We have had the four-valve variant of the Hero Xpulse 200 4V in our long-term fleet for almost a year, clocking over 5,000km. During this period, the off-road-focused tourer from the Indian manufacturer faced a variety of riding conditions. From long highway hauls to short city commutes, the Hero Xpulse 200 4V shone almost everywhere. But it’s time to bid adieu to this little adventure-tourer, and here we sum up our experience with the motorcycle since we inducted it in our garage.
Things we liked
One of the standout features of the Hero Xpulse 200 4V is its styling, especially the updated graphics that the motorcycle received with the four-valve upgrade. The decals on the fuel tank, along with this particular Matte Nexus Blue paint theme, look aesthetically pleasing, while the tall front fender, knuckle guards, wire-spoke wheels, the high position for the exhaust canister, and the metal bash plate enhance the rugged look of the motorcycle. Then, there are the bits that make the ownership experience more convenient.
The compact luggage rack at the rear gives additional real estate to mount luggage while saving space for the rider. However, with the luggage at the back, the space for the pillion rider is almost non-existent, and an aftermarket rear rack is a must for people who are accompanied by passengers. Notably, the metal fuel tank allows easy installation of magnetic tank bags on the Xpulse 200 4V. The build quality is satisfactory as well, and apart from the loosened screw on the front numberplate, we did not face any issues with the motorcycle.
The styling is complemented by a likeable engine performance, especially out on the highway. The Xpulse 200 4V gets a four-valve setup instead of the two-valves which was on the now discontinued Xpulse 200 (2V). The numbers, however, are almost similar to the two-valve version. The 199.6cc, single-cylinder, oil-cooled, four-valve engine delivers 18.8bhp and 17.35Nm. These aren’t as healthy figures as some of the other 200cc motorcycles in the market, and we would have liked some more power from the engine. This would have helped the Xpulse 200 4V cruise at even better speeds, and feel more comfortable at 100kmph out on the highway. What happens with the current setup?
The speeds of 70-80kmph feel effortless, while cruising at 100kmph is also possible. However, the 100kmph on the speedometer comes 1,500rpm shy of the motor’s redline, and things get loud and buzzy around this point. A sixth gear would have helped things, but that isn’t on the cards for the 200cc Xpulse. We could see the gear on the higher displacement model in the pipeline, but that is a discussion for some other day.
Now, the motor feels comfortable at higher revs, and the Xpulse 200 4V feels far more relaxed out on the highway than its 2V counterpart. Notably, it likes to stay in the higher revs and you would have to ride in a gear lower than usual to ensure that the motor operates in the upper digits on the tachometer. In terms of efficiency, the motorcycle delivered a fuel economy of 29.4kmpl and 36.5kmpl in the city and on the highway, respectively.
The comfortable ergonomics and plush suspension setup also make the riding experience more pleasant. As reported in the highway report, the long hours in the saddle are bearable, and it takes at least two hours after which you will need to take a break. Meanwhile, the relatively lightweight and low turning radius makes filtering through traffic easy-breezy. Standing on the footpegs is easy too, albeit not as easy and comfortable as one would feel on the Royal Enfield Himalayan. This is mainly due to the forward set footpegs on the Xpulse 200 4V. However, JCMoto has a solution for this, and you can read more about the aftermarket accessory in our long-term review report.
Should you buy it?
The Xpulse 200 4V has always been a versatile product that can be used for everyday commutes, occasional touring, and off-road riding. At the same time, it looks stylish and rugged, grabbing a considerable amount of attention on Indian roads. Further, the bike has comfortable ergonomics and an engine that is likeable and feels ideal for touring purposes as long as you keep it around 80kmph. However, it does feel strained at the higher revs, which somewhat spoils the overall experience. The navigation system isn’t the most reliable too. But think about the positioning of this product from Hero MotoCorp, and you would notice that there isn’t any other motorcycle in that price range that rivals the Xpulse 200 4V, and delivers the same versatile experience as this budget-friendly adventure tourer, and this makes it a clear winner in my books.
Odometer when acquired: 1,675km
Overall kilometres ridden: 6,715km (at the time of publishing this report)
Fuel efficiency (City & Highway Combined): 32.95kmpl
Price: Rs. 1,37,496 ex-showroom, Delhi (at the time of publishing this report)
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
Things we didn't like
Apart from the standing ergonomics, the negatives on this motorcycle comprise a lack of feedback from the braking setup, which isn’t very impressive either, and the Xpulse 200 4V needs a serious upgrade in this department. The current setup does not inspire the confidence to allow late braking, and you have to plan your distance more efficiently.
Then, there is the headlight performance. The LED headlight on the Xpulse 200 4V works really well at slower speeds, say up to 60kmph. It has a decent spread too but the throw could have been better. This is fine in cities, where you ride at a relatively lower pace. But out on the highway, this motorcycle can work better with aftermarket auxiliary lights for better lighting. Lastly, the windblast protection isn’t very comprehensive, and while the flyscreen provides some solace, it isn’t very useful beyond 80kmph. Thus, out on the highway, the rider faces windblast issues that result in high wind noise.
The navigation system deserves a mention as well. As reported in our highway report, the onboard navigation system is pretty handy, but it cannot detect the roads that are solely dedicated for cars – the Eastern Freeway in Mumbai or the Pune Expressway, for example. The estimated time of arrival (ETA), too, takes a while to reset, and the clock will mostly keep moving forward despite you making progress in terms of kilometres. Lastly, the gear position indicator will remain blank unless the clutch lever is fully disengaged, making things inconvenient in traffic.