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Hero Xtreme 160R Quick Ride Review

20 February 2020, 09:02 PM Vikrant Singh

Introduction

Hero Xtreme 160R Exterior

First, there was the CBZ. A motorcycle that ushered in performance motorcycling for the masses. Then, of course, the Bajaj Pulsar came in, and the CBZ was relegated to the background till it finally disappeared. The Pulsar is still around, and in good health.  

But, Hero hasn’t been able to mount a successful comeback ever since. Not for the lack of trying, mind you. We have seen the arrival of the likes of the Hunk, the Achiever, and the Xtreme, in various guises to break the Pulsar stranglehold. But, nothing worked. 

Now, however, there is the Hero Xtreme 160R. And we had a short spin on it; enough to realise that this is Hero’s best shot yet. Here’s why...  

Visual appeal

Hero Xtreme 160R Exterior

I don’t know if you agree with me, but Hero hasn’t really produced great looking two-wheelers. In some cases, like the Xtreme  200S, it had something good, but nothing exceptional. The competition, on the other hand, has consistently been doing exceptional designs, especially when it comes to street nakeds.  

Hero Xtreme 160R

Hero Xtreme 160R

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

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 1,05,737

That, however, changes with the Xtreme 160R. It has the visual presence; it has unique design elements; but crucially, it has the right stance and proportions for a street naked. The visual bulk is concentrated around the tank area. The tail is short. And there’s very little bike beyond the wheels, which gives the 160R both a compact and sporty visual aura.  

Hero Xtreme 160R Exterior

It has some noteworthy styling elements as well. The side panel merging onto the tank is unique, and in a good way. The all-LED headlamp looks both aggressive and technical. And the blacked-out tail lamp is a nice addition as well. Furthermore, the stubby exhaust, the thin spoked wheels, and the beefy rear tyre complete the sporty, street naked look.  

Peppy performance

Hero Xtreme 160R Exterior

The Xtreme 160R doesn’t just look sporty, it felt pretty peppy on our short ride on Hero’s CIT (Centre of Innovation and Technology) test track. And that’s obvious when you look at the engine specs. The 160cc, fuel-injected, air-cooled engine develops 15bhp at 8,500rpm and 14Nm of peak torque at 6,500rpm.  

Now on paper, these figures don’t trump those of the TVS Apache 160 4V, the Xtreme’s closest competitor. But, the difference in figures is less than one on both counts. What’s more, the Hero develops its peak torque at a lower rpm, and according to Hero engineers, the torque curve is a flat one as well. Add to it a lower kerb weight for the Xtreme, and I won’t bet against the Hero being quicker to 60kmph compared to the TVS.  

Hero Xtreme 160R Exterior

The engine is refined too. And it makes the right noises. The exhaust has a hint of baritone to it, there’s no unnecessary hissing or tappet noises coming from the engine, and the gearshifts on the five-speed gearbox are slick and precise as well.   

Fun to ride

Hero Xtreme 160R Exterior

But what good is an aggressive looking, peppy, nice sounding, street naked,  if it isn’t fun to ride? As it turns out, the Xtreme 160R has that covered as well.  

Hero Xtreme 160R Exterior

Our test route included a short straight, a couple of fast corners, and many tight ones; some even being of the tightening radii variety. But, the moment you start rolling, it’s immediately evident that the 160R is an agile, easy to manoeuvre, and responsive motorcycle.  

Around tighter corners, it drops into bends effortlessly, courtesy the flat and wide handlebar which offers good leverage. There’s also no vagueness or delay in the way the front end of the Xtreme responds to steering inputs. And the tyres, at least for the lean and speeds we were doing, felt more than adequate.  

Hero Xtreme 160R Exterior

Around faster corners, again, there’s no wallowing or waviness or uncertainty in the way the motorcycle  behaves when leaned over. And as it turns out. For the sub three-digit speeds we were carrying around these corners, we never really ran out of cornering clearance either. Braking again, didn’t leave anything in particular to be desired.  Finally, it is the predictability in the handling, the willingness of the engine - particularly in the mid range, and the comfortable but involving seating ergos, that really make it fun to ride.  

Our take

Hero Xtreme 160R Exterior

As we said at the start, the Xtreme 160R is Hero MotoCorp’s best shot at kicking up a storm in the entry-level premium segment that’s currently ruled by the likes of the Pulsar, and to an extent the Honda Unicorn and the Yamaha FZ. And that’s down to its design, its performance, and its accessibility.  

Speaking of accessibility, the 160R doesn’t bring in anything path-breaking or wildly new to the class it operates in. And for this reason - and the fact that Hero hasn’t really had a great run in this segment - it needs to be priced very attractively indeed.   

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

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