It is always better to be late than never! Hero MotoCorp definitely believed so when it re-entered the 200 cc motorcycle segment in India with the new Hero Xtreme 200R. This is the one of the fastest growing segments in India and having a presence in this segment definitely helps a manufacturer in getting good sales volume. It's been five months since Hero launched the Xtreme 200 R in India. Preetam did ride the bike at Buddh international Circuit but now, we got a chance to ride it on regular city roads, and tried to understand the motorcycle better - how will it be as an everyday bike, and is it worth buying?.
Also Read: Hero Xtreme 200R First Ride Review
Design and Features
You keep the current 200 cc bikes in your mind and then look at the Xtreme 200R and it is evident that the looks of the bike are slightly understated. It is not overly muscular or sporty but has a clean design. Thanks to the tank extensions, the bike puts on some muscle in what is otherwise a lean motorcycle. The rear section especially looks quite sharp with the stylish LED tail lamp rounding things off. Its demeanour tilts more towards, say, a 150 cc bike than a 200. It is not the sportiest 200 cc bike but the overall design will appeal to a wider set of audience. The fit and finish on the bike is good while it's not best in segment, it is up to the mark.
What is immediately likeable is the comfort that the Xtreme 200 R offers. The ergonomics are in line with that of a typical commuter motorcycle. The seating is upright and the handlebar seat geometry is setup for city rides, with no stress on your shoulders and wrists as a good commuter bike ought to. On the features front, the Hero Xtreme 200R isn't exactly well endowed! It gets a part analogue part digital instrument console which looks at least 10 years old. It does have a side stand indicator but misses out on a gear position indicator. Other features include a single channel ABS (only on the front wheel), and two eyebrow like LED pilot lamps which are a hint towards modernity in an otherwise clean and safe design.
Engine and Performance
The Hero Xtreme 200R gets a 198 cc single cylinder, two-valve engine, and the motor pumps out 18 brake horsepower at 8,000 rpm and peak torque of 17.1 Newton metres at 6,500 rpm. The engine is paired to a slick 5-speed gearbox, and in this segment, performance is par for the course.
We like how the Xtreme 200 R behaves in the city. It offers slick gearshifts along with a solid mid-range, which makes overtaking in city traffic a breeze. Additionally, the Xtreme 200R is also quick off-the-line and will probably surprise you with the acceleration when in 2nd and 3rd gear. But as you wring the throttle open and the needle on the tachometer inches closer to redline, you begin to feel the vibrations on the handlebars and you can feel the engine getting stressed, especially upwards of 7,000 rpm. And in this case, you can't help compare to the performance of its rivals; the Xtreme 200R does not have lung power that its rivals do and you can sense that it is running out of breath as it goes past 90 kmph. The performance isn't exactly exhilarating, but then you have to really wring it open, and break all city speed limits to really talk about the lack of excitement. In most cases, and considering the purpose it's made for, the Xtreme 200R is quite a likeable bike. Nice, and torquey motor, which feels quick to accelerate, and requires less gear shifts - all very positive traits indeed!
Ride and handling
The Xtreme 200R is quite flickable and it is quite easy to filter through traffic on this one. The suspension setup on the 37 mm telescopic forks up front and the monoshock at the rear is absolutely spot-on and it gobbles up broken roads, bumps and potholes as if they were sumptuous meals! In fact, the Xtreme 200R is the only Hero motorcycle to get a monoshock at the rear!
The brakes on the 200 R offer good bite and progression too. And it gets a single channel ABS as standard as well. The only grouse that we have is that the rear wheel locks up under hard braking, which could result in the rear stepping out and become potentially be dangerous! Only, if Hero had offered a dual-channel ABS setup, even as an option! But then, that could have also jacked up the price by a few thousand rupees, and affordability is what the Xtreme 200 R's strongest point is.
At a price of ₹ 89,900 (ex-showroom, Delhi), it is perhaps the most affordable 200 cc motorcycle in the market right now. Sure, it is not a looker, neither is it rich in features, but in-city performance is impeccable and if you are not overly expressive and prefer to keep a low profile and are looking for a decent 200 cc package, the Hero Xtreme 200R is a good bet! Ohh! And you get excellent after-market service network and easy availability of spares too. It goes up against illustrious rivals such as the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 and the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V which offer better performance and looks but are significantly more expensive too.
Photography: Azam Siddiqui