The Xtreme 200R is Hero’s big step into the world of premium bikes after a long time. We all remember the popular Karizma don’t we? But now times have changed. There are many more players in the market and the consumer is spoilt for choice. Hero is the market leader in the Indian motorcycle segment by a long way but most of those numbers come from the commuter segment where all the buyer wants is good mileage. With the Xtreme 200R Hero is aiming to give that and much more. Of course at a price that will be attractive enough to pull the customer to the showrooms.
Hero has already tried their luck with the Xtreme brand name earlier. But the Xtreme 150 was unable to take a clear lead in a very competitive segment. The Xtreme 200R does come with a few similarities especially on the rear but Hero has done more than enough to give this bike a distinct identity. The bike gets Pilot LEDs on the front and LEDs on the rear which also gets grab handles for the pillion. The most likeable bit is the tank that looks appealing and provides good gripping area for the knees. Use of graphics on the tank is also a job well done. The exhaust design looks a bit repulsive and is maybe the only sore point on this otherwise good looking motorcycle. The instrument cluster is part analog part digital but easily could’ve been fully digital looking at some of the competition. It could also give some additional information like gear position.
The Xtreme 200R runs on a single cylinder 2-valve 200cc engine that is carbureted. Maximum power on offer is 18.1 bhp at 8,000 rpm and at 6,500 rpm you get a peak torque figure of 17.1 Nm. These figures are not the best in the segment and the competition gets the better of Hero at least in this respect. One thing in which Hero is taking a lot of pride on the Xtreme 200R is its low end torque. The bike offers quick pickup and there’s enough punch especially during the low and mid range. Many a times there’s just no need to downshift something that aids in a more composed ride. Even if there’s a need to change the gears the shifts are nice and smooth, again a trait of Hero motorbikes. This means this will prove to be a good commuter bike in traffic. Unlike some other bikes in the segment, this one gets just 5 gears. But just like other motorcycles from the brand refinement levels are pretty impressive on the Xtreme 200R. Yes the grunt you’re looking from a motorcycle especially on a racetrack is somewhat missing here but there’s enough sporty character on display here. At the Buddh track it wasn’t the entire 5.14 km long track we were riding on but there were enough fast corners and short straights to understand the ride dynamics of this new Hero. Since the two long straights were out of bounds taking the top speed above 110 kmph became a tough ask.
Ride & Handling
The Hero Xtreme 200R offers a good ride position owing to the tank shrouds along with well placed foot pegs. The stance is confident and that allowed me to take a few liberties on the racetrack. The bike gets a 7-step adjustable monoshock rear suspension (stiffen/soften it according to weight of rider & pillion) on the rear and the 37 mm hydraulic type shockers on the front too seem to do a good job. Overall the suspension seems a bit on the softer side and therefore more comfortable than rivals but of course their actual test will be in the real world. 130 section rear tyre along with front and rear disc brakes also help in giving a reassuring ride. Single channel ABS is on offer on the front wheel, something that is a necessity now when it comes to premium motorcycles. And these attributes told us why Hero was so confident of the Xtreme 200R performing well on a world-class racetrack.
In terms of characteristics’ the Hero Xtreme 200R may not be as sporty as some of its rivals but this bike can be classified as more of an all-rounder. It’s a bike that can be used for daily commutes while providing decent ride dynamics. Of course ergonomics and design also add their flavour which makes the Xtreme 200R a worthy option in this now popular segment. We don’t know the prices yet but an aggressive tag will go a long way in establishing Hero in an untested, challenging segment.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars