It was a couple of years ago when Hero first showed us what the Xpulse is going to be at EICMA 2017. Last year at the Delhi Auto Expo 2018 they showed us a production version of the Hero XPulse and last year as well, at EICMA 2018 they showed us what the Hero XPulse 200T is going to be like. So without any doubt, it’s been a long time coming. Finally, both of these motorcycles are ready to hit the Indian market and we see whether the hype has been worth it.
Let’s start off with the one that’s had a lot of people talking about it – the Xpulse 200. First thing first, right from the moment you see this motorcycle in flesh, it looks the part. It still has some resemblance to the Impulse but it is a completely new motorcycle. The first thing that will catch your attention is the stance of the motorcycle which is of a proper dual-purpose motorcycle. This is due to the combination of the 21-inch front wheel and an 18-inch wheel at the back which are shod with dual purpose tyres. It also gets large suspension travel – 190mm at the front and 170mm travel at the back. Then, there’s also the impressive 220mm ground clearance and a seat height of 823mm as well, and lastly, the narrow seat and the high-set handlebar position complete the XPulse 200.
The destination for the day was Big Rock Dirt Park which I have to say is one of the finest off-roading venues in the country but that was about a hundred kilometres away so we first got to experience the XPulse 200 on the road and that brings us to the engine. It is powered by the exact same engine that we first saw on the Xtreme 200R and it is in the exact same state of tune as well. However, for the Xpulse 200 only, you also get an option of having this with Fuel-injection on board.
The engine’s sweet spot lies at about 80-90 km/h which makes it great for city riding but when you’re out on the highway, overtakes will require some work and we wish that wasn’t the case as it offers great riding dynamics. And because of this, the engine feels a tad bit underpowered. The ride and handling left nothing to be complained about. What does is the seat which is way too hard for long journeys and will need to be replaced if you plan on sitting on it for more than a couple of hours.
Now, it was time to hit the dirt.
When it comes to going off-road, boy does it leave you in smiles. We went riding on trails, through carefully laid out obstacles and even a dirt track that just eggs you on to go faster, and in all these scenarios, the XPulse 200 did not let itself down.
If anything, it was a fun motorcycle to throw around and it allows you to learn so much as it is not intimidating at all and has just enough power to let off-road amateurs like me, not leave wanting for more. Also, the 10-stage preload adjustable rear suspension, the upswept exhaust, handlebar guards, the aluminium bash plate and the wind deflector up front is a welcome addition.
Now coming to the XPulse 200T. Now the ‘T’ in its name signifies that it is meant to be for touring.
Well, if you go touring, then you will appreciate the new instrument cluster that both the XPulse 200T and the Xpulse 200 gets. It shows almost everything you would need to know, the LCD panel has good visibility even under harsh daylight and interestingly, it can also connect to Hero’s app in your smartphone through Bluetooth to show turn by turn navigation and that’s a fantastic feature and very helpful when you’re out on the road. It also shares the same engine but in this case, there is no option for a fuel injected unit.
But, when it comes to what’s different in the ‘T’ version of the XPulse, well, the biggest changes are the different tyres and the different suspension.
In the ‘T’, the tyres are the exact same ones as the ones we have seen on the Xtreme 200R which means it gets 17-inch wheels front and back, the swing arm is also the same and so are the disc brakes front and back. Also, the suspension travel on the ‘T’ is also lesser than the Xpulse 200.
Now, these changes result in the fact that the 200T is a better handling machine on the road than the Xpulse 200. But then again, it is limited to just on-road, as it doesn’t get the fancy bits necessary to make it a capable off-roader. And you really have to be sure as to what kind of use do you want with the 200T because well, it lies somewhere that’s a bit of an odd spot, really. You may say that you want to go corner hunting and prefer spirited riding in the city, but then you are better off with the Xtreme 200R or even the Xtreme 200S that hero has launched which is frankly, a great sporty commuter and more capable on roads. If you want to go off-roading, then the XPulse 200 is without a doubt a better motorcycle and costs just Rs 3,000 more. And if its city commutes, then the Xpulse 200T is almost identical to the Xtreme 200R. So we have to say, that if you want an Xpulse, do consider spending marginally more and going for the XPulse 200.
At the end of the day, the Xpulse 200T is a very impressive motorcycle but my heart tends to lean towards the Xpulse200 because this one offers everything that the 200T one does and a little bit more.
So to sum up the entire experience, the XPulse 200 is the one to go for not amongst the two motorcycles but even in general if you want to try your hand at trail riding and off-roading. Add to that decent touring ability and a fantastic price tag to go along with it, and the Xpulse 200 makes for a highly recommendable motorcycle.
Gear Courtesy: Rynox Gears