Priced at INR 1.49 Lakhs (ex-Delhi). An inexpensive cruiser motorcycle for sure, but unsophisticated built and finish and an elusive brand image is worth the buy?
The UM isn’t any illustrious in India, and the brand is generally gaining a downbeat image of ‘low-quality hacks’ in an otherwise leading-edge, high-tech bike market. That may not be true, we do have worst products from celebrated brands, and so the brand in itself may not always speak for the product as such. Further, every brand’s approach and target audience are different. The UM Global, a US-based bike maker, has tied up with the Lohia Motors in India, and assembles Renegade range of cruisers at its Uttrakhand plant with 70 percent localised components, with the rest including engine sourced from China.
Visually dominant, the Renegade S is like any other cruiser with a wheelbase of 1,545 mm. It’s paint job is the first to grab our attention, the orange-black tone prominent on the headlamp fairing and fuel tank up front. There is also a red-green theme, but not as illuminated as this one. Next is the side-mount LED strip on both the sides for better visibility and road presence. The side body panel is looks intense, while the two-piece seat with a sissy bar gives a classy look. The rest of the design is kept very minimal, also dull and dated. But the built quality, fit and finish are far below any acceptable standards for an international cruiser motorbike. Clearly, the Renegade S is not the same class as other high-end cruisers we are acquainted with.
The UM Renegade is powered by a 279.5cc single cylinder, liquid cooled carburettor-fed engine with 4 valves. Yes, you read it right – Carburettor! Is this an another cost-saving measure or utter sluggishness, I don’t know! Yet, the engine paired to a 6-speed gearbox develops a healthy 25 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 21.80 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. It is peppy to accelerate at low-end, and the power-delivery is also reasonably smooth. Lacking quite a refinement, the noise-vibration-harshness levels could have been better. It is happy and great to ride at speeds around 80 kmph. Weighing 172 kgs, the 18 litres fuel tank should extend a range around 500 miles.
Featuring a hydraulic, telescopic front and twin-hydraulic suspension with spring at the rear, the UM Renegade is far from comfortable for a cruiser, although the handling a surprisingly better. The tyres offer greater grip and stability, even on wet surface at speeds above 100 kmph. The front disc and rear drum brakes are sharp and crisp, although it lacks a responsive feel. Other features includes a single dial instrument cluster with tiny LCD screen for gear status and other basic infos, and a USB port.
# VerdictThe price tag is the most attractive in the Renegade Sport package. The price, in a way, matches the average quality and lack of feel-good factor in this motorcycle. Being a cheap, inexpensive cruiser, the UM may not feel anything like a cruiser you dreamed of, but definitely the one that goes easy with your wallet. You may think that the better-built Mahindra Mojo with almost-similar spec is not very expensive to UM. Or a RE Thunderbird 350 may seem valuable for the same price. But remember, none of them are full-fledged cruisers as the UM, at least to compromising standards.
However, the elephant in the room we are missing is the question of reliability. With lack of nation-wide dealer network and customer engagement, the reliability of less known brand with Chinese assembly is bound to be questioned. We have to wait some more time assert the customer response to these new wave of cruisers.UM also has an another iteration of the same cruiser – Renegade Commando 300 with an extra premium of INR 10,000. The bike is basically a military-inspired model with visual changes, but isn’t any better in terms of build quality or finish.
Image Credit: Autocar India