It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Hero Motocorp, the largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the world. When it comes to producing motorcycles apart from those for the commuter segment, they did hit a rough patch after a lot of their offerings tanked in both the aspects – expectations of motorcyclists as well as sales numbers. But things are finally looking good for Hero, and it’s starting to look good in the power commuter segment – where they were the first movers. Before the lockdown was issued, Hero showcased some of their new offerings at their CIT facility and the new Xtreme 160R, in particular, managed to attract a lot of attention for all the right reasons.
Why Is The Bike So Important?
It won’t be wrong if we say that Hero actually gave birth to the power commuter segment. The departure of 2-stroke motorcycles left us with 100cc commuters and Hero (also Honda then) offered us the CBZ like a knight in shining armour. With its 156.8cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, SOHC engine, it became the only power commuter at that point of time and it was a good one at that. The engine came mated to a ‘never seen before’ 5-Speed gearbox and the CBZ managed to become an icon. The first wave of competition which the CBZ faced was led by none other than the Pulsar from Bajaj’s stable. Hero tried to keep the CBZ relevant, but eventually, over the years, failed to do so. They even tried reviving its legend with the CBZ Xtreme, but by that time, it was already too late.
The Indian market witnessed an onslaught of Japanese motorcycles in the power commuter segment and what happened then is what we all know. Yamaha came with the ‘Lord of the Streets’ FZ15, and later on, Suzuki caught up with their Gixxer 155. Honda was surfing at the top of the wave with the Unicorn and sprinkled some colour and muscle for the youth with the Hornet 160. Hero just couldn’t match the level of performance and finesse its Japanese rivals had to offer. Even TVS caught up with the Apache RTR 160 4V. But like we mentioned earlier, things are finally looking good now.
The motorcycling fraternity finally agrees to the fact that Hero Motocorp has managed to develop a product which can fight it out with the competition, in terms of appearance, kit and Go! Powering the new Xtreme 160R is a 160cc air-cooled BS-VI Compliant engine with Electronic Fuel Injection. The motor delivers a power output of 15 Bhp at 8,500 RPM. Tipping the scales at 138.5 Kg, the bike promises to sprint from 0 to 60 Km/hr in 4.7 seconds. The engine is mated to a 5-speed constant mesh gearbox and a multi-plate wet clutch. If we compare the above-mentioned specs with the rest of the competition, the Xtreme 160R’s on-paper performance betters most of its arch-rivals.
In typical Hero Motcorp style, the Xtreme 160R appears to offer a balance of comfort and sportiness and boasts of an ergonomically optimized set-up for the rider. It features 37mm Telescopic front forks and a 7-step adjustable rear mono-shock suspension. At the rear, a 130/70-17” radial rear tyre promises to offer grip in all riding conditions and braking duties are carried out by 276mm front & 220mm rear petal disc brakes. Ground clearance stands at 170mm.
It’s not just about the performance and the cycle parts included in the package, it is about how it all comes together visually. And to be honest, until now, Hero’s products would take the last seat in this department, but with the Xtreme 160R, things look promising. In our opinion and also of those who’ve been giving us their feedback in plenty, the 160R looks better and sportier than its elder sibling, the Xtreme 200R! The only thing which is going to decide the fate of the Xtreme 160R is how aggressively Hero prices it, how it feels in the saddle compared to the competition, and then it would be safe to say that they’ve begun a successful ascent towards the premium motorcycling space.