Motoroyale by Kinetic continues to bring in very interesting niche motorcycles to India. Their latest offering is a little-known Italian brand by the name of FB Mondial.
When you think of Italy a lot comes to mind. Tranquil beaches, majestic mountains, beautiful women, delicious food, intricate clothing and of course fast cars and motorcycles. When it comes to motorcycles though the main brands that stick out the most are Ducati, MV Agusta and Aprilia. These motorbike manufacturers create some of the most beautiful machines on the planet. However, Italy is also home to many other small bike makers and one such brand is FB Mondial.
FB Mondial might be unheard of in most parts of the world but, they have a very interesting history. They were one of the pioneers in the Italian motorcycle scene. The company was founded in 1929 and they dominated Motorcycle World Championships between 1949 and 1957. Mondial created some of the most advanced and successful GP road racers at that time. Just like many other Italian bike makers though, Mondial faced financial difficulty and had to shut shop in 1979. But again, just like some brands, Mondial was resurrected.
In India, Pune based Motoroyale has decided to add Mondial to their portfolio of niche motorcycles that already includes Hyosung, Norton, MV Agusta and SWM. The bike they have chosen to bring into the Indian market is the Mondial HPS 300. We finally got to take it for a ride and see what this little Italian motorcycle was all about.
The HPS is strikingly beautiful. In fact, the bike looks more like a custom-built bike instead of a mass produced one. It has the design DNA of a scrambler as well as a café racer, and the two styles blend very well together. It gets a retro round headlight, thick 41mm USD forks, duel hydraulic springs at the rear, a narrow but sharp fuel tank, and handlebar-end mounted rear view mirrors to give it that café racer character. Then, it also gets side mounted machine gun dual-exhaust as well as big knobby tyres to add that scrambler flair. It also gets a single round instrument cluster, which is identical to the one found on the Scrambler Ducati. The overall look of the HPS 300 ends up being very attractive.
The downside though, is that this motorcycle is very small. It’s almost tiny and it looks and feels like a toy. The overall build quality once again looks more like a custom job instead of a factory-built machine. The use of materials, or the lack thereof, is not the best and the fit and finish was nowhere near being perfect. Then again, I do imagine some might like this custom feel of the bike.
Where’s the power?
The dimensionally small HPS 300 also gets a small engine. The single-cylinder 249cc engine packs about 22bhp and 22Nm of torque. That sounds pretty sweet, especially since the bike weighs only 130kilograms, but to my amazement I was really disappointed with the engine. Personally, I rarely complain about lack of power from any motorcycle engine, but with the Mondial it’s different. You see all that power is only accessible at the top-end and you don’t get any bite from the engine anywhere at the bottom or the middle revs. Acceleration is rather slow and lazy, and the throttle also is not responsive. Power really kicks in by around 4,000rpm. The 6-speed transmission is pretty nice though, and the gear shifts are pretty slick, however, the gear ratios are way to tall and you will find yourself downshifting a lot, especially in city traffic. The clutch is also light and if you are an easy rider then you might be a little more satisfied with this engine than I was. Today, in India alone, there are many other motorbikes you can choose from in this segment that have much better engine performance.
The overall engine refinement isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. There are a few vibrations felt at the high rev range. It is pretty efficient though, and I managed to average about 27km/l. The dual exhaust does have a nice note to it and it sounds like a rough scrambler.
Can it dance?
The HPS 300 is very light and the seat is pretty low to. The seating position is also on the aggressive side as you are crouched on the bike. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will handle well. That, however, is the case though, and the HPS 300 handles really well. Thanks to the 41mm USD forks and the gas charged rear springs it feels pliant and planted on the road at all time. It is very easy to shift your weight and change direction. The double-downtube frame has great potential and can easily handle more than what the engine has to offer. I guess it’s true then, that Italian bikes all handle really well. The brakes are also quite nice and ABS comes as standard.
Who is it for?
The HPS 300 is not for a serious rider, nor is it for someone looking to invest in a good motorcycle. It carries a pretty high price tag and it doesn’t offer you much in terms of performance. What it does have is those great Italian looks and its unique crossover design. It definitely stands out and you will probably be the only one riding around with a FB Mondial badge on your motorcycle. I can only see a serious collector buying this motorcycle or someone who really loves to be in the spotlight. Either way, this is a niche bike and it will be bought by a niche buyer.