Hero Xtreme 160R Test Ride Review
We do a detailed road test of the 2020 Hero Xtreme 160R.
Bike tested: Hero Xtreme 160R; Road Test No. 1197; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,25,785/-
The Xtreme 160R is Hero’s newest entrant in the sporty commuter segment
The Hero Xtreme 160R is an all-new motorcycle offering by the Indian giant. While the ‘Xtreme’ tag has been around without a break for about 7 years now, this is the second time it gets a major overhaul. The 2020 Xtreme hosts a unique design which it gets from Hero’s 1R concept, which appeared publicly in Milan in 2019 and not a lot has changed from the concept, obviously except for the bits that are not road legal. The BS6 Xtreme looks sporty and fresh, and arguably better than anything in the segment. Other than the styling, it also gets a new engine, a new fully digital dash, LED indicators (first time in a Hero motorcycle) and is even the lightest motorcycle in the segment too. So, is it just a looker, or a performer? Or both, maybe? Let’s find out.
MotorQuest: After the split, the Hero Xtreme was first launched in 2013 as a successor of the Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme. In 2019, Hero MotoCorp launched a sportier version in the form of the Xtreme 200R, which made more power than the older versions and had a bigger engine too. Hero started off as a 150cc motorcycle offering for the Xtreme and it’s coming back to its roots with a 160cc engine spec.
Styling: First things first, looks are very subjective and one might not like the way the Hero Xtreme looks, but on the contrary, we really like it. Why? Because it looks damn fresh in the segment. As you move from the front to the back, you’ll notice multiple new bits. The headlamp looks aggressive and is a fully LED unit which seems to be taken straight from the 1R concept. Further, you’ll notice that the body panels are all new too, while some lines will remind you of the Xtreme 200R. Towards the end, the motorcycle gets a scooped seat, smoked LED tail light, a new shorter black exhaust and even LED indicators for an extra oomph factor. This is the first Hero motorcycle to receive such an extensive LED setup.
Chunky body panels and a muscular design does make the Xtreme 160R look like a fresh motorcycle
Coming to other elements, while the mirrors look good, the build quality and finish could be better. The Xtreme comes in 3 colour options- red, white, and blue, and all look good in their own way, but we feel some Xtreme graphics on the panels like the previous models would’ve enhanced the overall look. The hanging parts have quite some resemblance to the Xtreme 200R like the 10-spoke alloys have a similar design. Finally, the Xtreme definitely looks the part and has a sporty and premium feel to it. Big thumbs up to Hero for the styling.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear: Previously, the best-looking speedometer by Hero was the one on the Xpulse, but Hero has outdone itself with the new Xtreme 160R. The Xtreme gets an all-new fully digital negative LCD instrument cluster, which is a first for any Hero motorcycle and looks beautiful. But sadly, there’s not a plethora of information on offer even though it’s a new unit. Other than basic information like odometer, tachometer, trip modes etc, it only gets a side stand indicator and a welcome message. There are two buttons on the speedo and these help you switch between odometer and 2 trip meters only.
Instrument cluster and switchgear join the all-new bandwagon but the Bluetooth connectivity feature is missed
The switchgear is new too and looks the part with the overall design. One feature we really liked in the switchgear is the hazard light switch, which is a segment-first feature and a pleasant safety feature usually seen on high-end bikes. But the buttons have a very plasticy finish and getting used to the switchgear will take time. It seems like an attempt at cost-cutting by Hero while still trying to make things new. Overall, the instrument cluster and switchgear are good, but it’s definitely not the best in the segment.
Ergonomics: The Xtreme 160R is a sporty commuter but the ergonomics are just like a normal commuter. The riding triangle is comfortable with an upright riding posture and one can easily commute on the Xtreme. Further, the footpegs aren’t really centre-set but a little front set and the handlebar is straight which keep things upright, ensuring a comfortable ride. The seat height is 790 mm, which makes it ideal for shorter riders too. The seat is just like the Xtreme 200R, this one also gets a single-piece setup but it is raised for the pillion.
The Xtreme 160R is a compact motorcycle with comfortable commuter ergonomics
There is decent space and cushioning for the rider while there is enough space for a thin pillion. Finally, the overall cushioning is decent for commuting distance but not for long stretches of riding. A nice little touch by Hero is the body integrated pillion grab rails, which serve their purpose well. The mirrors, however, aren’t the best as they’re not wide enough and the rider’s elbows block the view. In addition, while the LEDs are an excellent touch, the illumination could’ve been better for the headlight.
Performance: The Hero Xtreme 160R gets a brand new 163cc motor with 2-valves that makes 15 BHP at 8500 RPM and 14 Nm of torque at 6500 RPM. These are not segment-leading numbers, but they’re absolutely at par with the competition. So how does the new engine perform? It’s mediocre. While the Xtreme feels linear throughout and has a decent low-end punch, the mid-range is wide but the top-end feels bland. It’s a perfect city-bike, though. The low-end feedback is strong but not sharp. Hero also claims that the motorcycle has the fastest 0-60 km/hr time in the segment at 4.7 seconds. With a 90 kg rider, we could achieve 60 km/hr on the VBOX at 5.72 seconds. This means you’ll definitely be the first one to leave the traffic light. On the contrary, the 0 to 100 km/hr time is very mediocre- 21.54 seconds (VBOX tested).
At the heart of the matter, the Hero Xtreme 160R fulfils commuting duties without breaking a sweat
The 5-speed transmission of the Xtreme 160R isn’t as slick, it is quite hard. The clutch is, however, light and helps shifts properly. There were no miss-shifts or false neutrals during the ride. There’s barely any exhaust note, but on the flip-side, there are barely any vibrations too. The motor feels refined and buttery smooth, thanks to the programmed FI powered. The redline starts at 9000 RPM and right before hitting it, vibrations start creeping in too from the tank and footpegs. While the answer to the age-old yet very valid question- Kitna Deti Hai? We managed about 36 km/l on test day and we expect it to return around 40 km/l during sane riding. This makes the total range of the Xtreme about 450 kms, considering it gets a 12-litre fuel tank.
Riding Dynamics: The Xtreme 160R is the lightest motorcycle in its segment, and it weighs just 139.5 kgs (rear disc variant). Hero further claims that the Xtreme’s alloys are also the lightest in the segment which reduces the unsprung mass of the bike, resulting in an agile handling motorbike. The Xtreme gets a Tubular Diamond frame, similar to its elder siblings. The wheelbase is shorter by 10 mm than the Xtreme 200R while the weight is front biased hence the feedback from the handlebar is superb. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can go around doing knee downs on it, but it means that the Xtreme is very easily flickable and will tip into corners quickly yet hold the line well. You could easily take a U-turn in a 2-lane road as well.
Feedback rich handling and comfortable ergonomics justify the sporty commuter nature
The Xtreme gets 37 mm telescopic forks at the front and a 7-step adjustable mono-shock at the rear. The setup seems well-tuned for Indian roads and will take bumps really well but there are times when the rear has a bounce-back effect. However, it can be adjusted as per the rider’s requirement. The ground clearance is also decent at 167 mm. There are two variants for the Xtreme 160R, one with a 220 mm rear disc while the other gets a 130 mm drum brake setup. While both are petal discs, you get a 276 mm disc at the front. Single-channel ABS is standard but the feedback isn’t really confidence-inspiring. There is a wooden feel all throughout even if you brake harder. Overall, the Hero Xtreme 160R excels in the riding dynamics department, thanks to its weight and front biased nature.
Verdict: Has Hero hit the ball out of the park with the Xtreme 160R? Is this the end of the TVS Apache 160’s reign? I’m afraid, no. This Hero is neither the most-feature packed motorcycle nor the fastest in the segment. So why should you buy it? Because it’s a very promising bike and offers great value for the price. With features like side-stand engine cut-off, hazard lights, negative LCD display, sporty riding dynamics, etc. the Xtreme 160R is specifically for guys who are looking for a commuter with a sporty and modern design. But if you’re looking for outright performance in the package you should probably save a little bit more and look at other Indian offerings in the segment. We think with a little more juice from the engine and little better build quality, this Xtreme would smoke its competition easily.
* One of the freshest sub-200cc naked motorcycles
* Agile riding dynamics with comfortable ergonomics
* The new motor is very refined and has brilliant efficiency as well
What’s Not So Cool
* Engine lacks top-end punch
* Braking feedback is wooden all throughout
* A brand new instrument cluster lacks information on offer
Alternatives – TVS Apache 160 4V, Suzuki Gixxer, Bajaj Pulsar NS 160, Honda X-Blade
* Engine: 163cc, Air-Cooled, Single-Cylinder, FI
* Power: 15 BHP @ 8500 RPM
* Torque: 14 Nm @ 6500 RPM
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Fuel Consumption: 38-42 km/l
* Frame: Tubular Diamond Chassis
* Gearbox: 5-Speed
* Tyres: 100/80/17 (Front), 130/70/17 (Rear)
* Suspension: 37 mm Telescopic Forks (Front), Monoshock (Rear)
* Brakes: 276 mm Disc (Front), 220 mm Disc / 130 mm Drum(Rear)
* Length x Width x Height: 2029 mm x 793 mm x 1052 mm
* Wheelbase: 1327 mm
* Seat Height: 790 mm
* Ground Clearance: 167 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 12-litres
* Kerb weight: 138.5 kgs (Drum) 139.5 kgs (Disc)