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Hero Xtreme: Long Term Report 1

10 June 2015, 09:36 PM Sagar Bhanushali

Update 1

When the original Hero Honda CBZ reached the end of its production run, I’m pretty certain we all were apprehensive, having had the pleasure of owning one for several years, I know I was. The 150cc model was a revelation and unlike any other Indian motorcycle back in the day and as a result, it ended up winning over a chunk of new buyers everyday throughout its six-year production run that ended in late 2005.

A decade later, a lot has changed: the successor is no longer called ‘CBZ’ and even the brand that makes it has had an identity crisis.

   

Enter Hero MotoCorp Xtreme – a motorcycle bearing little resemblance to the original CBZ. Though no one here at BikeWale seems to be smitten with the bright red paint scheme or the overdone front fascia, the 150cc Xtreme promises to be a good little commuter. How good, you may ask? Only time will tell as we put it through our long-term regime. Here’s our first take.

   

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Hero Xtreme 2014

Hero Xtreme 2014

  • Displacement149 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)14.2 bhp
  • Kerb Weight145 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 71,942

The overall standard of 150cc naked motorcycles may have moved on (blame it on Suzuki Gixxer and Yamaha FZ), but the easy-going Xtreme remains true to its commuter tag. Being a less performance-focused motorcycle than the Suzuki and the Yamaha means that with the Xtreme I could get on with the daily hurdles of commuting in relative comfort, thanks to its broad and comfortable seat and a less extreme riding position. That being said, you are bound to give the engine and the gearbox some good old thrashing to get past other motorists – something which isn’t required as much when riding our other long termer, the Gixxer.    

While the 14.4bhp, 149cc, single-cylinder engine may not possess the outright grunt of similarly powerful rivals, it makes up for it with its impressive flexibility. The Xtreme will crawl along at walking pace with the clutch fully engaged, and accelerate cleanly with a slight twist of the throttle. It’s good for an indicated 115kmph which should satisfy most who are stepping up from a 125cc machine. However, the Xtreme behaves its best when it’s hovering around the 80kmph mark, above which the front-end feels alarmingly light and by 100kmph, it’s easy to deviate even in a straight line.

           

My daily commute mainly involves moving along at a slow space and squeezing though tight spots and the Xtreme does the job rather well. The comfortable riding stance and the wide handlebar allow the Xtreme to be more forgiving to ride in traffic than one would expect, but that’s hardly surprising on a lightweight commuter motorcycle; although what’s really surprising is the mediocre quality of the gearshifts from the 5-speed unit. Not that the shift action is downright bad, it’s the amount of false neutrals I’ve faced up till now that could be something of a worry in the long run.

As for the all-important fuel efficiency, I was averaging between 44 to 48kmpl throughout my time with the motorcycle. Pair that with a fairly big tank capacity of 12 litres and you are looking at a realistic riding range of nearly 400 kilometres between fuel ups. All in all, the Xtreme, undoubtedly, is more affordable to run and easier to maintain than any of its Japanese counterparts. However, its built-to-a-budget and, to an extent, it shows. I’ve come across owners complain about the dodgy electricals and have even had a few bits coming off early into the ownership of this particular motorcycle. Nevertheless, it has proved to be a respite for the daily slog and certainly has several long trips lined up in its future. Until then, here’s what the rest of us have to say on the Xtreme.

    

“The Hero Xtreme is not as refined as the competition.  The front starts to feel unusually light once you pick up speeds above 75km. The braking is spot on as both front and rear works really well. I really liked the instrument cluster but did not appreciate the lack of an on/off switch.” says Venkat Desirazu.

“The cushy and large seat makes the Hero Xtreme one of the most comfortable motorcycles for your everyday commute. The 150cc engine has a good mid-range punch, which comes handy for quick overtakes. However, the bike is meant to be ridden at a leisurely pace, and feels hesitant to cruise at triple digit speeds. The instrument cluster is quite modernistic and displays all the information distinctly. Though the Hero Xtreme is not the best looking motorcycle of the lot, it certainly does its job competently in a no-nonsense manner, which makes it a serious contender in the competitive 150cc commuter segment.” says Ranjan Bhat.

“It is difficult to comment if the Xtreme will be able to replicate the fan following the original CBZ had, but this motorcycle is surely carrying forward the legacy. For an ex-showroom price of Rs 70,322 the Hero Xtreme offers a reasonably good package.” says Ninad Ambre. 

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