Riding a small motorcycle fast is more fun than riding a big motorcycle slow. I think this holds true irrespective of the type of bike that I’m riding. And I got a chance to experience this recently thanks to Hero MotoCorp UAE for lending me their only dual-purpose motorcycle on sale – the Hero Xpulse 200.
I’ll start off with the way this motorcycle looks. Considering that it is a small capacity bike, it might not look intimidating if you see it in your rearview mirror. However, in person, it does a decent job of standing out from the usual similar capacity two-wheelers.
The factor-fitted knuckle guards, although not so sturdy, add a bit of boldness to the motorcycle’s front look. The motocross-style raised front fender suits the bike’s character and so do the dual-purpose tyres. Another interesting element is the upswept exhaust which not only looks pretty cool but provides a good water wading ability to the motorcycle.
The Hero Xpulse 200 comes equipped with a fully digital instrument cluster that supports Bluetooth connectivity. It shows a plethora of information such as speed, revs, fuel level, and your other usual stuff. There is a clock in case you need to hurry up to reach your destination and wanna take a shortcut through some not-so-smooth terrain. Hero MotoCorp has also added a gear position indicator that isn’t the best out there but considering the price of the motorcycle, I think no one would be complaining about its inaccuracy.
The Bluetooth feature allows you to connect your phone with the motorcycle and get SMS and call alerts. You can also use it for navigation with the help of Hero MotoCorp’s dedicated mobile application.
Other features include a small rear rack for carrying a few essentials on your trail riding. There is a single-channel (front only) ABS. I’m glad that Hero MotoCorp did not provide ABS at the rear wheel as you might need to lock up the rear end to manoeuvre the bike during trail riding and adventure rides.
Ride Quality & Fun Factor
The 200cc single-cylinder engine of the Hero Xpulse tries to keep up with your intense throttle inputs, however, after a point, there’s nothing that it can do. It is a small displacement engine and just doesn’t have the grunt to survive on the highways – it has around 17 HP and 16 Nm of torque. On the other hand, it could be your companion in the city. The small capacity also works in its favour when it comes to heat generation.
I found the Hero Xpulse 200 to be a fun little machine that can bring a grin on your face. It has got a set of long travel (190 mm) front forks that can take up some really hard beating. The stock rear shock has 10-step pre-load adjustability. While the overall suspension set up works well off-road, it was a bit soft for my liking. Thankfully, Hero MotoCorp has come with a package for more hardcore riders. It is called the Rally Kit and it comprises adjustable suspension, flat seat, handlebar risers, much more capable and off-road focused tyres. With the rally kit on, the ground clearance of the motorcycle increases from 220 mm to 275 mm which is more than sufficient to overcome most of the obstacles that you’re going to face while off-roading.
While the Xpulse 200 is capable enough to handle off-road conditions even in its stock avatar, I found using the 5-speed gearbox a bit difficult with my MX boots on. The solution for this is to get the extended gear lever that is a part of the rally kit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t try it out as Hero MotoCorp is yet to bring the rally kit to the UAE.
With the 13-liter fuel tank capacity, the Hero Xpulse 200 can carry more than sufficient fuel to play around in the sand dunes. The fuel efficiency of the motorcycle is good, too.
Our expert rider was David O Connor. He had represented the UAE in the well-known BMW GS Trophy qualifiers in Lebanon in 2019. He also did his Instructor’s Certification in Germany last year and also started X Enduro with Mikael. Since then, they have been running Challenges & Training for riders with varying skill levels.
David also threw a leg over the Hero Xpulse 200 and according to him, this is a fun motorcycle. It is a small bike that is not bad at all. It can handle off-roading and you will have some good laughs riding it around. David gives his approval for the Xpulse 200.
Buying a Hero Xpulse 200 in the UAE will set you back by AED 15,000 and the bike with the rally kit would cost you around AED 18,000.
I think that the Xpulse 200 could be the perfect motorcycle for a beginner rider who wants to learn off-road riding. In fact, even slightly experienced riders would enjoy riding it and could fine-tune their skills before jumping on a bigger and more capable machine.
I feel that for beginner riders, the stock setup of the Xpulse 200 is good enough. The rally kit setup would make more sense for more experienced riders.