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Hero Xtreme 200R Track Ride Review

24 May 2018, 11:05 AM Ranjan R. Bhat

Introduction

Apart from belonging to the same brand, the CD100, Splendor, CBZ, Karizma and the Impulse have one more thing in common. They were aspirational models, way ahead of their time. They revolutionised the industry, and set a course for their segments for the next few years. However, of late, there hasn’t been a new Hero product worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as these models. With Hero now entering premium market space once again, can the new Xtreme 200R change this? We got a good look at the bike during the 2018 Auto Expo, but now, here are our impressions from a spin at the Buddh International Circuit.

Track attack

The most remarkable aspect about the Hero Xtreme 200R is the refinement. The engine is based on the Achiever’s 150cc unit, although it features additional balancers to cut down on the vibrations, and this has worked well indeed. Apart from a slight buzz in the tank post 6,000rpm, there are hardly any vibrations throughout the rev range. The 200cc engine air-cooled carburetted single-cylinder engine is rated at 18.2bhp and 17.1Nm of torque. Despite the company’s claims of it being a performance-focussed bike, the Xtreme 200R is the least powerful motor in this class. However, at 147 kilograms, it is also the lightest. 

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Hero Xtreme 200R

Hero Xtreme 200R

  • Displacement199.6 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported40 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)18.1 bhp
  • Kerb Weight149 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 92,884

Like you would expect in a commuter bike, the torque is concentrated at the bottom and the gearing is tall. You are already at 90kmph by the time you run out of revs in third. I managed to hit 110kmph in fifth in some sections of the short loop, although it still had some grunt left in it. The power delivery is flat and uninspiring. But that also makes it easily accessible, which suits just fine for the target audience. The clutch is light and gearshifts are slick and precise, until you try hunting for the neutral, which can require a couple of attempts.

The suspension however, is too soft for the track. The front dives in when you go heavy on the brakes, and bike gets unsettled if you try hooning it through switchbacks. Tipping it in doesn’t require much effort, but quick direction changes require a fair amount of cajoling. And though the suspension felt soft, we would reserve our judgement on the ride quality until we get to ride it on the street.

The front brake feels soft, which Hero agrees is a step taken keeping the target audience in mind. It has enough stopping power, although it could do with better progression. It is offered with a front and rear disc with single-channel ABS as standard. 

The rest

The seating position is upright and comfortable with a raised handlebar and slightly rear set footpegs. The single-piece seat is firm and comfortable and the sculpted tank has a recess to latch your thighs onto, which allows you to move around very easily. Even the switchgear and plastic quality is top notch.

But apart from ABS, the Xtreme 200R doesn’t score very high in terms of equipment. The instrument console is the same as the concept from 2016. It gets an analogue tachometer paired with a digital display, which shows the speed, dual trip meters and a clock. It might have looked fancy back then, but the console feels outdated against the current crop of fully-digital displays. 

Our take

So is the Xtreme 200R worthy of scoring an iconic status? Well, it doesn’t seem like it, at least at the BIC. A race track isn’t exactly the right setting for the Xtreme 200R, and it should feel more at home on the street. The seating is very comfortable and the power delivery is relaxed. And with that sort of power figures and weight, the Xtreme 200R has a strong chance of scoring the best fuel efficiency among the competition. I can see the Xtreme 200R being an ideal upgrade for someone moving up from a Honda CB Unicorn 150 or Hero’s own crop of 150cc commuter bikes. 

Hero admits that the Xtreme 200R is targeted at customers looking for 160cc motorcycles and will be priced very competitively. However, it will be interesting to see whether they can undercut the most affordable 200cc offering, the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V, which starts at Rs 94,185 (ex-showroom). 

 
 
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

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