Hero MotoCorp invited us for a first ride experience of the much-awaited motorcycle, the XPulse 200 along with its touring sibling. But they said they had a surprise that we would test ride on the Budh International Circuit. It had been speculated for long that it would be the fully-faired version of the Xtreme 200R, which we also test rode on the same race track a few months back, but then we didn't speculate how different it would be. Turns out, it's pretty much got a different personality. During the launch, Hero asserted that they had now completed the horizontal expansion of the 'X' range – XPulse 200 for off-road, XPulse 200T for touring, Xtreme 200R for the city, and Xtreme 200S for the sports-oriented segment.
Well, it is only one thing to say that the Hero Xtreme 200S gets full fairing so obviously, it looks quite different. But it needs to be said that Hero has done a good job with adding fairing to a street bike and the end result is a good-looking one. The most eye-catchy design feature is the headlamp cluster with a sleek design. It is by far the sportiest looking motorcycle in Hero's lineup and the first look definitely tends to impress.
The riding stance remains pretty much the same as the Xtreme 200R but the fairing sure has helped with wind deflection. Considering we rode it on a race track, the Xtreme 200S supported a sports-oriented riding position and leaning into corners is something it encourages.
The engine on the Xtreme 200S is the same 199.6cc air-cooled single-cylinder that also powers the rest of the X range. The power delivery is smooth and lenient, and flat out it'll do about 122 km/h. It gets the same five-speed gearbox which shifts well. The engine is at its most comfortable in the mid-range RPMs but substantial vibrations creep in at higher revs. Considering the same engine does a good job in the XPulse twins, the Xtreme 200S should also serve its riders well in the traffic.
Hero Xtreme 200S comes with a fully-digital instrument cluster which remains easily visible in broad daylight as well. It gets a fuel gauge, gear position indicator, average speed and service reminder besides the usual details. Like all other Hero X motorcycles, the Xtreme 200S comes with disc brakes on both ends which deliver an impressive bite along with a single-channel ABS that promises effective and non-intrusive performance. A double-channel ABS would have been better but the present setup performs well, leaving not many reasons to complain.
The Xtreme 200S gets a 100 section MRF tyre up front and a 130 at the rear. To say the least, if we were happy with the grip on a race track, it should be A-OK on the road as well where one wouldn't lean as much. Speaking of leaning into corners, the Xtreme 200S only does it well.
With telescopic forks up front and a monoshock at the rear, the suspension set up is on the stiffer side. This does promise better performance for spirited riding but could be a bother over the potholes of real life. We'll find that out when we ride the Xtreme 200S in the urban jungle.
Hero Xtreme 200S offers a stylish look and with ride dynamics like the Xtreme 200R, it also delivers on comfort - easily rendering it a great option for daily commutes. During our ride around the Budh International Circuit, the Xtreme 200S quite lived up to the 'S' in its name.
On corners, under hard braking, and during quick direction changes, the motorcycle remained planted to the tarmac and composed. It will make for a great first motorcycle for young riders – especially with its sports bike look and a price tag that won't hurt much. The most affordable 200cc sports-oriented motorcycle in India is a well-packaged machine and it along with the XPulse 200 should prove to be a breakthrough for Hero MotoCorp.