Mahindra Gusto ridden to Leh - with a pillion
Modified On Jan 7, 2016 By Rommel Albuquerque
When we heard that a couple from Punjab rode their Mahindra Gusto scooter up to Leh, we were sceptical. But it’s true. We got a chance to interview them and find out all about their amazing feat.
Q. Can you tell me a bit about yourselves?
A. Hi, I am Pushpinder (Pip) Batra and this is my lovely wife, Karishma. We stay in Kharar, Punjab. I own a direct selling agency (DSA) for a leading telecom company and my wife works with another telecom company.
Q. When and why did you buy Mahindra Gusto?
A. We purchased the Gusto in April 2015 because our family already owned a Mahindra Scorpio and hence it was the trust factor that led us to buy another product from the same company.
Q. What made you think of taking a long trip on the Gusto and where did you go with it?
A. One of my friends Gursevak, who stays closeby in Kharar, suggested that we undertake the journey to Leh and Ladakh. We found the idea very interesting and decided to undertake the journey for the sheer thrill of excitement and adventure. We went on a trip that started at Kharar and traversing through-Manali-Leh-Kargil-Srinagar-Chandigarh which took about 10 days and covered around 3000 kms.
Q. How was your experience riding the Gusto on long distances and varied terrain?
A. We had a very good experience with our Mahindra Gusto. Most other people travelling on more powerful bikes would not be as much impressed as we are with our Mahindra Gusto. The bike has telescopic suspensions, the large 12” tubeless tyres, the amazing ground clearance – all of this helped us in having an exhilarating ride.
Q. Did you face any problems along the way?
A. The entire journey was challenging but there were few moments that stood out. The night stay at Sarchu was really very difficult. The area just before Pangong Lake known as Chang La was really tough because there were no proper roads out there and it was very difficult to drive properly. If any steep slopes came during the journey then speed of the Gusto reduced slightly but we never had to actually halt anywhere.
Q. Did you modify the Gusto in any way for your trip?
A. There was no modification made to the Gusto. But it is important to fully service the vehicle before the journey and carry as many essential servicing parts as possible during the trip. The servicing team of Mahindra Two Wheeler’s helped us greatly before the ride and also were constantly in touch with us during the entire journey. Their help was a great motivation for us as we decided to go on this trip.
Q. What were the reactions of passerby’s while riding the Gusto in the mountains?
A. A funny incident happened at Manali as the official issuing the restricted area access permit to Ladakh was surprised that I was taking a ‘scooty’ to Leh. He issued me the permit with the warning that the scooter would not even cross Rohtang pass. During the entire journey, we had other travellers gaping at us while we rode past them on the Mahindra Gusto.
In fact one truck driver from Punjab stopped us after noticing our scooter’s Chandigarh registration number. He asked us what we were doing at such perilous heights on our scooter. When we told the truck driver that we were doing a trip from Punjab to Leh on our Mahindra Gusto, he was astonished.
Q. What advice would you give other riders who wish to take a scooter to these tough terrains?
A. It makes a huge difference if you have a reliable vehicle that gives you the confidence to undertake such a difficult journey. The Gusto is such a vehicle. If it wasn’t for the remarkable features of this scooter, I would have perhaps chosen another vehicle for this journey. Any hurdles can be overcome if you have the determination and will power to succeed. I would also advise riders undertaking such journeys not to drive fast as more fuel gets utilised at steep altitudes.