As much as I love driving, I love swinging a leg over a motorcycle every once in a while as well. What makes it all the more fun is when the motorcycle in question is one I have been longing to ride! Say hello to the Hero Xpulse 200 that recently joined our long-term fleet. To find out what the small dual-sport bike is all about, I took it for a short ride outside Mumbai.
My plan was simple: head out on a route where I haven’t been on before and just explore new places. I chose one with a mix of roads that took me through broad highways as well as some narrow, single-lane roads. Also, an early morning start meant that I got minimal traffic while making my way out of the city.
FORK IT OUT: Long-travel suspension works like a dream on Mumbai’s broken roads.
A few minutes of riding through Mumbai’s pothole-riddled roads and I was impressed by the way the Xpulse’s suspension was coping with whatever the road threw at it. Initially, I was a bit careful and slowed down whenever there was a broken section of road or some nasty pothole. However, it wasn’t long before I discovered the magic of the long-travel suspension and how it was more than happy to deal with more rough stuff along the way.
LEAD THE WAY: The headlamp works quite well, compared to other LED units on low-cost machines.
The reason I had been longing to ride the Xpulse is because its predecessor, the Impulse, had left me wanting for more oomph. And I was hoping to find that in the Xpulse, which has a slightly bigger heart. I wouldn’t really say that it scores high on the power front, but it doesn’t disappoint either. It feels quite tractable and delivers power instantaneously at city speeds. On open roads though, it was only comfortable at speeds of up to 100kph; anything beyond that felt too demanding.
BOOT BLOCKER: The engine guard gets in the way when sticking your leg forward off-road.
I liked the refinement levels at low speeds; it felt quite smooth and there was almost negligible vibration felt through the handlebar. Speaking of which, the wide handlebar and upright riding position made the Xpulse feel bigger than it actually is.
SLOW-WITTED: Gear shift indicator responds slowly, and doesn’t work when clutch is pulled in.
The Xpulse came to us with some minor scuffs it sustained in some off-road adventures it went through. Normally, this would be a concern for us, but considering that the bike is meant to be ridden off-road, we didn’t mind. However, the pass light switch and the one for the clutch started acting up, so we sent the bike to Hero to get the issues fixed. We’ll let you know the costs involved in our next update.