Hero Xpulse 200 Review
Bike Tested: Hero Xpulse 200 & 200T; Road Test No. 1093; Test Location: Bangalore, Karnataka
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,27,480/- (Hero Xpulse 200), Rs. 1,15,048/- (Hero Xpulse 200T)
With the launch of the Xpulse twins, Hero MotoCorp has finally made off-road fun a little more accessible to the masses
Hero MotoCorp introduced an off-road oriented light-weight motorcycle back in 2013. It was then a possibility that a motorcycle that can go anywhere came as a stock option from the company, but then Hero pulled the plug on the bike in early 2017. After a few glimpses of the Xpulse at some national and international motor shows, the company has finally launched the Xpulse 200 and the 200T. I got a chance to experience both the variants around Bangalore and I've come back quite impressed.
Motor Quest: Hero MotoCorp discontinued the Impulse in 2016 and the sales stopped in early 2017. However, they showcased a slightly bigger version of it, a concept, at the 2017 EICMA while the following year they showcased not one but two variants of the Xpulse at the 2018 Auto Expo. However, Hero finally launched the Xpulse 200 and 200T along with the Xtreme 200S in May 2019.
Styling - A quick look at the Xpulse 200T and one can notice that it's a modified Xtreme 200R which is partially true as they share almost all the hanging parts like tyres, alloys, rear suspension and the swingarm. However, what really makes the Xpulse 200T stand apart is a brand new LED headlight setup, which is a first for the company. Along with that, the tank is bigger and has a calmer design going along with a longer and different seat setup. The front suspension too is a different unit which makes it stand apart. The Xpulse also gets an LED tail light and had a different yet purposeful grabrail too. While the Xpulse 200T is available in four colours, the 200 is available in 5 colour options.
The colour scheme on the 200T is subtle while that on the 200 is quite agressive
The Xpulse 200 has all the elements from the 200T but adds some more which are off-road oriented and purposeful. Starting from the front, the 200 gets a high-raised mudguard, knuckle guards on the handlebar and a tiny windscreen. The front suspension is covered with gutters while the wheels are spoked with off-road rubber in a 21-18 setup. The 200 gets a metal bash plate while the same on the 200T is of hard plastic. To complete the look, the 200 also gets an upswept exhaust making it look very purposeful.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear - For the first time ever, Hero has got a fully digital instrument cluster in place. The unit is slightly small but has a lot of information on offer. Split into two sections, the left side of the console displays the tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer and a clock. We have also got a gear position indicator this time around. On the right side, the section is switchable which displays ECO mode, trip details for both the trips and also navigation information. The console connects to the phone via Bluetooth and an app as it shows all the information. The switchgear quality is decent and doesn't feel tacky.
Ergonomics - The seat height of the Xpulse 200T is 795 mm which is exactly similar to the Xtreme. However, the seat is different as it has a ribbed design and a part of it completes over the tank. The seat on the Xpulse 200, on the other hand, is 30 mm taller and has a simpler pattern for off-road duties. Both the Xpulse twins have a single-piece handlebar which is wider yet keeping the ergonomic triangle quite comfortable. The seating posture on the Xpulse 200 and 200T is very upright and comfortable, however, the 200 might feel a little taller while the off-road footpegs on the same are slightly higher too by almost 10 mm. Overall, the ergonomics are very comfortable and yet engaging.
Performance - Performance for the 200cc engine is quite familiar as it is the same unit we have seen on the Xtreme 200R. It produces 18.4 PS of power and 17.1 Nm of torque which isn't much on paper and the bike might feel sluggish for a 200cc motorcycle. However, the flat torque from 3000 RPM itself makes it very interesting and the Xpulse has a linear torque delivery throughout the rev-range. However, it would reach the ton in 4th gear and would max out in the 5th gear at 116 km/hr until you find a downslope and it would go up to 120 km/hr. Although cruising at 90 km/hr is a happy spot, the motor does not stress out even after revving its heart out. The Xpulse still gets a 5-speed unit which is slightly disappointing.
The exhaust note is bassy and decently loud on the Hero Xpulse 200
The clutch feels nice and does not hurt the palm even in off-road riding conditions. The gear shifts are quite crisp and the motor can handle clutchless up-shifts at times. The game-changing fact here is that the Xpulse 200 gets FI while the 200T comes only with a carb setup. The FI unit has a better throttle response comparatively and the top-speed opens up to 125 km/hr on a downslope after which the motor limits itself. The final drive on the Xpulse 200 has an extra tooth for better acceleration which helps it in off-road conditions. The powerplant does not feel harsh but vibrations do creep in post 7500 RPM. Overall, the motor has a friendly nature and with sane riding, I was able to get a mileage figure close to 42 km/l.
Riding Dynamics - With comfortable ergonomics and an upright riding posture the Xpulse is very enjoyable but the dynamics on the 200 and 200T are quite different. The 200T is a touring based version of the Xpulse as it comes with 17-inch road spec tyres and brakes which are similar to the Xtreme 200R. The MRF tyres do a decent job on-road but they do not grip just as well off-road. The feedback from the brakes is very nice and strong and the long travel suspension at the front comes in handy to get over speed breakers quickly. However, the 200T does nose dive quite a bit. Along with it, the 200T has the same rear suspension setup which makes it handle just as the Xtreme does. Also, finding a comfortable spot on the ribbed seat is also tricky as it is something we are not used to.
The 200T is suited for touring duties while the 200 is a solid off-roader
The Xpulse 200 has a better 10-step adjustable unit against the 7-step available on the 200T. Along with the rear, the front has a slightly longer suspension travel. The tyres on the 200 which come from CEAT are proper knobby tyres and these are mounted onto spoked wheels, a 21-inch at the front and an 18-inch at the rear. The complete setup is perfect for off-road riding conditions with a wider handlebar, the Xpulse 200 is light-weight madness around an off-road trail. The brakes are petal discs on the 200 which have a slightly softer bite, suitable for off-road again. But then the Xpulse 200 with its off-road bits also makes it up on-road as it is fun everywhere.
Verdict – The Hero Xpulse 200 is a proper comeback for the Impulse while the 200T is just a gimmick for an affordable version of the Xpulse. With the current market scenario, this is the only affordable off-road-capable motorcycle with the cheapest possible price tag as the Royal Enfield Himalayan. But at half the price, the Xpulse 200 does make a good impression for itself. It is capable, comfortable and has a can-go-anywhere attitude, however, it runs a little low on power but the flat torque band makes up for it. And if you are still on a budget and want to cut out a little on the 200, it is available in a carb version too which makes it almost Rs. 7000/- cheaper.
* Very affordable, the price tag makes it so much appealing
* Looks brilliant and attracts a decent amount of attention
* Riding dynamics are enjoyable, the handling is feedback rich
What’s Not So Cool
* Not as comfortable for pillion duties
* Engine does not have the necessary punch
* Build quality seems decent but isn't up to the mark
Hero Xpulse 200 Specifications
* Engine: 199.6cc, 2-Valves, Air-Cooled, SOHC with FI
* Engine: 199.6cc, 2-Valves, Air-Cooled, SOHC (200T)
* Power: 18.4 PS @ 8000 RPM
* Torque: 17.1 Nm @ 6500 RPM
* Transmission: 5-Speed
* Top Speed: 120 km/hr
* Top Speed: 116 km/hr (200T)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Fuel Consumption: 38-44 km/l
* Frame: Diamond Frame
* Suspension: 37 mm Telescopic Forks (Front), 10-step Adjustable Mono Shock (Rear)
* Suspension: 37 mm Telescopic Forks (Front), 7-step Adjustable Mono Shock (Rear) (200T)
* Tyres: 90/90/21 (Front), 120/80/18 (Rear), CEAT
* Tyres: 100/80/17 (Front), 130/70/17 (Rear), MRF (200T)
* Brakes: 276 mm Petal Disc (Front), 220 mm Petal Disc (Rear), Single-Channel ABS
* Brakes: 276 mm Disc (Front), 220 mm Disc (Rear), Single-Channel ABS (200T)
Hero Xpulse 200 Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 2222 mm x 850 mm x 1258 mm
* Length x Width x Height: 2118 mm x 806 mm x 1089 mm (200T)
* Wheelbase: 1410 mm
* Wheelbase: 1393 mm (200T)
* Seat Height: 825 mm
* Seat Height: 795 mm (200T)
* Ground Clearance: 220 mm
* Ground Clearance: 178 mm (200T)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 13-litres
* Kerb weight: 154 kgs
* Kerb weight: 150 kgs (200T)
Hero Xpulse 200
Hero Xpulse 200 Review
The Hero Xpulse twins are a proper comeback to the legendary Impulse. However, they share a lot of parts among the 200cc line-up by Hero. The motor isn’t as powerful but the torque band is consistent throughout while the suspension setup and the tyres on the 200 are very purposeful and make it a gem off-road. The 200T, on-the-other-hand, is a mellow version making it a perfect tourer motorcycle. This is the first time ever, Hero MotoCorp has introduced LED headlights and a fully digital instrument cluster on their bikes.