Back in the day, Hero sold CBZ, which was the very-first 150cc motorcycle in the country to come with a 5-speed gearbox. Then, came the Karizma, and it revolutionized the biking culture in India. It is still considered as the best-looking motorcycle to come out of Hero’s stable. This time, again, Hero has tried its hands on the 150cc premium-commuter segment with the Xtreme 160R. The prices start at INR 99,950, for the single-disc variant, and top out at INR 1,03,500, for the dual-disc variant. But, the question here is, “does it still feels like an old-school Hero motorcycle or things have evolved?” To find the answer, go through our first ride report here.
Hero Xtreme 160R Review – Styling & Build Quality
In this chapter, Hero has evolved to the Xtreme-ities. The design is inspired by the Hero Xtreme 1.R Concept that was showcased at the EICMA 2019. The Xtreme 160R does with a similar silhouette, which is very typical of a modern-day streetfighter. The dual-tone treatment for the front mudguard looks appealing and is carried over to the headlamp cowl as well. Apart from breaking the visual bulk, it also gives the front-end a mean appeal. Accentuating the visual drama on the front facet is the robot-face-inspired LED headlamp unit with squared-off DRLs. Hero calls them 'whiskers'.
In the profile, the Hero Xtreme 160R has much of its visual bulk concentrated in the front-half. While the design for the headlamp is minimalistic, the fuel tank is bulky. The heft to it comes from its shrouds, with the same plastic panel extending to the sub-frame. With a couple of more plastic panels in place, the Xtreme gets a sufficiently large tank, which gives it a big bike feel. The seat on the bike features sharps contours and a speed hump, which, too, is inspired by the 1.R concept.
The rear fenders below the seat are intelligently designed as they double-up as grab-rails for the pillion. The taillamp gets a smoked treatment, and the LED element depicts the letter ‘H’ of the Hero Motocorp. Though the tyre hugger is massive, it isn't even a small eye-sore.
The instrument console is rather impressive, though. It gets a negative LCD and is readable during all sorts of lighting conditions. Sadly, it misses out on distance to empty display, on-board fuel efficiency calculator, and gear indicator. This sleek unit, however, gets side stand indicator along with a cut-off switch. The switch gears are also neatly designed and have all the switches that are required. Yes! It does get a hazard light button, so no heading out the aftermarket way. Also, the Xtreme 160R gets super-sleek LED indicators that impart a premium appeal to the bike. The design elements are beautifully strewn together. The build quality has headed northwards from what early Hero products offered and the same goes for the design. On the whole, it is one of the best-looking motorcycles available in the 150cc segment and easily the most gorgeous 150cc model to have come out of Hero's factory after the Karizma.
Hero Xtreme 160R Review – Engine & Gearbox
Hero Motocorp has plonked in a 163 cc single-cylinder engine in the frame of the Xtreme 160R. It churns out a peak power output of 15 PS at 8,500 RPM and 14 Nm of max torque at 6,500 RPM. The power and torque outputs are sent to the rear wheel via a chain drive through a 5-speed gearbox. Unlike the competition, this motor gets only 2 valves on the head. However,thanks to the stricter emission norms, it benefits from a fuel-injection system.
Talking of the first impressions, this motor is highly refined. In comparison to its elder siblings - Xtreme 200, Xtreme 200S, or the Xpulse twins, this Hero gets a much smoother motor. However, it comes with a downside. It is tuned to deliver its best in the mid-range only - power and torque curves in the top-end RPM range are flat, and not much can be extracted out of this motor beyond the 7,000 RPM mark. But, in between the 3,000-6,000 RPM mark, this single-cylinder is tractable and can do wonders in terms of attaining speeds. Hero claims that it can reach the 60 kmph mark on the dash from the standstill in just 4.7 seconds. However, we could do the same in just 4.67 seconds, thanks to my negligible weight. Courtesy the fuel-injection system, the throttle inputs are crisp and not overly sharp. Moreover, during the cold start in the morning, it can increase or decrease the idling RPM on its own.
Coming over to the gearbox, it is a 5-speed constant mesh unit. Sadly, it ain’t the smoothest one that we’ve come across. The gearshifts are often a tad clunky, and the overall shift action feels rubbery, especially on downshifts. Also, the clutch lever has a long travel, which makes it cumbersome to use in the traffic. Besides, the low-end grunt on the motor is absent to such an extent that a constant transition between the 1st and 2nd gear is inevitable. Embracing all the positive and negative attributes of engine and gearbox of the Xtreme 160R, it can be said that they are designed keeping in mind frugality and mid-range tractability. As for the refinement, it is something that the world has come to expect from all Hero products. The 5th-gear, although, could’ve done with a higher gear ratio (overdrive) to increase the bike’s cruising capability. In its current state, it is only capable of cruising at 80~85 kmph all day long.
Hero Xtreme 160R Review – Ride & Handling
In this aspect, the Hero Xtreme 160R wins the race with the highest points but with certain penalties. The Xtreme 160R is underpinned by a tubular diamond frame chassis. It gives the Xtreme 160R the right amount of sturdiness and agility. The frame comes suspended on 37mm conventional telescopic forks from Showa at the front-end and on a mono-shock with 7-step pre-load adjustability for the rear-end. The suspension setup is supple and is capable of eating up the potholes (small or big) and speed bumps without disturbing the poise of the motorcycle.
The unsprung weight comprises of two alloy wheels, which measure 17-inch each. Both the rims come shod with MRF Revz rubber, 100-section at the front and 130-section at the rear. Also, the rear tyre is the radial unit here. It has been made up of a sticky compound and the grip is never an issue in any condition, be it wet or dry.
The brakes on offer comprise petal discs on both the wheels. The front unit measures 276mm in diameter, while the rear one measures 220mm. Sadly, however, the motorcycle gets only a single-channel ABS. The brakes perform wonderfully well on the tarmac and can stop the bike much faster than you would expect them to.
Talking of the dimensions, the seat height stands at 790 mm, making it accessible for people of all shapes and sizes. The wheelbase, on the other hand, measures at 1,327 mm. It is fairly long to give it a perfect balance of high-speed stability and nimbleness. Helping it furthermore in this aspect is the potent chassis, capable suspension, and stickier tyres. Thus, attacking corners is fun and on a tight serpentine road, the bike feels at home as the strong midrange also comes into use.
On the highways, the bike is stable but the well-controlled kerb weight of 139.5 kilograms fails to work in its favour. Due to its light-weight, crosswinds can disturb the composure of the motorcycle at high speeds, which is scary at times. But, the weight helps it win in terms of acceleration. Another sore in the highway cruise along with a small tank of 12 litres is the soft seat. It feels comfy for the initial 15-20 kilometres, but the softness then starts to take on the butt in the long run. For the pillion, it isn’t the most comfortable either.
With the front footpegs set in a comfortable position and handlebars mounted at the right height, the rider’s triangle makes for a relaxed one. The rider barely has to lean forward to reach the bars. Thus, the seating posture can be best described as upright. However, riding with toes on the pegs, a sporty seating position can be achieved. With hardly any fairing, the windblast hits the upper body when cruising at high speeds, but the absence of fairing makes for a lighter front-end. Resultantly, changing direction in the city is super-easy. Also, the bike doesn’t feel cramped at any point for the rider of any build.
Hero Xtreme 160R Review – Verdict
With a starting price of INR 99,950, Hero Xtreme 160R just about undercuts the INR 1 lakh psychological barrier. Also, this makes it the cheapest motorcycle in its segment. Being one of the lightest as well as the quickest to 60 kmph in the premium commuter space, the Xtreme 160R comes across as a capable product. The build quality and aesthetics fall on its side and would be the prime reason for the sales. However, the engine is the weakest link here due to its not-so-strong low-end and lack-lustrous top-end. Thus, in case you need a good-looking no-nonsense bike for usage in the urban environment, the Xtreme 160R makes for a worthy purchase. However, if all-out performance is your priority, look elsewhere