It is tough to describe a Hero xPulse 200, so let me take a cricketing example.
If you are a cricket fan, heck, even if you aren’t a cricket fan you must have heard of the ginormous task the boys achieved, down under in Australia, in the recently concluded Test series.
Tell me, how important was Cheteshwar Pujara in the series win?
He looked ugly as a player, copped a lot of balls on the body. But he overcame everything that was thrown at him. He did it in his own, resilient way.
The Hero xPulse 200, is exactly like a Cheteshwar Pujara!
Not the prettiest bike, neither the fastest. But what it can do is, it can endure whatever you throw at it, resiliently. Come highway or hell water, you will have plenty on your hands to come out on the other side, victorious.
And, it won’t give you the tantrums like a star player like Virat Kohli would normally give, it won’t bring a lot of attention from fans either. It does its job silently, and rarely gets a pair of noticing eyes and inquiring question.
Let’s start with the engine!
The engine on the Hero Xpulse 200 is refined, smooth and has enough power for you to zoom in and out of traffic on 4th and 5th gear alone. I never really felt the need to downshift lower than 4th gear, except when the bike was really slow. You know the old saying “Drop a gear and disappear!”, you don’t have to drop a gear now. Overtaking on 5th gear works like a charm.
One moment you are cruising at 45 on 5th gear, you rev a little and you are already past 90! That’s what I liked about the engine.
Moreover, you don’t feel any vibration, not even an iota of vibration while cruising at 90 odd. I did not take it above 100 so I won’t comment on how it behaved when pushed to its limits.
Just after 8 Km ride in Bhubaneswar traffic, as I reached the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, I felt the need for a tea break. I noticed the engine was piping hot! And the ride was just starting! I could have made some eggs to go with my tea.
Jokes aside, the Hero xPulse 200 does well, not to let the heat felt on the rider’s legs. So I am not complaining.
Its an oiled cooled, 200cc single cylinder engine, with a peak power of 17.8 bhp at 8,500 rpm and with a peak torque of 16.45 NM at 6,500 rpm.
Handling the weight!
At 157 Kgs, one may think it must be tiring to bend it around corners. But it is surprisingly nimble and agile.
I was shocked by the way it behaved around corners, almost as if it has a voice of its own telling me, “Come on, lean more, I got this!”. Every time I approached a corner I was surprised by the response I got from the bike and each time I left the corner thinking I could have done a little bit more speed, a little bit less angle.
All that weight is off once you lift it from side stand. Experienced bikers know, weight it just an illusion. It depends on how it handles.
The wide handlebars gave me a bit of trouble, especially in narrow gaps. They are really wide, and so are the mirrors. It took some getting used to while taking quick glances of what’s behind me on the road, due to the wide rear view mirrors. I think that is where you can make it a bit better with a little customization.
How was the ride? Comfortable, not?
Riding posture is great!
Upright handlebars and footpegs in the right places so that your knees don’t hurt. It may be perfect for someone who is 5’7″-5’9″ tall. But for me, the footpegs should have been a little more wide or forward. I had a bit of pain in my knees, till I adjusted myself to how I wanted to sit. BTW, I am 5’11”. (The bike looks a little bit small for me)
The Hero xPulse is made for long distance touring. You can comfortably travel over 500 Kms a day without a single thing to worry about. But for that you need to change the seat.
The stock seat is a big pain in the a**, literally! And there is nothing more painful than that. I had to take a break every 50 Kms or so. Or you can stand upright and saddle for a few minutes in between.
More than that, because the bike is so tall, it gives you a superior feeling. It gives you a lot of confidence.
Riding in the dark?
The headlamps and taillamps are both LED, which you won’t get on a Himalayan. White light looks good and is pleasing to the eye. But, the headlamps are not powerful enough to negate the oncoming lights of trucks and cars.
Auxiliary lights are the solution.
I had no problems viewing the instrument console at night. It also displays a lot of information, which is good!
Talking about the instrument console, it is very well lit with loads of information on it like, trip meter, RPM meter, time, average speed, with the usual speedometer and fuel gauge. There are lights to indicate side stand, ABS, and indicators.
It even supports turn by turn navigation system which, unfortunately I could not have a chance to use. From what I have read in other blogs, it isn’t very refined. Nevertheless you are getting it at such a low price.
Million dollar question, can you veer off-road using the Hero xPulse 200?
Lots of people say yes you can. But for me, it isn’t good at off-roading.
The suspension is not that great to glide over potholes and minor bumps. It felt a little stiff for my liking. Of course you can do a little bit of off-roading like, travelling on a muddy, gravel filled road easily. But no more than that.
The spoke wheel adds a little bit of toughness. You won’t get a spoked wheel on the Himalayan.
What is a off-roading bike without a spoke wheel?
The big metal bash plate under the engine looks good and tough. Mud guards add a bit of appeal. Wide and upright handlebars make it easy for saddling on bad roads.
If you are a beginner and are keen on buying a dual purpose motorcycle, you can buy it hands down! But if you are into serious off-roading on an adventure motorcycle, save some more money for a premium dual purpose motorcycle like the KTM Adventure 250 or some more money for a Triumph Tiger!
You can check out my previous blog on top 7 adventure tourer bikes in India.
The very Indian Question, “kitna deti hai? ” What is its mileage?
45 Kmpl on highway!
Very economical. For all the features, comfort and rideability, the mileage seemed the best feature according to me.
I mean, where would you get such a big, dual purpose motorcycle which can also be used for commuting other than the weekend fun ride to city outskirts. The little bit off-roading that it offers is the cherry on the cake.
Why you should not buy a Hero Xpulse 200?
I don’t see a lot of reasons, but one of them may be because it is not as good looking as the Royal Enfield Himalayan.
It isn’t bad looking either. Just add a bigger windshield, put on a top box and panniers and you will be marvelling at its looks. The tank should have been bigger to give it a better look, but you can not get everything as you want. Can you?
The other little pain (in the a**) points on the bike can be customized with just a few thousand rupees.
Why should you buy a Hero Xpulse 200?
If you are a beginner rider, dreaming of touring all over India one fine day, if you are someone who likes comfort more than glitz and glamour, if you are someone who sees things practically, if you aren’t someone bogged down by big names, then this one is for you.
Experienced riders with bigger, better machines can have occasional fun ride with this, but then they will revert back to more power.
Beginner and aspiring touring enthusiasts without a lot of money to spend, should definitely go for the Hero Xpulse 200. At just 1.15 lakhs, it is worth the money you pay, every single penny!
I will be doing a behind the scenes blog in the next one. Stay tuned by joining my mailing list from the form below. If you liked this blog, let me know in the comments or share it by tagging me.
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|Engine CC||199.6 CC|
|No. of Cylinder||1|
|Max Power||17.8 bhp @8000 rpm|
|Max Torque||16.45 Nm @6500 rpm|
|Kerb Weight||157 Kg|
|Ground Clearance||220 mm|
|Clutch||Multi-plate Wet Clutch|
|Fuel Delivery||Fuel Injection|