Let’s get the less interesting thing out of the way first.
It’s easy to swing your leg over the Xpulse given its low tail. Once seated, the ergonomics feel right. The handlebar is tall and wide, the footpegs are neutrally positioned, and the distance between the handlebar and rider’s seat won’t have you reaching for the bars. Moreover, nothing about the Xpulse’s ergonomics feels odd, which is great.
Once you start riding, it won’t blow your mind. At least not on the road. Not that the Xpulse is slow; it has a strong mid range, it pulls strongly from 3,000rpm, and it is relatively free-revving as well. But it isn’t exactly exciting. It has a nice induction note - we will give it that - and the throttle response is crisp, the gear shifts are precise, and unless you get near 8,000rpm, it doesn’t seem to run out of breath. As far as vibes go, it has some, but nothing extreme.
On the highways, it feels best when cruising at 90kmph in fifth. It can go up to 115kmph with the throttle wrung to the stop. And even to around 120kmph if you manage to hide your big frame behind that tiny flyscreen. But you know, the Xpulse isn’t enjoying this as much.
It feels planted in a straight line at these speeds. And though the brakes - the front in particular- isn’t the best when it comes to feel or bite, it still manages to haul the bike down without scaring the rider. Around winding roads, the Xpulse’s large front wheel and the lazy rake do make for a relatively slow steering bike.
The ride quality, though, is impressive. It’s not overly soft like the Impulse, and the rear suspension can further be adjusted for preload. However, even in the stock setting, there’s a hint of firmness to the ride which prevents the motorcycle from bottoming out. But again, it isn’t firm enough to throw the rider off the seat. It rides the bumps, absorbs the potholes, and then settles down without a hint of wallowing.
And then when you go off-road, you immediately start falling for the bike. The Xpulse seems to be built for it. It has the suspension travel, it has the tyres, it has the balance, and now it has the mid-range torque to make dirt riding interesting. You can jump it and slide it and take on the trails with utmost ease. And though it weighs more than the Impulse, it’s still not heavy to move around or pick up when you happen to drop it. And it’s lovely to stand up and ride upon as well.