More from Motoring

In her book, Writing Past Dark, Bonnie Friedman talks about how distractions keep writers from getting ‘submerged’ in their writing, and it was so relatable. As I read that, I looked out of the airplane window, remembering my distractions… ironic, right? But her words lingered in my head for hours, and suddenly it was all clear — in my mind, and in front of my eyes. Astride the new Hero Mavrick 440, I was in the Rann of Kutch — amidst the vast land of nothingness.

I got off the bike, took a few steps back to admire it and the serene salt marsh, and it was so picturesque. Under the blue sky, on the white land, stood the matte black Mavrick 440. With nothing in my sight for kilometres, I felt puny, but somehow the Mavrick didn’t. It looked substantial. Was it because of the muscular fuel tank? Or the silver-painted tank extensions? Or maybe the fat tyres? Perhaps it was the combination of all three that made it look hefty. Lost in my admiration, I failed to see that the bike was slowly sinking.

There was no reason to worry, though. The 440cc single-cylinder unit on the Mavrick makes 0.2 kgm less than the Harley-Davidson X440’s despite sharing the same engine, Hero claims it has tuned its bike to put down 90 per cent of its torque right from 2000 rpm. That meant I could get out of sticky situations with ease, and I did. Now, I had to find my next location that wouldn’t try to gobble up the Mavrick.

Out of the marsh, I was straight onto loose sand and rough roads. But none of it bothered me much. The Mavrick’s suspension was taking the brunt of the rocks hidden under the sand that I inadvertently rode through. And the tall, wide handlebar gave me leverage to keep the front pointing where I wanted to go… and that was a near-pristine stretch of tarmac. It wasn’t long before I was doing triple digit speeds and the engine didn’t seem to mind. There were no vibrations that kept me from enjoying the bike… that is until a cow decided to cross the road. I went hard on the brakes, and for a split second, I was THE Mavrick from Top Gun. One evasive manoeuvre, giving the finger to the Reaper and back to being cool… all without breaking a sweat.

The 17-inch front wheel on the Mavrick does the trick. And those MRF Steel Brace tyres? Well, they may seem a bit overqualified for the job, but I am not complaining. Be it direction changes or going hard  on the brakes, the Mavrick does all that in a way that’s not usually expected from a bike of this segment.

In fact, if you close your eyes (not recommended, though), and experience the Mavrick, it doesn’t feel like an all-out retro motorcycle. The handlebar is wide and tall, the tank has recess to lock your knees, footpegs that are slightly rear set, and a kerb weight of 187 kg. In fact, consider the handling and it feels like any naked motorcycle. 

Is that a good thing? Maybe… maybe not. This is currently Hero’s flagship motorcycle, so it has the inherent responsibility of being special… which it isn’t. Does it have to be one? I don’t think so. With everyone trying to get their Classically right, Hero has tried to make its bike fundamentally right. It is easy on the pocket, offers an impressive ride experience and has a design that is palatable to most.

But wait, this is somewhat the ‘Classic’ experience most want, right? Ride all day long, unbothered by the chaos around, and reach the destination with some energy left for more. And that’s what Mavrick’s experience was. I rode through some really good roads, some not-so-good ones and through no roads before reaching the white desert. But the notchy gearbox and the wooden rear brake didn’t bother me. And yes, the weld on the tank could have been hidden, the rpm readout could have been a bit clearer and the paint finish on the chassis could have been better, but guess I was too ‘distracted’ by the ride experience to be bothered by any of it. Does that mean distraction sometimes… just sometimes may not keep you away from your work, but rather take you deeper into it.