The 200cc single-cylinder engines by Hero MotoCorp sure are refined but not really performance oriented. It is because they were designed to offer decent performance without putting a big hole in the pocket. The one on the XPulse is no different. The 18bhp motor isn’t class-leading in any way, but it offers power and grunt through the mid-range. It pulls quite easily from as low as 3000rpm, and stays strong throughout. It’s only when the revs start to climb towards 8000rpm, the performance deteriorates. There’s decent amount of buzz around the pegs and the handlebar then. Moreover, the five-speed gearbox is precise and easy to shift while standing up and riding. Its sweet spot, however, lies in the 90kmph range. It does 110kmph as well, but that means tucking behind the windscreen for most of the part. The road dynamics are also great and so is the straight line stability. The ride quality too is impressive, even on the worst possible roads.
But, off the road is where the Xpulse feels at home. With a strong low-range, it’s quite easy to cross water bodies or even do some steep climbs for that matter. If the technique is right, power slides are also possible on the Xpulse. Meanwhile, the combination of great ground clearance, potent motor and long travel suspension is a major boon for extreme trail riding. In fact, after a few jumps, some of which were unsuccessful or bad, the Xpulse continued to feel at home. This could be attributed to the CEAT tyres that offer great grip and instill confidence in the rider.
Also, the brakes might not be the best in the segment, but it does the job of stopping the motorcycle on time. In fact, in off-road conditions, the lack of power in the front brake proves to be useful, especially while riding down a steep slope just for its predictability.