Hero Xtreme 200S: First Ride Review
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The new Xtreme 200S is supposed to be Hero’s sportiest motorcycle on sale. But is it too little, too late?
Almost a year back, the Hero Xtreme 200R signalled the revival of Hero’s presence in the entry-level performance segment. The Xtreme 200R was an important bike for the company as it represented the pinnacle of the company’s indigenously developed motorcycles. But despite its (higher) displacement, the Xtreme 200R maintained the commuter DNA that brand Hero is renowned for.
Also read: Hero XPulse 200T First Ride Review
- Value for money.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- Hero’s vast service network.
- Underpowered for a 200cc motor.
- Plastic quality could be better.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- LED headlight and sharp styling.
- Brakes offer good bite.
Cut to 2019, Hero has launched the faired version of the Xtreme 200R, dubbed the Xtreme 200S. Comparisons to the Karizma are a given as it was one of the first fully faired motorcycles to go on sale in India at the turn of the 21st century. However, unlike the Karizma, which was among the best performance bikes on sale when launched, the Xtreme 200S plays the value card. It’s the second most affordable fully faired bike on sale in India behind the Gixxer SF, which is a 155cc offering. The Hero Xtreme 200R hasn’t tasted the sales success that the company had hoped, so can the new Xtreme 200S change the tide for Hero? We got to ride the new Hero motorcycle for a few laps at the BIC race track and here’s what we think.
Also read: Hero Xpulse 200 First Ride Review
Let’s be honest, styling isn’t among Hero’s strengths. Most of its bikes have a very mellow design in an attempt to please the masses. Also, its last attempt at a fully faired motorcycle, the Karizma ZMR, wasn’t a visually appealing bike by any means. The Hero Xtreme 200S, on the other hand, does make a positive impression. It has got the proportions right and the sleek LED headlight and smoked windscreen do make it look sporty, especially in the red shade of our test bike. The fairing, with the bold Xtreme 200S graphic, isn’t too large and most of the motor is exposed. Another major design element is the slightly upswept exhaust muffler, which is much, much better looking than the commuterish unit seen on its naked sibling. The centre panel gets a carbon-fibre-like finish and lends the motorcycle a nice dual-tone look. The seats and the LED taillight unit is a straight lift from its naked sibling. Overall, it’s a well executed design and the Xtreme 200S does look more appealing in the flesh than what the pictures may suggest. My only grouse is that the mirrors should have been mounted on the fairing. Switchgear and paint quality of the motorcycle is good and even the panel gaps are tight. However, the plastic quality could have been better and there were lots of visible welds and exposed wires beneath the handlebar.
While the Xtreme 200S does have the appearance of a sporty motorcycle, it does maintain the commuter DNA of brand Hero. Unlike most faired bikes, it gets a single-piece handlebar and not clip-on bars. The rider triangle is identical to the Xtreme 200R, with only slightly rear-set footpegs and an upright riding posture. In fact, one can compare the riding position of the new bike with that of the Suzuki Gixxer SF. The seat height, at 795mm, is also very accessible, but since it was a track ride, we couldn’t test the pillion seat. However, with our past experience with the Xtreme 200R, it will be safe to say that pillion riders won’t find themselves uncomfortable on the new bike. Also, the 149kg weight and tight turning radius means that the Xtreme 200S will be easy to manoeuvre around while parking.
Technology & Features:
As mentioned before, the Xtreme 200S gets LED headlight and along with the XPulse twins, it’s the first Hero offering to get the same. While the Xtreme 200R has a part-digital instrument console, the new offering gets an all-digital unit. It’s also among the most comprehensive digital instrument clusters in its segment. Apart from regular details such as speedometer, tripmeter, odometer, tachometer and fuel gauge, it gets Bluetooth connectivity and navigation assist. The navigation system is synced to your phone and works via a dedicated app. Other details include service due, gear position, eco-mode and side-stand indicator. Despite the amount of information on display, the layout is nice and doesn’t feel cluttered. Also, the Xtreme 200S has been equipped with a single-channel ABS, to keep costs in check.
As mentioned before, the Xtreme 200S is basically a faired version of the Xtreme 200R and powering both the bikes is the same motor. The 199.6cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine delivers 18.4PS and 17.1Nm of torque. Performance isn’t as brisk as other 200cc motorcycles on sale and the Xtreme 200S is just slightly ahead of 150-160cc bikes. It offers decent low- and mid-range performance which should be good enough for commuting. Power delivery is linear, but once you cross the mid-range, the motor feels out of breath and the lack of power becomes clearly evident. We feel Hero should have offered the engine with fuel-injection for a bit more juice and to make the new offering stand apart from its sibling. The Xtreme 200S could be a decent touring proposition as well since it managed speeds of around 100kmph with only a minor buzz from the pegs and handlebar. The 5-speed gearbox did its job well, despite the absence of a slipper clutch.
I must admit that I was surprised by the Xtreme 200R’s handling dynamics and the new bike carries forward that positive aspect. The diamond type frame offers a good balance and except for its lack of grunt, the Xtreme 200S was fun around the BIC race track. It isn’t an out and out fast handling machine or as sharp as the TVS Apache RTR 200, but it feels more manageable and less edgy, unlike the TVS offering. The MRF tyres offered good grip with the rear wheel shod with a 130/70 radial tyre.
Stopping power is offered by a 276mm front disc brake and a 220mm disc at the rear. Out on the track, I was using the front brake mostly and it offered good bite and feel through the lever. While the inclusion of single-channel ABS for an aggressive price tag is kind of understandable, we would have still preferred a dual-channel unit. Most riders, who will be upgrading to the Xtreme 200S would generally be more accustomed to using the rear brake rather than the front.
The Hero Xtreme 200S is only available in a single variant unlike the Hero XPulse 200 which gets a carb and a fuel-injected variant. It retails for Rs 98,500 (ex-showroom, Delhi). The new Hero 200cc bike is available in three colour options - Sports Red, Mapple Brown and Panther Black.
Has Hero finally delivered the spiritual successor of the Karizma? The answer is no! This new Hero offering is more suited for commuter riders who want to upgrade to a sporty looking motorcycle without spending a lot of money. Another aspect in favour of the Xtreme 200S is its styling, which is likely to attract a lot of younger bikers. Also, one can’t just ignore the brilliant Rs 98,500 (ex-showroom, Delhi) pricing, thanks to which it undercuts all other 200cc bikes on sale by a significant margin.
As you can see, the Xtreme 200S offers great value, especially considering the fact that it gets features like Bluetooth connectivity and LED headlight. Yes, it does lack in terms of outright performance unlike its 200cc rivals, but it will manage to keep up with, if not outdo, most 150-160cc bikes. While the Hero Xtreme 200S does look promising, we wish it had come out at least a few years back as the Indian market is evolving at a rapid pace. All said and done, if you’re planning to buy a sporty looking, feature-rich and affordable bike under Rs 1 lakh, you should definitely consider the Xtreme 200S.