The XPulse 200 and the Royal Enfield Himalayan have a lot of things in common. Both bikes are meant to be ridden on the road as well as off the road. That is why you will see a large travel on the suspension, good ground clearance, and the on-off road tyres. Plus, you don’t need to spend a million rupees to find yourself an ADV. The XPulse 200 and the Himalayan are accessible with respect to pricing as well as the saddle height.
At BikeWale, both the bikes have been ridden extensively, through long term bikes and also through self-ownership. So, this time around, we decided to compare these bikes and know their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
Looks & Styling
Park the XPulse 200 and the Himalayan side-to-side and you will see how quickly they grab some eyeballs. Both the bikes exhibit great ruggedness and have the ready-to-go anywhere attitude. The overall design of the Himalayan is quite simple. It gets a no-nonsense design and not many of the body components can be seen. It does have a bit of a modern retro look – thanks to the presence of a round headlamp and simple turn indicators. But the large seat does make it look serious touring motorcycle.
The XPulse, on the other, hand has a bit of an off-roader look. The bulky fuel tank, large single-seat, and the long front mudguard – these aspects give out a sense of off-road readiness. Plus, it also gets a high-mounted exhaust and that makes it easy to cross some serious river streams.
Ergonomics & Quality
With adventure touring bikes, the ergonomics are quite important. That is what decides your long-term relationship with the bike. Because if you aren’t comfortable, you might end up having a short stint with the bike.
So, in case of the XPulse 200 and the Himalayan, the latter scores the most. Don’t get me wrong as both bikes sport a proper sit-up riding position – thanks to the presence of wide handlebars, a large seat, and neutrally seat pegs. But the seat triangle of the Himalayan is really good. The XPulse 200 lost some points due to its high footpegs position. This aspect spoils the overall experience as the angle of the legs doesn’t feel natural.
On the trails too, the stand-up ergonomic of the Himalayan is far better than the XPulse. It feels natural. You can move your body around the bike without much sweat. But with the XPulse, things are a bit tedious.
When it comes to the quality, the XPulse 200 takes the spot. Everything has been nicely done and laid out. The quality of the components used is good and they are durable too. With the Himalayan, we had some issues though. Small ones. But we did have them.
Features & Technology
The XPulse 200 is loaded with quite a bit of features. The most famous one is the Bluetooth-enabled instrument cluster. Once connected to the phone via an app, the display shows a decently working navigation system. Then there are a few other things like a clock, riding time, average speed, side-stand indicator, and an eco-meter. There’s also a full LED headlamp with LED DRLs. This one works pretty well and it makes the bike look aesthetically more pleasing as well. Now when it comes to being purposeful, the XPulse has an edge over the Himalayan as the bike gets knuckle guards as standard. There’s also the kickstart and a USB charging port which is placed under the seat.
The Himalayan being the older of the two doesn’t get a lot of modern equipment. The only one I could think of is the hazard lamps and dual-channel ABS system, which can be switched off for the rear wheel. Rest of it, like the semi-digital instrument cluster and the traditional headlamp setup, have been carried forward from the BS4 variant.
Engine & Performance
The Himalayan is leading here by a decent margin and it should. Because its 400cc engine is now fuel-injected and carries a lot of traits that are necessary on the road as well as off the road. For example, the strong mid-range puts the motorcycle at a decent speed quickly. The bike can now easily cruise at 110kmph with minimal vibes. The refinement level has gone up too and it feels stress-free at higher revs.
The XPulse 200, on the other hand, has a smaller engine. So, there’s a big difference when it comes to the overall power and torque figures. The XPulse has a motor that offers a good amount of refinement and decent performance, but it isn’t enough either on the road or on the trails. The mid-range torque band is quite small and once you cross that rev band, the engine doesn’t pull a lot of weight. So, you have to sit on the higher revs most of the time. And honestly, most of the time you are left wanting for more. A lot more!
The five-speed gearbox on both the bikes works decently. The shifts aren’t that great but it does the job. The XPulse 200 manages to have a lighter clutch, so in city riding conditions, the Hero is more manageable.
Ride & Handling
The XPulse 200 is lighter between the two and by a great margin. Hence, it is easier to live with this bike in many ways. It is easier to take the XPulse 200 out of parking. It is also easier to ride it around traffic as it is exceptionally flickable. And in case, you get stuck in between traffic, all you have to do is find a dirt road, that is usually found at the edge of the road and just create your own route. In the trails too, the XPulse performs drills so much easier than the Himalayan. And in case, you drop the bike, not a lot of effort is required to pick the XPulse up.
The Himalayan, on the other hand, is a fantastic bike off-road. No doubt there. But it is heavy and that gets a bit troublesome. The Himalayan also can do all the things that I have mentioned above, but due to its weight, you need more confidence and courage. Because there are chances of you getting stuck in some of the city and off-road scenarios, and if you are all alone, then things are definitely going to get a bit difficult and also embarrassing.
On the highways, the Himalayan performs quite well. It has a great ride quality. The seating comfort is good. And there’s more than enough space to mount a lot of luggage. However, the XPulse 200 is most comfortable at 90kmph. Anything above that is a stretch. The seat on the XPulse 200 is new but still is not up to the mark for long distance riding.
Fuel Efficiency & Price
The Royal Enfield Himalayan returned a fuel efficiency of 31kmpl. So, with a fuel tank capacity of 15 litres, you are looking at a riding range of approximately 450kms. The XPulse 200, with its lighter overall weight and less displacement returned 40kmpl. So, we are looking at a riding range of around 500kms in a single tank full.
The Royal Himalayan 400 has a price tag of Rs 2.35 lakh on-road Mumbai, whereas the XPulse 200 is almost a lakh cheaper at Rs 1.37 lakh on-road Mumbai.
The XPulse 200 and the Himalayan both are fantastic motorcycles. Both can be used as a daily motorcycle and also for weekend getaways. And when the trail begins, these bikes will keep you happy and comfortable. But the XPulse 200 will do all of that a bit more nicely. It is lighter and more agile. It is also loaded with more features and is also priced better. Plus, the XPulse is cheaper to maintain and with Hero’s vast service network, your bike will always have a mechanic present every few hundred kilometers.
The Himalayan is extremely comfortable, rides better, and can also take more luggage. But it is heavy, misses out on a lot of modern features, and is also a lakh expensive. So, the Himalayan misses out the winning mark by just a few points.
Buy the XPulse 200 if you are new into the world of ADV touring. It won’t empty your bank and will also give you a decent peace of mind during the ownership period. '
Photography by Kapil Angane
|Parameters||Max Points||Hero XPulse 200||Royal Enfield Himalayan|
|Looks & Styling||10||7||7|
|Ergonomics & Quality||10||7||7|
|Features & Tech||10||7||5|
|Engine & Gearbox||10||7||8|
|Handling & Braking||10||7||7|
|Price & Warranty||10||6||3|