engine is refined too. The all-important fuel-efficiency figure is an ARAI-tested 59kpl and Mahindra expects the number to dip very slightly in real world conditions. Despite changes to the suspension, the Rodeo still feels pliant over rough sections. The front fork keeps the harsh road conditions from bothering the rider. The MRF tyres offer good grip and felt confident even on wet roads.

The RZ manages to stay true to the Rodeo and the upgrades only make the RZ more appealing and practical. Mahindra though could have done a bit more to give the RZ its own distinct identity in the promising Indian two-wheeler market. We only hope Mahindra will keep the Rodeo RZ’s price close to the previous version’s to give this capable scooter an edge.

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