Hero Xtreme 200R
At the racetrack with Hero MotoCorp’s most powerful naked bike
hero’s famed naked gets a fresh boost of power, we exploit it all on the track
We first got a glimpse of Hero motoCorp’s 200-cc street bike at the 2016 auto expo, where their concept motorcycle was first shown, badged the Xtreme 200s. Now, over two years later, we finally see the production version in the flesh, and Hero invited a bunch of us journos to ride their latest creation at Noida’s Buddh international Circuit (BiC). the Hero Xtreme 200r, as the machine has officially been christened, is an evolution of the company’s Xtreme sports and Hero motoCorp’s first foray into the 200-cc premium commuter segment.
the styling of the new bike has remained faithful to the original concept, thankfully minus the bright red front wheel, belly, and tyre-hugger. the family resemblance with the 150-cc Xtreme sports is clear, with a similarly-shaped headlight, tail-light, and overall silhouette, although the eyebrow-esque position lights are now leD and tank extensions are more pronounced; as seems to have become the norm in
this segment. Hero have finally made the overdue shift to 17-inch wheels — all the other motorcycles in their portfolio run on 18-inchers — and the stylish black alloys are shod with a 100-section tyre up front and a 130-section one at the rear. these are considerably broader than the 80- and 110-section shoes on the existing Xtreme sports and give the new bike a purposeful and muscular appearance befitting a premium offering.
saddle height is a very accessible 795 millimetres and the seat itself is well-contoured, supportive and feels just right as i settle into it. ahead of me, the dash consists of a sporty-looking analogue tachometer flanked by a digital display for speedometer, odo and trip meters, and a bar-type fuel-gauge, although i did miss a gear indicator. a row of tell-tale lights run across the top, the most notable among these is the new amber aBs lamp; yes, in a first for Hero motoCorp, this bike comes with aBs as standard, albeit a single-channel unit that keeps only the front wheel from locking up.
the 199.6-cc air-cooled single is eager to fire up and settles into a smooth idle with a quick dab of the starter button; the unit is similar in construction to the 149.2-cc powerplant currently doing duty in the achiever and Xtreme sports but is bored out to achieve the higher capacity. it churns out 18.4 ps at 8,000 rpm, 17.1 Nm of twist at 6,500 rpm, and is mated to a smooth-shifting five-speed gearbox that threw up no surprises during my ride. fuelling is managed by a 32-mm CV carburettor; there is no fuel-injected variant on offer. the engine sits within a steel diamond-type frame and is suspended by a 37-mm telescopic fork up front and a seven-stage adjustable monoshock at the rear; this is the second Hero motorcycle to sport a monoshock rear suspension, the first being the now discontinued impulse.
exiting the pit-lane at india’s premier racetrack, i was a little apprehensive about whether this 200 would do justice at a track that stretches full-blown litre bikes to their limit. Hero wanted us to appreciate the handling characteristics of their new bike and so we were confined to the twisty short loop at the southern part of the track where we could explore the dynamic capabilities of the bike.
leaving an impression at the BiC seemed like a tall order for a machine of this size, but i can now attest to the fact that the suspension, though plush and tuned more for comfort than for track duty, worked extremely well with the rigid chassis, resulting in a motorcycle that felt stable and safe even when pushed to extreme lean angles at triple-digit speeds. the mrf rubber inspired confidence close to the limit and i was soon darting from apex to apex with the throttle wide open in fifth gear through most of the eight corners on the loop; not once did the bike feel nervous or unsettled from the thrashing.
the engine makes a decent amount of torque down low and pulls comfortably from just over 2,500 rpm before getting into its strong mid-range. tuned more for usability than for top speed, the bike feels happiest between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm and can cruise
This motorcycle would be happy ferrying you to and from work all week at rush hour, while also being just as ready to hit the twisties or the highway
comfortably between 80 and 90 km/h with minimal vibrations finding their way through to the rider. push the Xtreme 200r further and it will cross the triple-digit mark, although the powerplant does start to feel stressed and out of breath by this point.
Braking duties are taken care of by a 276-mm disc up front and a 220-mm one at the rear and, apart from the singlechannel aBs, the front end also gets steel-braided brake lines to retain consistent braking performance even when riding hard. Bite, feel, and feedback were very good and the welltuned aBs is not one bit intrusive, only stepping in to smooth out sudden panic braking.
With the limited time i had with the motorcycle at the track, it would be difficult to comment on real-world performance. the upright and comfortable riding position, pliant suspension and strong mid-range indicate that Hero are aiming more for practicality with a dash of sportiness, rather than an aggressive corner carver, and in this respect i think they’ve got it just right. this motorcycle would be happy ferrying you to and from work all week at rush hour while also being just as ready to hit the twisties or the highway over the weekend. We expect the price to be around the rs 90,000 mark and, as such, the Xtreme will go up against several established rivals across the 160- to 200-cc segment.
it is great to see Hero finally raising their sights and entering the 200-cc segment with this new motorcycle and we hope to see more interesting launches from india’s largest motorcycle manufacturer before the year is out.
199.6-cc mill makes usable torque through the mid-range
Dash is sporty, but is missing a gear indicatorSwitchgear works well and feels durable
Attractive taillamp is carried over from the Xtreme Sports
Brakes work well with the grippy MRFs
Seat is spacious and well-padded