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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.