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Retro-Modern Hero Xpulse 200T

Retro-Modern Hero Xpulse 200T

The recent few weeks have been truly wonderful for us, the motorcycling team, at Motor. We enjoyed the opportunity to ride two extremely interesting motorized two wheelers, one which is reviewed here and the other also reviewed within the pages of this magazine issue. A great period it was and enjoyed by all, especially me for I have the truly wonderful job of actually doing the riding part of the team effort.  My heartfelt thanks to our team.

So what do we have here?  This is Hero’s breakaway model, breakaway because this is the first adventure type of motorcycle that comes from the home-bred Indian motorcycle industry. The Hero Xpulse 200R which is a blend of on and off-road for the rider who, impulsively, decides to head off the black top and into the dirt, and the sister the Hero Xpulse 200T  which is the road-only member of Family Hero, and the focus of today’s ride. Hero MotoCorp and Sri Lanka Distributor Abans Auto so kindly sent us an example each of both sisters; the T (Tourer) and R to probably tempt us with the On-Off Roader.  As we had planned on the road version for this issue of the Motor mag we had to be satisfied with taking a close look at, but not ride test, the road/trail version. For the record the Hero Xpulse 200R, the on-off roader, came out Winner of the Indian Motorcycle of the Year 2020 for its adventure concept and powerful ride experience. Naturally this on-off roader sister is equipped with long travel suspension (front and rear), high-mounted mudguards, bash guard for the under-belly, dual purpose tyres, and the like.

To have twin sisters on what is basically a single platform mechanically must make it more economical for Hero in terms of end-pricing, what with inventory savings and more. Also, a great positive from the marketing standpoint, the appeal of one of the sister bikes drawing a larger buyer potential to the showroom, of which Abans has 650 touch points around the country.  The targeted rider demographic is the young man from 25 to 40 years who is passionate about motorcycle riding. Hero and Abans have lined up for the Sri Lankan market a range of two wheelers, namely the Pleasure, Destini, Maestro Edge, HF Deluxe, Passion Pro, Glamour, Hunk 150 and the Xpulse twins – 200R and 200T.

What was our personal experience of Hero’s Xpulse 200T, the road going version?  I found the Xpulse 200T so exciting a road bike that I just did not want to get off it.  In fact soon into our ride and photoshoot session I asked the Hero team that brought us the bike - Thushara Gunasekera, R. Madushanka and Kelum Saranga - whether we could return the bike to them at a later date instead. I asked it laughingly. In fact, only a part of me was joking. The immediate impression of the Xpulse 200T is like gazing upon the bikes from the latter part of the last century - retro styling. Is that the phrase? Yes, the Xpulse 200T presents itself as though it were a bike from say the 1960s, or 1970s, but this is indeed a bike for today what with its advanced features such as LED lighting, on-board electronics, Bluetooth connectivity, digital instrumentation, in-car quality icon-based GPS turn-by-turn navigation (first in class in Sri Lanka), ABS braking, under-seat USB type charger port and resting tray for your mobile phone while on the move, and the list goes on.

The Xpulse is also considered a Tourer, thus the T in its name, but more than touring I found the Xpulse such a joy to ride in the push and pull of daily motoring.  It is scalpel precise and a joy to manoeuvre through the pell-mell daily traffic conditions.  The 200cc single cylinder carburetted engine provides a wide torque band that covers almost every motoring occasion and more than sufficient to get itself, and you on board, out of tight situations.  No doubt the 130/70 rear tyre helps in such situations. I was taking so much liberty while riding the Xpulse 200T on our roads that the many times I had to play with the changing traffic situations the Xpulse responded with verve to whatever I asked of her. A delight to ride. Riding the Xpulse was not a calculated effort, it was a truly free and fun activity - even daredevil (in a rider-friendly way). Do I see the Xpulse soon becoming a hot favourite among our stunt riding brothers? And out on race circuits, too? Time will tell…

Full digital instrumentation is the way most bike makers are going. Rev counter and speedo, and the other indicators plus phone caller ID and Bluetooth connectivity. Just fit a couple of wheels on your smart phone; that’s a start. Then add in the motive power of Hero’s 200cc 4-stroke engine. Throw on some ABS to slow the wheeled phone down just in case you get carried away at the smoothness and acceleration capability of this smartphone…and your Hero Xpulse motorcycle is not only a transport machine it is also truly a ‘mobile’ communication device. In the instrument display is a triple-dot ECO riding indicator showing real-time throttle loads and this, together with the recirculating petrol-air mixture and catalytic converter, are designed to control exhaust emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

The ABS feature at the front is superb and fuss-free, gear changing is slick and I found the ‘box so clean that I could make a number of quick downshifts within a single clutch movement - very useful in traffic conditions. The saddle is designed so the rider sits in the trough contour and is thus secured firmly in his seat; I used the saddle step as my bum stop and felt comfortable with the ergonomics of the Xpulse in all road conditions. 

The Hero Xpulse has a certain freshness about it. I really do not remember riding another bike over these couple of decades or so of test riding and three decades or so of general riding before that which I can truly say parallels the experience.  Of course, there may have been some bikes better in some departments, some even overall, but this singular personality of the Xpulse 200T is not easy to come by. The design people at Hero India have included a rear deck with vibration-reduction rubberised inserts for small luggage and have thoughtfully provided luggage tie points on this sturdy fitting.

The bike is so confident and it leads to you playing around on the road; the bike itself does the cornering for you and you just point it in the right direction. Hinged rider footrests are incorporated so that when your Xpulse reaches max lean you are given the message by the footrests and the ball drag, the hinged footrests encouraging you to lean the bike more into the corner. The Xpulse 200T has a sense of raw motorcycling - even though it comes standard equipped with the latest electronics and other stuff for the modern day market. The raw motorcycling of the 1970s and 1980s when the word electronics was not commonly used. This is the motorcycling that I feel quite at home with. And it was what Hero’s Xpulse and I revelled in together on the roads of Colombo.

Did I tell you that the Hero Xpulse 200T is a ‘happy’ bike?  Yes, happy is the zone I went into the moment I sat in the retro, ribbed saddle of the bike, the moment my hands closed upon the handlebar grips. Its own happy personality is instantly transmitted to the rider. A bike I’d definitely choose to clear those cobwebs away. Or to just let my riding juices flow free. My latest go-to set of wheels for entertainment and excitement on the road.

 

Tech Specs

ENGINE

Air cooled

4-stroke single-cylinder

2-valve SOHC

Carburettor, 199.6cc

Electric & Kick Start

 

THE GO FACTOR

18bhp @ 8,000rpm

17.1Nm @ 6,500rpm

 

TRANSMISSION

5-speed

 

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR

Diamond Frame

Tyres     

Front 110/80 x 17

Rear 130/70 x 17

Cast alloy wheels

Brakes     

Front Disc 276mm, ABS

Rear Disc 220mm

 

SUSPENSION

Front Telescopic, 37mm

Rear Mono-shock, 7-step

               

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES

Length 2,120 mm  

Width 807 mm     

Height 1,090 mm

Weight 150 kg    

Fuel Tank 13L

 

COLOURS     

Matte Gold / Matte Grey /

Panther Black / Sporty Red

 

WARRANTY

5years / 70,000km

 

HOW MUCH

Rs 499,900