Hero Xpulse 200 Rally Kit Ride Review

19 February 2020, 05:04 PM Vikrant Singh

Introduction

Hero Xpulse 200 Action

We got just three laps around Hero MotoCorp CIT’s (Centre of Innovation and Technology) dirt track. Which, you’d agree, just isn’t enough to give you a full lowdown on the vice and virtues of the Xpulse 200 Rally Kit. But, we will try our best, nonetheless.

The Beginning...

Now, here’s how it all began. The Xpulse 200 was launched, and it was followed up by numerous Xtracks events getting prospect and existing Xpulse owners to have a go on the bike to recognise its potential. 

Hero Xpulse 200 Fuel Tank

Then Hero decided to enter local rallies. And with feedback from riders, and enthusiasts, and racers alike, emerged a need for a more offroad-focused XPulse. An Xpulse that could take on the sand dunes of Jaisalmer and the whoops of a demanding motocross track. An Xpulse that would feel at home on dirt trails around a stone quarry, and taking the long, unpaved road to work. 

A need for a proper Rally Kit.

The Rally Kit

Hero Xpulse 200 Front Right Three-Quarter
Hero Xpulse 200

Hero Xpulse 200

  • Displacement199.6 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)18.1 bhp
  • Kerb Weight153 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 99,500

Hero has had the Rally Kit for a while. But, product development team in the company wanted the kit to have wider acceptance. So, not only did the kit have to be accessible in terms of pricing, it also had to be usable on a daily basis. And therefore, Hero MotoCorp decided to have it homologated for the road. A smart move, no doubt. 

Hero Xpulse 200 Handlebar

The complete kit costs Rs 38,000. It includes handlebar risers to help improve ‘standing-up’ ergos. It has a flat seat to make it easy for the rider to slide fore and aft when tacking a corner on dirt. It has an extended gear shifter pedal to go along with the bulky offroad boots. And, it gets more offroad focused knobby tyres. 

Hero Xpulse 200 Rear Right Three-Quarter

But, more importantly, it gets longer travel suspension to help improve the ground clearance as well as the Xpulse’s ability to take on higher jumps, bigger rocks, and deeper water crossings. And, the front forks are also adjustable for compression and rebound damping. How cool is that! And yes, there’s also a longer side stand as part of the kit. So almost everything seems to have been thought through. 

The Ride

Hero Xpulse 200 Action

If you are five nine like me - in human height terms - swinging a leg over the Rally Kit equipped Xpulse 200 will be daunting. It’s best then to climb aboard the bike by means of the footpegs. But once I did, I actually preferred the new seating triangle, the thicker seat and the taller handlebar offer. 

Hero Xpulse 200 Action

Now one sits ‘on’ the bike than ‘in’ it. And it’s more like sitting on a chair now than in a squat, given that the footpeg positioning hasn’t changed. And the taller handlebar actually makes it easier on the back when sitting down. In fact, the new handlebar position is kinder to your back even when standing up and riding. And the thicker seat means, there’s a bit more real estate to lock your knees against.

Hero Xpulse 200 Handlebar

The suspension is adjustable now. And given the setup the CIT engineers chose for the dirt track, it felt a bit stiff-kneed on the flat section, especially at  slower speeds. But, as we got on to the more challenging sections - berms, jumps, mild ruts, and loose mud - the suspension came into its own. Helped, of course, by the knobby tyres. 

Hero Xpulse 200 Rear Wheel & Tyre

The grip from the tyres on the loose stuff is fantastic. So, be it under braking, or when rolling on the throttle aggressively while exiting berms, the Maxxis just dug in. The suspension helped, of course. There’s no excessive dive, and it would take monumental amounts of skill - or stupidity - to run out of travel on this suspension setup on the Xpulse. 

Hero Xpulse 200 Action

And that means - not only do you have surprisingly good traction, but even the landings coming off jumps is so effortless, so pliant, and so devoid of shock, we had to look at pictures to figure out that we had in fact gotten some air!

Hero Xpulse 200 Exhaust

As far as engine performance goes, the Rally Kit has no add-ons to move the goal post further on this count. The motorcycles we rode, however, did have an Akrapovic after-market exhaust. Now, we aren’t sure if it will be made available or not at a later stage, but it does help make the Xpulse 200 look and sound good.

Our Take

Hero Xpulse 200 Action

Three laps around a dirt track we have never ridden on, and at too careful a pace, was never going to be enough for us to form a clear opinion on the Rally Kit. But, as far as first impressions go, we are quite pleased with the outcome. And soon we will have a proper go at it. So do stay tuned for that. 

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

Please tell us your city

This allows us to provide relevant content for you.

Please enter your city
Confirm city