UM Renegade Classic Review
Another one of the Renegade line of motorcycles from UM, the Classic is the most retro-looking and certainly most chrome-shod variant of the lot.
What is it?
Why I would buy the UM Renegade Classic
It is a true alternative to the Royal Enfield range and offers more value for money
Why I would avoid the UM Renegade Classic
It is an unknown in terms of brand value, and the Classic still has some rough edges
The UM Renegade is a cruiser platform from which many different cosmetic variants can and have been spun off. The Classic is the retro-styled cruiser, replete with chrome wherever you can apply it, black faux leather accessories, a two-tone paintjob option of which cream is an option (but obviously), and pinstripes. As with its sibling the Mojave, there is a colour-coordinated saddlebag and a tank pouch with a USB charging socket.
How does it ride?
Since it mechanically the same as any other Renegade, it has a liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that displaces 280cc, and generates nearly 25bhp. It sends this power to the rear wheel via a six-speed gearbox and chain drive. Fuel injection and an always-on headlamp are present. There is a typical four-valve/short-stroke hesitancy at low revs, then a lovely surge of torque in the midrange, and the engine feels strained as it nears its redline. The gearing is surprisingly tall, so slipping the clutch a lot in start-stop traffic becomes a must to avoid stalling. The fuel injection could use a little more fine-tuning, as it not smooth at low engine speeds. Open the throttle, and when the midrange comes along, the Classic pulls you along briskly with a very un-cruiser-like rev-happy exhaust note. However, there is nothing to be gained from revving it out to the redline; short shifting works better, in traditional cruiser fashion. The gearbox shifts smoothly and positively, and there are no missed shifts. The brakes comprise of a disc in the front and a drum at the rear, and the latter is surprisingly the better of the two. There is good feel and progression to it. The disc, on the other hand, has good initial bite but needs better progression to inspire confidence in the rider. The Renegade range has a very comfortable riding position, with the feet set forward but not too far forward, and the handlebar is close enough to be comfortable for short riders as well. It handles curves in a way that belies its looks – it is eager to turn, and hold the line. The tyres don’t offer as much feel as we’d like, but given their intended use, which is rough roads and dirt roads as well, they perform well. The suspension soaks up bumps really well, and rarely does it transmit shock to the rider’s posterior. Sharp ridges do catch it out, but it is a fair tradeoff to make for the stability it offers at triple-digit speeds.
The Renegade range's sweet spot is cruising in the 60-80kph range, but it will sit at 100kph as well without breaking a sweat.
Anything else I should know?
The windshield on the Classic offers a fair bit of wind protection, but it also is quite noisy at speed. That said, it offers really good wind protection even to a six-foot tall rider, which is commendable. It can be removed in a few minutes, as per UM. The tank-mounted instrument cluster is very retro, but you're going to have to take your eyes off the road to look at what speed you're doing. Putting any of the Renegades on the main stand is a surprisingly difficult job, with every kilo of its 178kg weight making itself felt during the process.
The pre-production Renegades had a long list of things that needed improvement, and UM has done a commendable job to improve them. There still are vibrations from the engine at certain revs, especially approaching the redline, and the fueling needs some more work. However, the American brand is now a real option for those who want something out of the ordinary.
Should I buy one?
The UM Renegade Classic offers traditional cruiser styling, but there are a few rough edges that need to be sorted out. The pinstriping is a sticker which looks a little tacky up close. The weld near the end of the exhaust is covered over quite clumsily. It’s the little things that distinguish the good from the great, and if the Classic is going to go up against stalwarts like the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 and Classic Chrome, it will need to be great. The latter two are established names whose engines are twice as big, and have many times the street cred – so UM needs to take care of the little things to tip to those on the fence to their side. For those who crave something different or a slice of Americana in the form of an affordable cruiser, the Classic is what they should be looking at.
Where does it fit in?
At Rs 1.89 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, the UM Classic competes with other cruisers like the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 (Rs 1.88 lakh), and the Royal Enfield Classic Chrome (Rs 1.86 lakh).
Photos: Kapil Angane
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