- Car Test drives
- UM Renegade Commando Mojave & Classic: First ride
Snapshot: UML Motorcycles just released two new models, Mojave and Classic, recently in the cruiser segment. One is a brawny looking tough-guy and the other is a chrome detailed cruiser with class. We get a short ride on these two new entrants.
Remember a fancy new brand at the Auto Expo 2016 everybody went gaga about. They made their debut with funky looking cruiser motorcycle range which came out to be reasonably priced indeed. Yes, we’re talking about UM Motorcycles who have been very much selling motorcycles ever since and are keeping prices competitive through locally based manufacturing sharing assembly line at Lohia Auto plant in Kashipur, Uttarakhand. The bikes look good and have their presence felt, but we never got a chance to ride one. So imagine our haste when they called us to ride their new Mojave and Classic.
There’s absolutely no denying the fact that all the motorcycles in UML’s range look excellent. They carry a lot of bulk, are set high off the ground despite being cruisers and look a segment above their class. The new Commando Mojave gets its name based on the driest Mojave Desert in North America. Its matte sand texture finished paint looks rough and ready to take on gruelling terrains, although keeping the rider in comfort. The Classic on the other hand is a classy looking chrome detailed cruiser that mostly appeals to the rider who wants his/her presence felt as they arrive. It sports a tall windscreen to protect you from wind blast hitting your face directly while you cruise on wide open highways, which you will on this comfortable and potent cruiser. The colour scheme adds a lot of drama to these machines. Mojave is available in only this sand colour, which essentially is the model’s theme, and the Classic comes in either black or white. The white is a noticeably good looking colour, mostly because it is dual-tone. The seat fabric is decently stitched, but we’re slightly unsure about the durability of those saddle bags. Quality overall in general is decent, but yes there is a lot of room for improvement. And please the speedometer mounted on the tank requires you to look down taking your eyes off the road, definitely a no no.
Engine and performance
Engine option is a single cylinder 279.5cc liquid cooled on both these motorcycles pulling similar weight. It produces 24.8bhp of maximum power at 8,500rpm and a peak pulling force of23Nm at 7,000rpm. These numbers means that these machines pull surprisingly hard when you push them providing an enjoyable rush. Thanks to its 4 valve setup it is a smooth pulling engine and its exhaust gives out a muted hum. Just so you want more sound form the exhaust, can pull out the decibel killers for more charisma. Acceleration is apt for a motorcycle of this dimension. You sit on it comfortably and power through its 6-speed transmission to triple digit speeds. One grip that we feel is the absence of low rpm torque delivery from the engine. If you claim 200mm ground clearance and slight off-road capability, you need to give the engine low end torque, and we feel 23Nm just does not cut it. However, the engine has enough punch for most riders looking for a comfortable mile-muncher.
Ride and handling
This is a win-win for UM, the suspension setup is good with comfort and handling both accounted for. The conventional setup offers a smooth ride without compromising sure-footed handling through faster corners. Also the brakes add more confidence to the riding experience, kudos to the engineering team. Even the TVS tyres on both these motorcycles are good enough to take a lot of abuse before giving up. Nice to see how locally sourced parts, shocks from Gabriel, tyres from TVS, combine to give such a value-added package. Throw any of the two machines through fast corners and they hold up. Rough road surfaces are dealt with gracefully, but that doesn’t mean this is an off-road supermoto. Another positive is the rider seat that holds you throughout with comfort.
Both these motorcycles add new flavours to the cruiser segment for sure. Yes there might be some rough bits for the asking price, but they can be overshadowed by the mix bag of capabilities these two have to offer. UM motorcycles commitment to the Indian market looks strong and they will keep improving on products as more owner inputs are put into consideration. We definitely recommend visiting a dealership and trying out both these machines before you start narrowing on a cruiser. All that is needed from the brand is a strong service network to support all customers.