Why to buy it?
- Nimble handling
- Peppy engine performance
- Great visual appeal
Why to avoid it?
- Vibey engine character
- Small under-seat storage space
The Hero Xoom 110 is an interesting proposition. It aims to deliver a sporty scooter riding experience, similar to some 125cc examples from brands like TVS and Suzuki, but in a smaller, more frugal, and more accessible package. Ironically, the Maestro Edge 110, which is still on sale, is the result of a similar recipe. However, it never managed to set the sales chart on fire. Hence, Hero went more aggressive with its approach and came up with what you see in these pictures. While the idea seems promising on the face of it, is it desirable in the real world? We put the Hero Xoom 110 through paces to come up with an answer.
Styling and Quality
I hope Hero’s design team was awarded at their annual event for creating such a good-looking scooter. They took the theme ‘sporty’ quite seriously and bestowed the Xoom with the right amount of cuts, creases, and contours. The H-shaped DRL and headlamp are housed in an edgy front apron which, along with the dramatic handlebar cowl, looks imposing. The rear section, meanwhile, blends in neatly with sharp edges, a faux air scoop, an X-shaped tail lamp, and flush-fitted pillion grab rails. While one may easily find design inspirations from different scooters, it’s undeniably a looker.
Quality levels are just about average though. The plastic quality of the switches feels flimsy, the buttons lack tactility, and the black paint in some areas seems susceptible to fading soon. Also, our test scooter started emanating mild rattling noise from the front section, despite it being a brand new unit and boasting good fitment for the most part. Nevertheless, the paint and plastic quality of most of the bodywork feel solid and no uneven panel gaps could be found.
Ergonomics and Comfort
Now, straddling and getting into the riding position is easy and natural on the Xoom. It offers an upright riding stance, soft seat cushioning, and decent leg space on the footboard. However, for my stature of 5’11’’, the ergonomics feel slightly cramped with the handlebar being too close and brushing against my knees while taking a U-turn. That said, this doesn’t come across as a big issue and the scooter feels comfortable overall.
In terms of ride quality, Xoom’s suspension setup is clearly tuned to deliver sharp handling and responsiveness. The front and rear both feel slightly firm and return a mild jerk over sharply-edged surface changes, regardless of the speed. But the ride never gets obnoxious and slowing down while going over elements like rumblers, road joints, and patchwork mitigates the shock to bearable levels.
Performance and Handling
The Xoom is powered by the same 110.9cc engine that does duty on the Maestro Edge 110. The performance numbers are nearly identical at 8.05bhp and 8.7Nm. However, the compression ratio for the Xoom is 10:1, as against the Maestro Edge’s 9.5:1. On the go, the Xoom comes across as a fairly peppy scooter with a good punch off the line. The build-up of speed is decently quick until 60kmph, after which the performance tapers a bit. It can exceed the 90kmph mark, but it takes its own sweet time to reach there. Nevertheless, the engine performance, especially under 70kmph, does match the sporty aesthetics of the scooter.
What I am left wishing for is more refinement from the engine. Not only does it sounds mechanical at higher speeds but vibrations also start creeping in on the footboard from as low as 10kmph. Strangely, the buzz subsides a bit towards 80kmph and beyond, which doesn’t help its case since scooters are mostly ridden below those speeds. Unfortunately, the vibrations rob you of a pleasant experience to some extent.
On the handling front, the Xoom is profoundly impressive. The front end feels responsive and the direction changes are quick. It might feel unnervingly tippy and nimble to new riders but it shouldn’t take long for one to get used to its agility and start enjoying it. This is accompanied by the light kerb weight of the scooter which only adds to its playfulness. Complementing its handling are the brakes that return a fair amount of bite and lever feedback, especially the front. Both brakes are high on progression which helps in preventing the wheels from locking up.
Features and Technology
The Xoom delivers a bittersweet experience on the feature front. Starting with the good bits, it sports a fully-digital instrument cluster which, apart from the crucial data, shows real-time mileage. It also gets Bluetooth connectivity (only in top-end ZX trim) to facilitate it with turn-by-turn navigation and smartphone communication alerts. Then there is an LED headlamp, LED tail lamp, under-seat light, a USB charger, and cornering lights. The latter are small lights mounted on the sides of the front apron. While taking turns, these lights sense the lean and steering angle and light up the road in the direction of the turn. Although it’s a good feature to brag about, I didn’t find it useful as the light throw is limited to a distance of about five feet.
The Xoom, however, misses out on an external fuel filler cap which has become a norm these days. Also, the under-seat storage space is pretty small; it couldn’t take in a half-face helmet or a backpack consisting of a standard-sized laptop. Moreover, although the two open glove boxes are large enough to accommodate a one-litre water bottle, their presence eats up the space on the front footboard, making it difficult to place your grocery bags. Now, given the fact that better utility gives scooters an edge over motorcycles, these niggles are a bit of a downer.
This is an area where Xoom turned out to be commendable. In BikeWale’s mileage test, which takes place on a route with low to moderate traffic, the scooter returned a fuel efficiency of 50.2kmpl. With a 5.2-litre fuel tank, you’re looking at a range of about 261km!
Pegged between Rs. 68,599 - 76,699 (ex-showroom), the Hero Xoom is priced similar to its direct rival, the Honda Dio. However, the former brings along a breath of fresh air with eye-catchy styling while the Dio has visually remained the same for a long time now. Even on the go, the Xoom feels like a lively product with decent engine performance, nimble handling, light weight, and compact dimensions. The stopping power is acceptable too. Although the ride quality is a tad firm, it’s not outright uncomfortable and one can easily live with that. In terms of positives, I would also include the vast service network that a Hero customer enjoys during his/her ownership.
However, as good as the Xoom is on many fronts, the lack of engine refinement takes away the fun factor to some extent. The vibrations are mild yet pronounced enough to make their presence known all the time. Also, the lack of storage space and footboard space, and the absence of an external fuel filler cap bring the practicality quotient down a few notches. And these are the areas where the Dio has an upper hand with better storage space, higher refinement, and the availability of an external fuel filler. In that case, who is the Hero Xoom meant for? It’s mainly suitable for those who have great visual appeal and a fun riding experience on top of their priority list but can live with the aforementioned niggles.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi