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. We finally managed to ride the hotly-anticipated Xtreme 160R and find out that if this the ‘Hero’ which the company needs at the moment?
Hero has been long associated with just commuter motorcycles, so much so that even their performance-oriented machines like the Xtreme 200R had a certain commuter-ish appeal to it. But the Xtreme 160R marks the departure in the design approach and stands out as a rather youthful motorcycle. There are sharp elements all around and the robotic headlamps do manage to grab some eyeballs. The sharp and minimalistic design approach is carried forward to the rear end as well where the compact tail lamp unit is the major highlight. Even the indicators are LED units.
The dual-tone colour scheme makes the motorcycle all the more appealing. Another distinctive design element is the flowy tank shroud and that makes us wonder that would it have looked even better if the tank shrouds were as sharp as the other design elements? The exhaust unit is a stubby one and goes well with the rest of the motorcycle. The fit and finish levels are good and there are no inconsistent panel gaps whatsoever.
Engine and performance
The Xtreme 160R belts out 15 hp @ 8500 rpm and 14 nm of torque @ 6500 rpm from its 163cc air-cooled unit. The respectable power figures give it an upper hand over its rivals and make it the third most powerful motorcycle in its class. The powertrain is one refined unit and we could go as far as saying that this Hero manages to match the levels of refinement its Japanese rivals boast of. The 163cc unit propels it to a respectable top speed of 120 km/h which is speedo indicated and it won’t disappoint the touring buffs out there either. It can comfortably cruise at 100 km/h which comes up at 7400 rpm in fifth gear. The engine is mated to a 5-speed transmission unit which offers slick and precise gearshifts.
We are happy to report that the vibrations are well contained even when you push it to its 9500 rpm redline. There’s a strong pull after you cross the 3000 rpm mark and the engine being a high-revving unit, the pull doesn’t subside even in the upper spectrum of the rev range. The stubby exhaust unit manages to compose just the right soundtrack to complement its sprightly performance. Another major factor which contributes to its healthy performance is its light weight. The rear drum variant tips the scale at 138.5 kg while the rear disc variant weighs just a kilo more.
Just like the other motorcycles in this segment, the Xtreme 160R has a slightly aggressive riding position which won’t be harsh on your back or wrists for that matter. It strikes the perfect balance between aggressiveness and comfort. The Xtreme 160R is a compact motorcycle and the saddle height stands at 790 mm so even the shorter riders won’t find it difficult to manoeuvre. Ground clearance stands at 167 mmm so it won’t find it difficult to deal with the nasty bumps our infamous Indian roads throw at us. Another factor which makes the Xtreme 160R shine in this department is its well-padded seats.
They provide just the right amount of support and it won’t lead to sore buttocks even after clocking long highway miles. The pillion seat, on the other hand, is only good for short city sprints. For being a stepped unit and a compact one at that, contribute to the fact that the pillion won’t have a smile under his/her helmet after a long ride.
Ride and handling
Hero has pulled off a commendable job with the Xtreme 160R because not only is it decently powerful and comfortable, it also shines in the ride and handling department. It is built around a diamond frame chassis which is rigid enough to plaster a smile on your face after a lively riding session. The handling is very confidence-inspiring and its short wheelbase makes it flickable while dealing with the urban traffic. What makes it a great city bike is its light clutch action which goes a long way in determining the comfort of a motorcycle in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The suspension setup comprises of 37mm telescopic forks up front and 7-step adjustable monoshock at the rear. It is another aspect where the Xtreme 160R impresses because the suspension setup is neither too soft or stiff. It irons out the bumps well while also providing a taut riding experience. It comes shod with sticky MRF rubber at both the ends. The only gripe that we have from the Xtreme 160R in this department is the wind protection or the lack of it.
Braking is very crucial to any motorcycle and the Xtreme 160R doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It comes equipped with petal discs at both the ends but the rear disc is only available as an option. The front disc brake measures 276mm and the rear measures 220mm. The braking setup provides a sharp bite accompanied by good feedback, something which vastly improves your confidence when you are pushing the motorcycle.
Hero has left no stones unturned in making it a modern proposition, the reason why we see a full LED instrument cluster which houses all the necessary information but misses out a gear position indicator. The readability could have been a little better though. The switchgear quality is decent and the engine kill switch is integrated with the ignition. Hero has also equipped the Xtreme 160R with hazard lights. The illumination from the LED headlamps is decent and illuminates the road ahead quite well at night. The Xtreme 160R can hold 12 litres of fuel in the tank at one go.
Fuel economy and pricing
If we are reviewing a Hero motorcycle, the fuel economy becomes an integral part of it. Though it all depends on how the rider uses his right wrist while riding, the Xtreme 160R returns good fuel economy. In urban riding conditions, the fuel economy hovered around 37-38 kmpl while out on the highway, it returned 48 kmpl.
Also Read: New Bajaj Dominar 250: Ridden And Reviewed!
One of the major factors which make the Xtreme 160R such an attractive proposition is its aggressive pricing. The rear drum variant retails at INR 1 Lakh ex-showroom and to get the rear disc variant, you will have to shell out 3000 bucks more.
It is one of the most exciting products to come out of Hero’s stable in a very long time. It has all it takes to bring the glory back to Hero in the power commuter segment. It might not be the quickest of the lot but when you factor in the whole package, Hero deserves a pat on the back. And now we can proudly say that Hero finally has just the right product it should have made years ago.