Last time I swung a leg over the Hero MotoCorp Xtreme 200R was during the media rides at the Buddh International Circuit. This time though, we got the motorcycle on its home turf, city roads. We rode the Xtreme 200R through a variety of riding conditions – ranging from highways to bumpy internal roads, from fifth gear cruising to bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Before we talk about the design and performance, let us give you an idea about how the motorcycle is positioned. The Hero Xtreme 200R is the most affordable 200cc motorcycle in the Indian market. In fact, it is approximately INR 5,000 more expensive than the TVS Apache RTR160 4V’s carburettor variant with rear disc and at par with the fuel-injected model of the 160cc motorcycle. Meanwhile, its direct rivals, the TVS Apache RTR200 4V and the Bajaj Pulsar NS200 retail above the INR 1 lakh ex-showroom mark.
The Xtreme 200R is Hero MotoCorp’s attempt to make a comeback in the premium motorcycle space after the Karizma sales dropped like a stone. Is the package enough to stir up the 200cc segment? Let’s find out.
The Xtreme 200R packs a lot of muscle, but it has some real competition when it comes to visuals. The TVS Apache RTR200 4V, Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS and the KTM 200 Duke, with their fibre fuel tank covers, have a unique look. The Hero Xtreme 200R, on the other hand, uses a metal fuel tank and the muscular look comes from the bolt-on shrouds that give the motorcycle a beefed-up appearance.
The fascia comes from the 2015 Xtreme Sports, and thus you would find an identical headlight design with twin DRLs and a tinted fly-screen. However, to ensure variation, the Xtreme 200R gets body coloured headlight mask with a unique shape that resembles the alphabet “R”. The DRL covers get a smoked finish that looks better than the clear screen units on the Xtreme Sports.
The dual-tone front fender features body colour with a black finish to the rear. The fender displays the Hero branding along with an ABS sticker, which is a single-channel unit to keep the costs low and prices competitive.
A semi-digital instrument console, which features an analogue tachometer, follows the fly-screen. Rest of the ride related information such as the fuel gauge, speedometer, odometer, two trip meters and clock is displayed on the digital screen. The Mode button toggles between the trip meters while the Set button resets them back to zero.
Steering duties are performed by a flat, single-piece handlebar – a feature that is also seen on the TVS Apache RTR160 4V. Its rivals like the Apache RTR200 4V and Pulsar 200 NS, on the other hand, use clip-on style units. We would talk more about this in the ergonomics department.
The fuel tank, as mentioned above, gets a bolt-on shroud that gives the motorcycle a muscular look. If you manage to drop the bike and damage the shrouds, you could just replace them with new units instead of swapping the complete fuel tank, thus making repairs more affordable. The recesses provide ample space to lock your legs against the tank while cornering. The Xtreme branding runs through the shrouds, onto the fuel tank. The flush-type fuel tank lid comes with black paint, accompanied by a silver ring. Following the filler cap is a three-piece rubber tank-pad that comes pre-installed and saves the colour against belt buckles. It looked sturdy with absolutely no signs of coming off any time soon.
A step-up saddle is a single-piece unit instead of a split seat that is seen on Xtreme 200R’s rivals. The saddle is large enough to accommodate two adults comfortably. A split-style pillion grab rail, which adds a sporty look to the overall package, follows the saddle.
The rear panel following the saddle features the Hero branding. Under the back panel is a LED tail light that reminds of the unit that was also seen on the 150cc Xtreme Sports. Clear-screen blinkers sit on the rear fender and are accompanied by a number plate illuminator. Sides reveal matte-black painted panels with Hero branding. The engine underbelly, too, gets a matte-black finish. The underbelly gives the motorcycle a sporty persona.
To sum it up, the overall design looks stylish, and it does grab attention occasionally. Certain areas could use a bit of an upgrade. The instrument console, for example, could display more information such as a shift light and a gear position indicator. The exhaust isn’t the prettiest looking unit either, and the protruding tip at the end could have been eliminated. Lastly, the rider footrest tends to get into closed position every time you take off the side-stand as it does not feature a spring to bring it back into its original spot. The design trait is due to the shape of the kick starter.
That said, the overall build quality is solid. The switchgear feels premium and Hero MotoCorp gets full marks in the build quality department. Do note that the motorcycle is backed by a massive after sales network and easy availability of spares.
Engine and Performance
Regarding performance, the Hero Xtreme 200R isn’t something that would create disruption in the segment. The motorcycle draws power from a 199.6 cc single-cylinder, air-cooled, 2-valve, carburettor engine. Fuel injection is not available yet, but we will see the feature with the BS-VI compliant model. The performance numbers stand at 18.4 PS at 8,000 rpm and 17.1 Nm at 6,500 rpm. In comparison, the Apache RTR200 4V makes 20.5 PS (Carb) / 21.0 PS (EFI) and 18.1 Nm while the Pulsar 200NS churns out 23.5 PS and 18.3 Nm.
How does it behave? The motor feels uncomfortable below the 3,000 rpm mark. It starts to pull cleanly post 3,000 revs with a noticeable step-up in the delivery post the 6,000 rpm levels and loses some steam once the 8,000 rpm mark is breached. Highway speeds (80 kmph) are achieved around 6,250 rpm while a ton comes near 8,000 revs in fifth gear. Refinement levels are commendable with negligible vibrations after the 8,000 rpm zone.
The meaty mid-range delivers a laid-back ride that is essential for cities. The five-speed gearbox feels slick, but we did face false neutral gears more than once during our three-day test ride.
Stopping power comes from a 276mm front disc and a 220mm rear with single channel ABS available as standard. The brakes have a decent bite, and the overall feel is neat and progressive.
How does it handle?
Ride and Handling
The motorcycle was surprisingly fun on the racetrack but what about the city rides? The suspension setup is on the stiffer side which suits the motorcycle’s sporty persona. However, you would notice most of the undulations on the road. It definitely is not the stiffest in the segment – like the KTM 200 Duke – but it isn’t as plush as the TVS Apache RTR200 4V.
Shock absorption tasks are performed by conventional, 37mm telescopic hydraulic suspension up front and, for the first time, a monoshock at the rear. The rear shock absorber is seven-step adjustable.
The ergonomics, on the other hand, aren’t so sporty. The tall-set handlebar and relatively forward set footrests are aimed to offer comfort than forward-leaning riding stance. The setup is focused on delivering comfortable city rides, and the motorcycle does an excellent job at that. The well-padded saddle provides more comfort and compensates for the relatively stiffer suspension.
Should you buy one?
The Xtreme 200R is an ideal motorcycle for anyone who is graduating from the 110-125cc segment. The bike looks appealing with a muscular fuel tank and sporty styling, which is complemented by the commendable build quality and refinement levels.
The suspension setup gives the confidence to ride the motorcycle hard into the corners, but the performance numbers lack the steam that rivals pack.
The overall package is sold for INR 89,990 (ex-showroom) price tag for which buyers get a decent amount of power and the safety net of single-channel ABS as standard.