Shootout: 2015 Hero Xtreme Sports vs Suzuki Gixxer
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 83,000/- (Hero Xtreme Sports Standard), Rs. 86,500/- (Hero Xtreme Sports Rear Disc), Rs. 85,400/- (Suzuki Gixxer)
The Xtreme Sports has more power on paper but the Suzuki Gixxer is faster on the road
The most dominated segment of motorcycles in the Indian market is the 150cc category. The bikes in this category provide great running efficiency with decent power. With the pricing being under Rs. 1 lakh, there are some very recent launches in the Indian market and the action in this space is truly something. Both the Suzuki Gixxer and Hero Xtreme Sports are the newest to compete with each other neck to neck. One being a commuter and another a street-fighter and yet both have their unique perks, let’s find out who wins this rather interesting shootout.
Motor Quest: The Suzuki Gixxer and Hero Xtreme Sports were both launched in 2014. The Gixxer is the first street-fighter in India from Suzuki, while Hero MotoCorp has its realm of Xtreme since 2006 (earlier known as CBZ since 1999).
Styling – Both the bikes are very different yet both have unique visuals. The Suzuki Gixxer is the eye candy with the muscular tank, full naked body and a proper street-fighter design. Here the Hero Xtreme Sports loses out a bit as it feels a bit dated with its commuter oriented styling, still it manages some decent attention with its new and small headlamp, full LED tail-lamp, good huge body panels which flow to the rear and a small edgy fairing on the tank. The Hero Xterme Sports gets an engine cowl and a split seat where as there is nothing as such on the Suzuki Gixxer. The Hero Xtreme Sports gets some body graphics where as the Suzuki Gixxer has a single tone colour. The twin exhaust of the Suzuki Gixxer steal attention and so do the dramatic six-spoke alloys.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – Both the motorcycles have a digital console but the one in the Hero Xtreme Sports is a semi-digital one having an analog tachometer and fuel indicator, while the Suzuki Gixxer has a full digital console. The Xtreme Sports has a side stand indicator which isn’t present in the Suzuki Gixxer, while the Gixxer has a RPM light which is actually a gear shift indicator. The details on both the meters are visible very clearly, but even after being huge, the Hero’s meter lacks visibility during bright daylight; here the Suzuki’s console is small and all the details are fitted in a rectangular LCD, even after being a mesh it still manages to make the details visible. The Hero still doesn’t get an kill switch yet the quality is maintained. The Gixxer gets an kill switch and the quality of the switchgear is a bit better. The location of the key hole is a bit different on the Xtreme Sports as it is placed on the right side of the headlamp under the handle bar, a weird position indeed. The Suzuki also gets Eco and Power mode indicator.
Ergonomics – The Suzuki has the best ergos as it is totally an all-rounder. Both the bikes have a good stance and the seating is quite upright. The Gixxer has the best tank which has the proper scoops that fits the rider’s knees very nicely. Here the Hero Xtreme Sports feels like a slide from a playground, the seat height is a bit too much and the seat flows just over the tank. The cushioning is decent on both the bikes but the seat on the Xtreme Sports is way too wide, this becomes an issue for short riders as there is good thigh support but it pains and is very uncomfortable. The seat for the pillion is huge on the Xtreme, yet the Gixxer manages the comfort very well. Handlebars are upright on both the bikes, while the Suzuki Gixxer gets a single-piece handlebar, the Hero Xtreme Sports gets clip-ons though.
Performance – The Gixxer produces 14.6 BHP and 14 Nm while the Xtreme Sports belts out 15.2 BHP and 13.5 Nm. Considering the on-paper performance, it is clear that the Hero Xtreme Sports is a bit more powerful than the Suzuki Gixxer, but out on the road, it is a total different scenario. The Xtreme Sports is quick off the line and is ahead of the Suzuki Gixxer for the first 100 meters. The Gixxer then catches up and beats the Xtreme Sports by a small margin. The extra 12 kgs make the Hero Xtreme slow, yet the thin tyres help it get going quickly.
The Suzuki motor is just more involving to ride although the Honda sourced motor is smooth
The maximum torque and power comes at an early 6000-8000 RPM for the Suzuki Gixxer and so it catches up quickly even with its ultra wider tyres. The Suzuki Gixxer feels more frugal as it accelerates quicker with the torque figures being more and the same also comes in around 1000 RPM earlier than the Xtreme Sports. The Hero bike has very long gears and as the power comes late towards the redline, the bike is more efficient than the Suzuki, the thinner tyres helping the mileage as well. The 149cc Honda sourced motor has a higher redline but it does have some vibes, although not much, they are more than the 155cc mill.
Riding Dynamics – The Hero Xtreme Sports is a total commuter and so the cruising experience is great from this bike and considering in-traffic riding, the bike is upto the mark. The Suzuki Gixxer being the street-fighter makes it easy to ride but it loses out because of its wide handle bars in the city. Manoeuvring through traffic is fun on both the bikes but the Xtreme feels easier thanks to its thinner tyres. The braking is the best with the Suzuki Gixxer as the feedback is very good, the rear brakes still lack a bit of response. Braking on the Xtreme Sports is a very tedious task, the feedback is low and the wheel locks up at a sudden moment, the optional CBS with rear disc brake solves this issue, as the drum brakes don’t make the bike stop when needed.
Out on the highway, both the bikes ride like a gem, the extra weight of the Xtreme Sports while the wider tyres of the Gixxer, helping them a lot. Clocking an early three digit figure on the console isn’t fearing at all. The Suzuki Gixxer excels while taking sweepers, the huge front suspension with a rear monoshock and wide tyres, the bike craves for corners and is stable throughout. The Hero Xtreme Sports doesn’t feel much planted, as the front suspension is soft and has a huge travel, the twin rear shocks are a bit dated and soft, also the 18-inch alloys feel just too huge. However these do help a lot in comfort while riding in straights.
Verdict – Both the bikes, the Suzuki Gixxer and the Hero Xtreme Sports have entered the Indian market recently, yet both the bikes boast of good features for the price they are offered at. Aggressive styling and great hardware on-board the Suzuki Gixxer feels new while the Hero Xtreme Sports is refreshed while it still feels a bit dated with the hardware it offers. The Xtreme Sports will attract customers as Hero has great customer base and offers good after sales service, but considering overall features of the bike and with the aspects of an enthusiast i mind, the Suzuki Gixxer excels in almost all the strata. The Suzuki Gixxer wins the shootout with a good margin and proves itself as a great competitor in the most dominated 150cc segment.
The Hero Xtreme Sports isn’t a good enough effort to win market share in the 150cc segment which has seen a slew of modern bikes being launched recently. The Suzuki Gixxer not only wins this shootout, it does it with reasonable ease.