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Hero Xtreme 160R First Ride Review

29 July 2020, 12:00 PM Vikrant Singh

Introduction

Hero Xtreme 160R Action

The Hero Xtreme 160R is foraying into a segment that’s already overflowing with competition. You have the super successful Yamaha FZ; the sought-after TVS Apache RTR 160V, the well-known Bajaj Pulsar NS160, the popular Honda X-Blade and the Suzuki Gixxer, which is an enthusiast favourite.

But as it turns out, the 160R is also the best product to have rolled out from Hero MotoCorp’s factory floors. And that’s saying something because Hero already has the likeable Xpulse 200 and the Xtreme 200S in its portfolio. But how good is the Xtreme 160R really? And does it have any shortcomings at all? Let’s find out

The Visuals

Hero Xtreme 160R Right Front Three Quarter

The Xtreme 160R is a handsome looking motorcycle. It is compact, it finishes between the wheel axles, and it has the traditional street bike chest-heavy stance. But not everything about the 160R is traditional. The tank has been fused with the side panel, which gives it a curious but palatable look. And there are other interesting bits too.

Hero Xtreme 160R Headlamp

The all-LED headlamp is very space-age and emotive at the same time. The blacked out tail lamps give the motorcycle a custom-like look. And the rest - the dynamic spoke wheels, the aggressive front fender, the stepped single piece seat, the sporty rider footrests, and the stubby exhaust further complete the Xtreme’s modern, playful, and likeable aura.

The Package

Hero Xtreme 160R Engine

The engine in the 160R is a new one. It’s a 163cc air-cooled unit that makes 15bhp and 14Nm of torque. It is BS6 compliant and it has fuel injection. These output figures are healthy, but not extraordinary.

Hero Xtreme 160R

Hero Xtreme 160R

  • Displacement163 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)15 bhp
  • Kerb Weight138.5 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 1,05,737

The chassis meanwhile does grab your attention for its lack of weight. The motorcycle overall weighs less than 140kg making it one of the lightest in its class. It follows the diamond-type construction. And bolted on to the chassis are a pair of right-way-up telescopic forks upfront and a preload adjustable monoshock at the rear. 

Hero Xtreme 160R Action

The tyres are par for the course - a 100-section front and a 130-section rear tyre. And our more expensive dual disc version here gets a 276mm petal disc at the front and a smaller 220mm petal at the rear. It still runs single channel ABS, though.

In terms of features, the Xtreme 160R gets digital instrumentation that displays speed, engine rpm, time, odo and two trip meters. It also gets all-LED lighting from the headlamp to the tail lamp and the tune indicators.

Hero Xtreme 160R Tail lamp

It has a stepped seat, a flush-fitting fuel filler cap, and sporty looking rider footrests with proper heel plates. It also has a glide feature, which prevents the engine from stalling even without the rider’s throttle input. Left to cruise on its own - no clutch and no throttle inputs - the bike will still do 8kmph on a flat road all day long. It should help in bumper-to-bumper traffic. 

The Ride

Hero Xtreme 160R Action

On the road, the Xtreme 160R impresses. Now I know we said that its engine output figures were nothing extraordinary. But, courtesy a flat torque curve and low kerb weight, the 160R feels alive from the word go.

That means not only does the Xtreme get off the mark with the exuberance of a lively puppy, but the mid range on the motorcycle is pretty potent too. So, overtakes are easy; exiting corners with dollops of throttle is rewarding; and general tomfoolery on the motorcycle is tremendous fun too.

Hero Xtreme 160R Action

It’s also a good handling bike. It is light and agile and effortless. And it’s sharp and responsive and brimming with feel. So riding it around corners or even just filtering quickly through traffic leaves you with this happy, satisfied grin, and the urge to do it all over again. The suspension helps, as do the chassis and the tyres, which are setup to return good dynamics but without any low speed harshness or discomfort. 

Brakes though could do with more power and bite. They work fine at slow speeds but at higher speeds they do seem inadequate at times. 

Hero Xtreme 160R Front Brake

As far as cruising goes, the Xtreme is happiest between 85-95kmph. At these speeds there are barely any vibrations, there’s enough torque in reserve to pull clean overtakes, and the brakes don’t feel overwhelmed either. the 160R can do over 100kmph all day long as well. and even though it isn’t at its smoothest best at these speeds, it’s still stable, manageable, and agreeable.

What’s more, the Xtreme offers comfortable seating ergos. Its rider seat height measures 790mm, which is a sweet spot for the average Indian. And then when you get astride, this big looking tank that has great knee recesses welcomes you. And having the extra bit of seat extending into the tank further adds to comfort. The footpegs are slightly rearset; the handlebar for my height (five-nine) is easy to reach. And it’s of a good width too allowing good leverage while steering.

Hero Xtreme 160R Action

Additionally, the bike tracks straight even at really slow speeds. It doesn’t flip-flop, so you don’t need to work the handle. Plus the clutch and throttle operation is light - though the clutch could have been lighter still.

We would have liked the low speed ride to be a bit more yielding as well. At higher speeds and over undulations and bumps, the 160R remains stable and poised. But at slower speeds, the rear does tend to kick about. So if you ride single more often, our suggestion would be reduce the preload to make it more comfortable. The front though feels wonderful no matter the speed or the surface. 

Our Take

Hero Xtreme 160R Front

The Xtreme 160R is the best that Hero has produced so far. And we say that because it absolutely nails the fitness of purpose part. It is a bike meant and designed for the young, upcoming motorcyclist. And that segment of buyer wants a good looking, comfortable, and easy and fun to ride motorcycle that doesn’t cost the earth. The 160R ticks all those boxes.

Yes, it could do with some segment firsts. And a few cool, feel good features would have moved its ‘want’ factor up. But even now, in its current form, it feels so right, we would recommend it all and sundry without a moment's hesitation. And that in our book is a trait of a great motorcycle.

Photography by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi

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