UM Renegade Commando Classic and Mojave Edition First Ride Review: Royal Enfield Rival, Finally?
UM Motorcycles are back with two new motorcycles – the UM Renegade Commando Classic and Mojave editions. But are these good enough to dethrone the segment leader?
At the last Delhi Auto Expo held in February 2016, UM Motorcycles was one of the brands that made all heads turned towards itself and had everyone talking about it. It was almost instantly that people gave it the title of a worthy rival to the segment leader Royal Enfield – a no small feat by any means, and it gave the company a base to build upon, a base that manufacturers only dream of. The company then took its own sweet time to launch the Renegade Commando and the Renegade Sport which received a decent response from the market but not like what one expected from these motorcycles.
Now, they are ready for their second innings in the Indian market as they have launched not one but two motorcycles in the form of the UM Renegade Commando Classic and the UM renegade commando Mojave edition. What’s different, what’s good, what’s bad and is it worth your money? Let’s find out.
Let’s start with the biggest attraction point of these motorcycles and arguably, its USP – the way they look.
The Renegade Commando Classic takes the tried and tested route for attracting cruiser lovers by getting a lot of chrome treatment, saddle bag and a wind deflector at the front. All of which makes the motorcycle look bigger that what it is and at first glance, you might even think of it as a higher capacity motorcycle. There’s even a USA badge at the rear fender completing the look. Interestingly, it also gets a small pouch on the fuel tank that’s big enough for some loose change or your smartphone and also protects your fuel tank from getting scratched in that area.
The Classic edition was first showcased at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo and its launch was expected, but the surprise offering came in the form of the Mojave edition. It is essentially similar to the Renegade Commando in almost every way. The only changes come in the form of an added saddlebag, the tank-mounted pouch just like the Classic and the matte finish paint job. It is an ode to the Mojave Desert in America which is signified by a badge on the side panel of the motorcycle.
Apart from the changes, both these motorcycles carry over the design from the Renegade Commando, which means, they also get the good bits like the pillion backrest and the cleverly integrated USB port on the side of the tank-mounted instrument cluster.
Speaking of the instrument cluster, it shows pretty much every information that is necessary for the rider but the digital readout font size is quite small which often requires more effort to read than it should. The fact that it is mounted on the fuel tank and not on the handlebar does not help its case either.
Overall, though, both these motorcycles look fantastic and will give no chances of complaints in terms of looks to typical cruiser lovers.
The best part about the motorcycle has to be the comfort it offers. The foot pegs are forward set, the handlebar sweeps back towards the rider and the seat height is low enough making it usable for those with shorter height and helping the rider plant their feet on the ground firmly when the bike is not in motion. All of this comes together in a great way and the comfort extends to the pillion rider as well since they get the luxury of a factory-fitted backrest. The availability of a wind-deflector on the Classic edition feels like a blessing and the fact that both these motorcycles have a fuel tank capacity of 18 litres, means that you don’t have to worry about fuel stops for those weekend getaways and long highway rides.
The handling of the motorcycle is good too and despite its 179-kilo kerb weight, the motorcycles are quick to change direction and maneuverable enough to not tire you out while tackling the city traffic. As for the vibrations, they are not noticeable until you really push the motorcycle hard, upon which, there are subtle vibrations at the footpegs and the handlebar.
What’s Not So Cool?
Both these motorcycles have to adhere to the BS-IV emission norms now which means the company had to resort to fuel injection inside the engine in order to comply with the level of pollutants coming out of the exhaust. Now, in theory, fuel injection should make the on-off throttle transitions a breezy affair but that’s not the case with these motorcycles. The test unit of the Renegade Commando Classic that we had kept on stalling even in third gear whenever we rode it at lower RPMs. The Mojave edition, on the other hand, worked just fine raising our eyebrows on the consistency of the throttle response among the motorcycles.
Then comes the brakes. At the front, you get a 280mm disc brake which offers good bite and feedback and gave us no chance on complaints. What we missed, though, was a disc brake setup at the rear which makes do with a 130mm drum brake instead.
And then, there is the glaring omission of ABS which is not offered even as an option and in our opinion, it is something that UM shouldn’t have overlooked as motorcycles of lower engine capacity and lower price tags are offering them nowadays.
So by now, you have an idea of how good these motorcycle really are. Comfort, style, and practicality – these bikes offer it all. But there is one major characteristic of the motorcycle that needs to be kept in mind by all those who are considering these as their next probable purchase – that’s rideability.
The engine that comes on board these motorcycles is a 280cc single cylinder, liquid cooled unit that produces 25.15 PS of power and 23 NM of torque and comes mated to a six-speed transmission. Now all of this sounds good unless you dig a little deeper. While the peak power and torque output figures are good enough for this motorcycle, the peak torque is delivered as high as 7500 RPM and the peak power doesn’t come in until a roof-touching 8500 RPM. The gearbox is a cruising friendly six-speed unit, yes, but the gear ratios are tall – to give you an idea, the first gear itself takes you to over 50 km/h.
What all these numbers mean, in simple words, is that when you want to do those sprints and quick overtakes you pretty much always have to downshift as the meat of the power lies high up in the rev band. Add to that the gear ratios and you really have to ‘work’ the engine to get anywhere. The dilemma it raises is that typical cruiser lovers actually love drivetrains setups that allow them to lug the engine. For this, they want to make minimal gearshifts and want low-end torque delivery and a chunky mid-range power delivery. The UM Renegade Commando Classic and Mojave editions have a riding characteristic that’s exactly opposite to a typical cruiser riding style, while being just that – a typical cruiser in every other way.
So at the end of the day, the UM Renegade Commando Classic and Mojave editions offer a mixed bag of results. The real saving grace is the price tag that these bikes come at and their biggest competition which is Royal Enfield – which is not exactly a benchmark when it comes to reliability and build quality in the first place.
The UM Renegade Commando Classic has been priced at Rs 1.89 lakh and the UM Renegade Mojave edition is priced at Rs 1.8 lakh (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi). When you consider the price tags that these motorcycles come at and the features they bring to the table, you will be willing to overlook quite a few things as it actually makes a good value for money offering. The only thing you need to keep in mind is whether the riding characteristic of the motorcycle suits your taste or not, because if it does you simply cannot miss out on these.