Hero Xtreme Review
Bike Tested: 2014 Hero Xtreme (Rear Disc)
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 81,750/-
The 2014 Hero Xtreme might not be the best in the 150cc segment but offers a lot of value
Back in end of the 20th century, Hero Honda brought a superb 150cc commuter-performance motorcycle badged as the CBZ in the Indian market, it was powered by a 156.8cc 4-stroke single-cylinder engine which was quite enormous and powerful at that time. Later in 2006, the CBZ was relaunched with a new name and engine, it was then called the CBZ Xtreme. The reason for the re-launch was the Pulsar 150 which gave the Japanese bike intense competition. Over the years, competition in the 150cc segment has only intensified, resulting in Hero feeling the heat in this segment. To bring back the Xtreme into contention, the company gave the bike a minor update earlier this year. Throughout its evolution, the bike hasn’t changed much and the company’s focus has been on efficiency. In its early days, the CBZ was known for its acceleration but how different are things today?
Motor Quest: Hero Honda launched the CBZ in 1999 which became an instant hit as it was the only 150cc motorcycle in the market then. Hero launched the CBZ Star in 2004 and discontinued the bike in 2005, relaunching it as the CBZ Xtreme in 2006. Last year the CBZ name was dropped and the motorcycle came to be known as ‘Xtreme’ only, while just recently Hero updated the bike to boost its appeal.
Styling – The updates to the Hero Xtreme are mostly on the styling front. The refreshed headlamp (with a tinted visor on top) features a ‘HighBrow’ lamp working as parking lamps, these look great when lit up but when turned off, they look kind of funny and not very attractive. The illumination of the headlamp isn’t incident on the road but it has a wide spread and covers a good area. The indicators on this bike are now separate from the headlamp and the tail lamp, they come out in a classical pointy manner giving the bike a decent appearance. The tank and the body panels flow smoothly but the motorcycle feels very thin, compact yet very long.
The rear portion is the best part of the Hero Xtreme, the new LED tail lamp is just gorgeous and steals the show. The panels are very well sorted but are quite delicate as the test bike we got, had a cracked panel; making us feel that the panels cannot handle rough use. The exhaust gets a whole new black and chrome cover which goes all the way from the front foot pegs till the end giving it acceptable visuals. The 10-spoke alloy wheels are the same as the previous version but these gel-in very well with the new styling. Hero MotoCorp refreshed the bike in a way that the updates are noticeable but aren’t much attractive. The Hero Xtreme’s styling goes with its slogan “live off the edge” as the bike’s body has all the panels in an edgy and pointy manner.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – Another noticeable update to the 2014 Hero Xtreme is the instrument cluster which goes from all analog to semi-digital; semi-digital just because it still has an analog tachometer while the rest, including fuel indicator, speedometer, odometer and two trip meters come in the new blue backlight LCD. The numbers are readable in good daylight as well. The instrument cluster has a new addition of side stand indicator and key immobiliser indicator, this works together with the engine immobiliser, the Hero Xtreme being the only bike to have one in its segment. There’s also a service reminder which lights up when service is due.
The switchgear is good but the bike doesn’t have an engine kill switch which is found missing in almost all Honda and Hero bikes. The side stand indicator with the engine immobiliser, immobilises or shuts the engine when in a gear and the side stand is put down, this adds up to safety and is an alternative to kill the engine without turning off the bike using the key. The rest of the switches like the headlamp switch, upper-dipper, pass button, etc. are all decent enough but the side indicators response to the switch is slow and delayed which isn’t good. The bike has a single horn and it feels kind of unsafe as it is not much audible on the highways. The Xtreme also provides an under-seat charging port, which is a 12V socket and can be used to charge your portable device.
Ergonomics – The Hero Xtreme is a commuter at its soul and hence has a great seating position. A full upright position with clip-on handle bars which have a 120 degree arm angle is very much comfortable. The seat is wide, long and comes from almost half above the tank and goes till the end giving it an off-roader seat like look. The seat height isn’t very high but it’s uncomfortable for short riders at it is wide and the thighs suffer some pain while on standstill position. While riding, the seat acts very differently and give a great amount of thigh support. The seat isn’t a split-seat but the pillion area goes gradually high but is soft and comfortable. The rider foot pegs don’t give in much of the vibrations but the pillion foot pegs are just like a massage vibrator, too much vibration can be felt from the rear foot pegs when you rev hard.
Performance – The Hero Xtreme has its heart from its siblings from Honda and the same motor also powers its in-house brother, the Hero Hunk. The same 149cc engine powers all Hero and Honda 150cc bikes but the performance varies based upon the weight they carry. Our VBOX numbers reveal the top speed hasn’t increased as it does 114 km/hr while the previous bike was in the same range. The Xtreme accelerates decently quick considering the weight it carries, 0 to 60 km/hr is achieved in 5.08 seconds while 0-100 km/hr takes 19.39 seconds which is fast enough for a 150cc bike. First gear maxes out at 33 km/hr, second at 62 km/hr, third at 82 km/hr, fourth at 100 km/hr and fifth takes it all the way to 114 km/hr. The Xtreme starts feeling sluggish post 80 km/hr and there is quite a lot of wind resistance post that speed.
Being a total commuter, the Hero Xtreme needs frequent gear changes in stop-and-go traffic
Considering the NVH levels, the ATFT intake system of the bike makes a throaty yet loud noise at higher revs, the Hero Xtreme is however silent in the low rev range. There’s no chain cover for the bike, as a result the bike does have some noise coming from the sprocket and the chain. The 149cc 2-valve single-cylinder unit is smooth under the 6000 RPM mark, the vibrations only kick-in post 6000 RPM and can be felt on the foot pegs easily. The gearbox works well at low RPM but becomes notchy when the bike is ridden hard. 100 km/hr in fifth gear results in 7500 RPM on the tachometer while redline comes in at an early 9000 RPM. 42 km/l in the city and 46.5 km/l on the highway are the numbers we got while testing this brand new bike. Overall, the Xtreme performs the same as before but the larger rear tyre and economy focused engine don’t pack as much a punch as was expected.
Riding Dynamics – The Diamond type chassis of the Hero Xtreme has been the same as its predecessor. The rear suspension is a twin set of GRS shocks as the chassis isn’t capable of handling a monoshock which is provided in almost all other bikes in this segment. Suspension at the front is light and has good travel and works great for city commute, on the highways the bike is superb and bumps are absorbed to a good extent. The steering is light but turning the motorcycle quickly isn’t game, the Xtreme throws up if immediate lane changes happen, though the heavy weight helps keep it stable.
Being the heaviest in the segment, the Hero Xtreme offers good stability at all times. Going for knee-down cornering is easy on this bike at low speeds but the foot pegs call off the limit very soon. As soon as the foot pegs scrape the ground, the cornering limit is also reached. On our test bike, there was no chicken strip left on the front tyre but on the rear fatter tyre, there was a tad bit chicken strip left. The bike now has a larger rear tyre which is just a tad bit wider giving it more corner coverage. Braking performance is good and one can opt for a rear disc brake too.
Verdict – The recent update has meant that the Hero Xtreme just gets some changes in design along with some added features like the side stand indicator with an engine immobiliser and an under-seat charger. The Highbrow headlamp is a noticeable update which is subjective to anyone’s liking. The rear styling update is the best of all the updates which has given an uplift to the design of this bike. The rear fatter tyre doesn’t make much of a difference though. The bike doesn’t provide a mono-shock which is being offered by almost all the bikes in the 150cc segment. Thinking practically, this bike is to be selected from a huge competitive segment and the option for opting for an Xtreme comes quite later on the list. Still if you want a 150cc bike which is thoroughly reliable, easy to upkeep, excels in the city and offers splendid bang for your buck, the Hero Xtreme is worth a consider.
Hero MotoCorp just gave a quick update to the styling and features of the Xtreme to stay in the competition but an update to the chassis and some tweaks in performance can really make a huge difference for the company to compete in the 150cc segment.
* Value for money
* Ride quality
What’s Not So Cool
* Lack of monoshock
* Front styling
Hero Xtreme Specifications
* Engine: 149cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder, OHC
* Power: 14.2 HP @ 8500 RPM
* Torque: 12.8 Nm @ 6500 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed
* 0 – 100 km/hr: 19.39 seconds
* Top Speed: 114 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 40-45 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Diamond Frame
* Suspension: Telescopic Forks (Front), 5-Step Adjustable Gas Reserve Suspension (Rear)
* Tyres: 80/100/18 (Front), 110/90/18 (Rear)
* Brakes: 240 mm Disc (Front), 130 mm Drum (Rear), 220 mm Disc (Optional Rear)
Hero Xtreme Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 2060 mm x 765 mm x 1145 mm
* Wheelbase: 1325 mm
* Ground Clearance: 145 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 12.1-litres (1.5-liters reserve)
* Kerb weight: 146 kgs