5th Oct 2018 3:18 pm
Is the Hero Xtreme 200R a compelling bike to buy for city commute? We give you the answer.
There’s nothing you don’t already know about the Hero Xtreme 200R, given that it officially broke cover in January 2018 at the Auto Expo. It is only now, however, that this new Xtreme has its showrooms across the country, so let’s find out if it genuinely is a motorcycle built for you.
Hero Motor Corp. has played the value-for-money card here by offering you a 200cc motorcycle for the price of a premium 160. It’s not exactly a masterstroke considering the extreme 200R is, contrary to what its name suggests, not such an extreme motorcycle after all. It still is a motorcycle worth serious consideration though, even though it may not thrill and excite like some of its rivals.
The Xtreme is a familiar name in Hero’s range, but this motorcycle sits above the 150cc Xtreme Sport and goes well beyond just being a variant. The newest bid on this motorcycle is of course, the 199cc two-valve air-cooled motor which is equipped with a carburetor and is paired to a 5-speed gearbox.
With 18.4hp and 17.1Nm of torque, the Xtreme 200R is armed with numbers that impress in isolation, although its immediate rivals the Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and TVS Apache RTR 200 4V have a significant edge over it that cannot be overlooked. But these motorcycles are all priced much higher than the Hero. While it’s performance doesn’t overwhelm on paper, the Xtreme 200R proves to be delightful in the real world.
To begin with, the new motor is noticeably refined and it has been engineered for torque and a strong mid-range. Like the original Xtreme, the 200R’s philosophy is to be a fast but uncompromisingly usable bike and this works well if your riding pattern is limited to largely just the city. While it is not as fast as its rivals, it is peppy enough to brighten up your commute without coming across as a handful in any way. This focus of usability also comes through in the riding position, with its conventional handlebar and comfortably reset foot pegs. Oddly, the Xtreme 200 gets a single seat, while the cheaper 150cc version gets a split seat instead.
This is the only existing Hero to sport a monoshock, a 7 step adjustable unit, and while we must reserve judgement on its ability to tackle bad roads, what we do know is that the pliant suspension certainly doesn’t take away anything from the Xtreme’s cornering abilities. The brakes offer decent bite and progression, although they certainly aren’t the sharpest in the business. But what you will like are the tyres, which are generously sized and offer good amounts of grip, even under aggressive cornering.
It is the first Hero to come equipped with ABS, although it is only a single channel unit. It does get decently chunky tubeless tyres and disc brakes at either end, but apart from that, and the usual fare of features such as alloy wheels and an electric starter, the Xtreme 200R gives you nothing to brag about. The Xtreme is decently equipped for a ride around town, but it is not class leading in any way. It gets a simple digi-analogue instrument cluster which is easy to read but sorely misses a gear position indicator.
The Xtreme 200R is living breathing proof that superiority on a spec sheet is not all that matters. Priced at 89,900 rupees ex-showroom Delhi, the Xtreme is a fun, practical and well priced motorcycle that won’t disappoint as long as you don’t expect the moon from it. Going by engine size, its competition is undoubtedly better, and far more exciting in every area of performance, but that does come at a premium.
For instance, the base carbureted and non-ABS TVS RTR 200 4V is priced at 97,000 rupees and the Bajaj Pulsar NS200 in the same spec is priced even higher at a shade over a lakh of rupees. Go for the ABS models of either of these two and the price difference shoots up much higher. And that’s where the Xtreme 200R’s trump card comes in – this is a motorcycle that actually competes with the top of the 160cc crop and it is priced to be on par, or even cheaper than machines like the Honda CB Hornet 160R ABS (Rs 91,443) or the Suzuki Gixxer SP ABS (Rs 87,664). The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, which is our current pick of the segment is priced at Rs 85,810 for the rear disc variant, but it doesn’t offer ABS yet. When TVS does introduce that feature, you can expect the price to cross the Rs 90,000 mark.
To sum up, if your riding pattern is largely confined to the city, you will appreciate the Xtreme’s tractable, overall comfort and fun mannerisms. At this competitive price, it makes for a compelling argument against anything the premium 160cc segment has to offer.