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Hero Xpulse 200 4V: 2021 BikeWale Off-Road Day Review

12 March 2022, 04:00 PM Anuj Mishra

Introduction

Hero Xpulse 200 4V action

It’s that time of the year when we, at BikeWale, bring out our inner adventure junky and speed up the adrenaline flow. We did that in 2019 when we took a total of six ADVs to the BigRock Dirt Park and put them through different tests. Then, as badly as we wanted to do it again in 2020, the pandemic restricted all the fun, forcing us to relive the 2019 edition only through pictures. However, things are slowly getting back to normal now, and we are back with the all-new edition of the BikeWale off-road day. This year, we rode down five adventure bikes to the Pro Dirt Adventure Park near Pune where a gymkhana course awaited us.

The Bike

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Right Side View

Before we brief you on what a gymkhana is (for the uninitiated), say hi to the smallest adventure bike in this year’s line-up, the Hero Xpulse 200 4V. We had the older two-valve version in our previous off-road day and it truly shone back then. Now, with additional valves, the engine character has changed to deliver a better mid-range and top-end performance. Moreover, with off-road-centric components like large spoke wheels and long-travel suspension, it was bound to feel at home in our tests. And, the improvement in performance was just a cherry on top. 

The Gymkhana

Hero Xpulse 200 4V gymkhana
Hero Xpulse 200 4V

Hero Xpulse 200 4V

  • Displacement199.6 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported40 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)18.8 bhp
  • Kerb Weight158 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 1,35,948

A gymkhana is a closed course with different types of obstacles that riders need to pass through in the shortest duration possible. A conventional gymkhana mainly involves cones placed in different layouts and at varying distances on a road-like surface. However, the off-road gymkhana created at the Pro Dirt Adventure Park is made up of a variety of hurdles like gigantic tyres, barrel humps, sharp stones, and logs. 

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Right Side View

Before riding through the course, we had ample time to do a close inspection. A quick walkaround and I was profoundly nervous, given my lack of off-road riding skills and experience. The first lane, in particular, looked scary for it involved riding over huge truck tyres. However, the Xpulse’s incredible suspension travel with large wheels turned out to be a saviour. Following Vikrant’s instructions, I gave full gas while ascending over the tyres through a wooden plank and it ran over with ease. Although I landed on the front almost every time and bottomed out the front, the Xpulse took it all in its stride without a hiccup.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V action

Switching to the second lane involved taking a sharp U-turn. Now, I haven’t mastered full-lock turns but leaning the Xpulse and turning it around slowly was easy, thanks to its tight turning radius. Plus, the light clutch and linear throttle response meant abrupt acceleration and stalling the bike were rare occurrences. 

Hero Xpulse 200 4V action

Once turned around, it was time to take on the stone-filled block. Mind you, these stones were large enough to shake up the entire bike along with the rider, causing a fall. But again, going full gas was the most effective resort. The field of vision too played an important role. As Pratheek told me, approaching the stones while looking at them will only cause panic and is risky. Hence, I went over them accelerating and looking straight to the other side of the block. 

Hero Xpulse 200 4V action

The Xpulse’s incredible damping meant the front soaked it all in, without losing composure. Even the high ground clearance prevented the underbelly from scraping. Moreover, I could easily go through the stones in second gear without slipping the clutch, courtesy of its decent low-end torque delivery. It was a similar story while passing over barrel humps. All I had to do was stay loose on the bars and grip the fuel tank with my knees, which, by the way, was easy, given the narrow mid-section of the bike. That said, I just wished it was equipped with handlebar risers. With my almost six-feet stature, I had to bend down quite a bit to reach the bars. 

Hero Xpulse 200 4V action

Next up was riding over a pair of narrow and almost seven-feet-long wooden beams. This was more of a test of the rider’s skills. And yours truly started getting it right after a few attempts. Again, it’s all about the vision — as soon as your front wheel climbs up the entry, start looking at the end of the beam and you shall pass, which I did a couple of times. 

Hero Xpulse 200 4V action

The last lane had logs to jump over which was the easiest and most fun. While going fast needed some grit and expertise, I opted to go slow and jump the bike high which lifted both my self-esteem and drama in pictures. The trick was to reach the log slowly and as soon as the front wheel is about to touch the log, go full gas! The bike takes off like an aeroplane and lands on the rear. 

The Garage

Hero Xpulse 200 4V action

Following the gymkhana was the garage. This is an interesting one as there aren’t any logs to jump or stones to cross but it’s still difficult to crack. It’s basically a slalom, but within a rectangle marked on the ground with consecutive lines inside. One needs to ride while following a tight serpentine trajectory from entry to exit without touching the border and the inside lines. While vision played a crucial role here too, Xpulse’s light clutch and progressive brakes helped big time in keeping the bike under control. And the bike’s light weight and narrow width made tipping it from side to side an easy affair. 

Verdict

Hero Xpulse 200 4V thumbnail

As I said before, I am relatively new to off-roading, especially compared to my colleagues at BikeWale. And for me, the Xpulse 200 was obviously the most unintimidating motorcycle to attack the gymkhana course on. The accessible size and weight of the motorcycle instilled a lot of confidence to push my limits after a bit of practice, and to experiment with different techniques of riding. 

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Left Side View

Plus, the engine has just the right amount of grunt to accelerate out of tricky scenarios and to pull off small jumps, while making sure things never go haywire, despite my abrupt inputs. Not to forget, the minimalistic design and body panels of the bike drastically bring down the fear of breaking things. 

Photography by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi

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