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Old 16th February 2020, 00:46   #1
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Default Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

This thread will be a comprehensive review of my Hero Xpulse 200 christened "Nu bike" by my 2year old son. I had to delay posting my review due to work commitments. Post March I have barely ridden the bike.

This is my first review on Team-BHP. So please excuse any gaps or discrepancies in the review.
This initial ownership report has been compiled after 3 months and 2500kms of usage.


Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200123_182147.jpg


The good stuff:
Long travel suspension – Bad roads and potholes are a breeze
VFM price
Build quality – The bike feels solid
Kick starter - Something that most bikes miss out nowadays
The Chassis - Great off-road dynamics and decent on road dynamics
Fuel efficiency is pretty good. I get a minimum range of 500 kms from tankful to reserve only on my office commute which comes to 40 - 43 kmpl
220 mm of ground clearance is pretty good to clear speed breakers or for that off-road course


The bad stuff:
ABS unit – Has a mind of its own. The front brake lever jams with the presence of a little gravel
The stock seat – Narrow and cushioning is not good
Headlight – Low beam is ok, high beam is useless
Engine refinement - Not the most refined engine.Vibrations at higher RPMs
Tube type tyres can be a pain if they go flat.
Slight tappet noise which gets annoying. Seems like a common problem among a lot of xpulse owners.

Last edited by shady : 22nd September 2020 at 17:27. Reason: Updated post
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Old 18th February 2020, 20:44   #2
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Prelude

As a kid I was not into bikes. I was always into cars. My dad had previously owned 2 motorbikes. A Kawasaki Bajaj 100 when he was posted in Delhi which he brought to Bangalore. A few years later (circa 1996 if I am correct) he upgraded from the KB100 to the KB125. My memories with the KB100 are very vague I only remember taking a few rides on it. But with the KB125 I remember the power and the sound of the 2-stroke engine when my dad would wring the throttle!
In 2002 the KB125 was sold due to back problems faced by my dad and we brought home the Fiat Palio. When I was in college, I learned to drive on this car even before I learned to ride a bike. Around the same time, I learned to ride my friends CD100 and in 2006 I got my driving licence.

The Palio at Coorg
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_4214.jpg

Finished college and started my career but never considered a 2-wheeler until 2015 when I bought the Dio. I used company transport and occasionally travelled by Dio to work (25 km ride one way).

Dio on delivery day
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20151008_180752734.jpg

The need for a bike

In mid-2019 I changed my job which had flexible work timings and company transport was a difficult option. For a city like Bangalore which has a crowded public transport system, traffic congestion, train/metro on selected routes the dependence on mass transportation was unreliable and time consuming that's where personal transportation comes handy. I used to commute by Dio which is not the most comfortable when you throw even the lightest of broken roads at it. Driving to work was time consuming and not viable to use on a regular basis. I need a mode of transport that is comfortable. And the itch to own a motorbike started.

Bikes considered

RE Himalayan - I had considered the Himalayan with its long travel suspension and the sofa like seat. I had taken a test ride from the RE Brand store and was impressed with the bike. The young chap at the showroom was patient enough to answer all my queries. But touring was not something I intended with this purchase and the Himalayan would end up like a caged tiger unable to stretch its legs.
Bajaj Dominar - I also checked out the Dominar which is quite a VFM package, but I felt the comfort factor was not there and it was ticked off.
Hero Xpulse With that dirt bike look and long travel suspension the engine was good in the mid-range it felt like a good commuter. The price was reasonable considering the bike and the test ride on the Fi variant went well and I was impressed by its ability to soak up potholes and bad roads. Finally, I decided on the carb variant considering the simplicity of a carb. Apart from the linear power delivery and some features I didn’t find much differences between carb and Fi.

Booking & Delivery experience

I enquired at R T Krishna auto and Bimal Hero in end November. Not much price difference or discounts between the two showrooms and the delivery timeline was similar. I had a test ride of the fi variant and the carb at Bimal. It was fairly simple to ride it the first time. I opted to go with a Sports Red xpulse from Bimal, and the experience was smooth with them. The sales rep mentioned they had new stock coming in the first week of December and can deliver it in early second week. I paid the booking amount on 3rd December and the bike was ready for PDI on the 7th. I could only check the bike satisfactorily on the 9th and made the payment. The bike was ready for delivery on the 11th. The delivery was a quiet affair , no photo-op just a handover of keys, documents and explanation of the switchgear & service intervals.

Bike ready for delivery
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20191211_105227.jpg

Accessories/Modifications
  • Seat modification
Brought the bike after an uncomfortable first ride and the first thought was to alter the narrow seat. Got it done from a famous place at Shivajinagar which was relatively expensive. I wouldn't recommend that place now though. Seat was widened and cushioning was added.

Seat modification
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200106_174756.jpg

Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200105_174801.jpg
  • Btwin Cable lock to secure my helmet
  • Formula X Puncture sealant
Being a tube type I got the puncture sealant for some piece of mind in case of a flat tyre. Not faced any punctures so far so can't comment on its durability yet.
  • Gloves
Upgraded my gloves with a Solace Airdrift city gloves
  • Tie down strap
Got a tie down strap to secure my office backpack on the seat which can get heavy sometimes
  • Axor helmet
Upgraded to an Axor ECE certified helmet
  • Center stand from Hero

The long center stand
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_182401.jpg

Parked next to a legend! The xpulse is quite a tall bike.
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200123_173238.jpg
  • Pulsar bar end weights

I didn't like the bar ends on the Xpulse. They were just a piece of plastic so I fitted the bar ends of a pulsar by following a tutorial on youtube.

Old bar ends
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New bar ends
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200119_190909.jpg

Christening of Nu-bike

Took my son for a very short spin and he loved it. The windscreen deflects most of the wind from his face and he has a clear view of what's ahead. I explained to him "This is our new bike, Hero Xpulse". For a toddler who has started uttering words "xpulse" was a tough one so he only repeated "nu bike" and it stuck. He added another word and would say “Nu bike round” to take him for a spin, "kick taat" to kick start the bike and so on. He now identifies new bike & bullets, especially with its distinctive sound. He has also learned to list out some parts in a bike and a car. Future petrolhead for sure!

Nu-bike with dio
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20191211_204916.jpg


Engine & gearbox

The engine is an air-cooled 199.6 cc mill producing 13.5 kW(18.1 bhp) of power and 17.1 Nm of torque. The recently launched BS6 xpulse comes with an oil cooler.
The engine performs well in the mid range, has an ok bottom end and struggles at the top end. The engine feels very coarse at the top end. First gear is very short and there is just a little difference in the revs in second and third gear. The engine has enough torque to make overtakes in the city easy.
On the highway the optimum cruising speed is 85 - 90 kph. Post 90 kph the engine feels very gruff. So do not expect blistering highway performance from this humble engine.
I get a tank range of 500 kms in my commute which is a mix of heavy traffic and suburban roads.

I have noticed after the bike crossed 2000 kms on the odo, there is a slight clicking/ticking sound from the engine head and the bike randomly stalls when moving after a cold start. After moving some distance the random stalling goes away but the clicking sound has prevailed. And the clicking sound seems to be an issue with a lot of xpulses. Hopefully it is fixed during the next scheduled service.

Being Hero's first 'homegrown' engine there is definitely a lot of room for improvement with the engine. I'm not expecting something like a Honda here, but it would be nice if they identify and rectify problems and make it a better engine.

The 200cc mill and the kick starter
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_1826491.jpg

Fibre bash plate on the carb variant
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_182705.jpg


Brakes & Handling

The front disc, paired with ABS, has decent bite and stopping power (rider only, never got to test it with two onboard), where as the rear disc easily locks with a bit too much pressure. But the ABS module tends to have a mind of its own. The brake lever goes hard in the event of pulling it over a sandy patch. This can be scary during emergency braking. I also lost a reflector on the front left fork when I nudged an activa in front of me which came to a sudden stop.

The front disc with the speed sensor
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_182534.jpg

Brake calipers from Nissin
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_182349.jpg

The suspension is effective if you go over potholes/ruts at speed. That way the suspension just absorbs everything. At crawling speeds bumps can be felt quite a bit. Bad roads is where the bike shines, it can just glide over them with ease. It doesn't feel nerve racking to go over bad roads. On road manners are pretty good. I am yet to ride it on some nice winding roads.

The beak is quite strong even though its made of plastic. Front wheel is 21 inch shod with Ceat tyres. Notice the missing side reflector, thanks to the ABS system
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_183327.jpg

The rear monoshock
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_182900.jpg


Switchgear & ergonomics

The riding posture is upright and the handle bar is wide. The windscreen deflects the wind onto my face. I had increased the width of the seat and added cushioning since the stock seat was uncomfortable for me. The lean angle of the bike on side stand is too much and it occupies space for almost 2 bike in the office/public parking. I added the center stand which can also be used for routine maintenance tasks. The headlight is not so powerful from the front it looks bright being an LED unit but illumination is not that great. the turn indicators are halogen bulbs. The rear view mirrors offer a wide view of what's behind.

Rider's view
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200315_173618-1.jpg

Lean angle of the bike
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200105_174615_2.jpg

MID is quite legible to read during the day and night. It is a white backlit unit. The fuel gauge is quite accurate and not much fluctuation noticed in the fuel level. There are two trip meters with average speed, an eco mode indicator (useless feature) and a turn by turn navigation system. The navigation system works by using an app and pairing the phone via Bluetooth which also provides incoming call alerts which is good so you don't need to check your phone when you get a call while riding.

Before giving the bike for first service, the service reminder indication is on.
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200106_112116.jpg

Daytime view. Tank range range of 500kms with city/suburban driving.
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200107_143107.jpg

Switch gear is pretty basic. The left side has the choke, indicator, horn & dim-dip with pass integrated. It would have been nice to have a separate pass switch which could be operated by the index finger so the thumb need not move from horn to dim-dip switch. Right side has the engine kill & starter switch.

Switchgear on the left and right side
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-switchgear.jpg

Rider foot pegs are positioned slightly high. The rider foot pegs are spring loaded and and the rubber mounts can be removed for better rider grip when off-roading. Pillion foot pegs are medium set and not uncomfortably high for the pillion while seated. The rear brake fluid reservoir is next to the pillion foot peg on the right side. There is an under-seat mobile charger. The cavity under the seat has enough place to hold a mobile. Have only tested it once but don't use it. The rear gab rail has points to mount a top box and bags can be tied with ease.

The right side pillion footrest. The pillion can feel the heat from the exhaust on the right leg. Tether point for bungee cords.
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_182411.jpg

Rear grabrail cum rack mount
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_183054.jpg

The under-seat mobile charger
Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")-img_20200313_18123.jpg


Service experience

I have completed 2 scheduled services so far as on September 2020. Service experience was ok.

During the 1st service the oil was changed and the cost was Rs.451. Odo reading 578km.

For the 2nd service the oil was topped up and I had reported the bike stalling after a cold start & the tappet sound. Bike does not stall now but tappet sound can be heard faintly after the engine runs for a while which they said is 'normal' for the xpulse. Cost for 2nd service was Rs.195. Odo reading 2922km.

I couldn't follow up on this due to non usage of bike and the ongoing pandemic.
The center stand was fitted at the service center at a cost of Rs.850 including labor charges.


Final thoughts

During the weekdays it can be a commuter and on weekends a fun off-road machine. It makes for a great beginner bike since you won't be worried if it will break when it falls with the affordable service costs and ease of riding. Its not the perfect bike, but good for commutes and cheap thrills.

Currently the bike is resting at home as I'm away from Bangalore since a while. I will keep updating this thread.

Last edited by shady : 22nd September 2020 at 17:23. Reason: Updated thread
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Old 23rd September 2020, 04:46   #3
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Default re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd September 2020, 06:56   #4
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Default re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Extending a hearty welcome to the forum Fantastic detailed review of the Xpulse covering all the nitty gritties a prospect needs to know about. Thanks for sharing so candidly! This thread along with ast.ggn's report (Hero Xpulse 200 (Carb) : Ownership Review) make for some lovely reading on the Xpulse!

I particularly respect the dual nature of this bike for city commutes and those weekend trips to remote locations. 500km tank range is a superb strength to have when touring remote areas, and the weight is manageable and makes the bike nimble and agile.

Keep sharing more updates, happy mile munching!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shady View Post
The need for a bike

In mid-2019 I changed my job which had flexible work timings and company transport was a difficult option.
... snip snip ...
Driving to work was time consuming and not viable to use on a regular basis. I need a mode of transport that is comfortable. And the itch to own a motorbike started.
Could definitely relate to this part. I used to be in the same boat, working out of an ORR office doing 50+ km every weekday (prior to covid of course). The time consuming part of using a car for daily commute is something most people will not understand - they'll keep saying why don't you go by car it is safer / more comfortable, et al. Bike v/s car would almost result in 1.5-2 hrs of time saved every day, which easily adds up to 10 hours a week of productive time lost on the road, lol!
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Old 23rd September 2020, 11:06   #5
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Quote:
Originally Posted by shady View Post
ABS unit Has a mind of its own. The front brake lever jams with the presence of a little gravel
I faced a similar problem on my Xpluse 200 2019 model. It is a manufacturing defect, and a lot of owners have faced the problem. To resolve the problem the ABS module needs to be replaced. Please do not take it lightly as it posses a safety risk.
I got mine replaced free of cost under warranty.
Link of the issue
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Old 23rd September 2020, 12:12   #6
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Awesome ownership review

It seems I have made a huge mistake buying RE Bullet 350 last year. The features xpulse offers is unmatched by RE.

1. under-seat charger
2. trip/fuel and service indicator
3. rear disks
4. great electricals

again a reminder to me that should not buy with a herd mentality and it's always rewarding to look at multiple bikes in the same segment.
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Old 23rd September 2020, 12:17   #7
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Thanks for the fabulous review. I can totally relate to the bike eating up potholes as I have been riding the 'Impulse' for past many years. The most dreadful experience with my bike has been, a tyre getting punctured. Since the bike has tube based tyres, it just cannot move once in that state. Moreover, most of the roadside puncture guys struggle with removing the tyre for repair. Absence of a center stand makes it particularly difficult. Good job with getting one for your bike!

On a similar note, does the puncture sealant work with tube tyres? I think they are made specifically for tubeless tyres.

Hope you and the little one enjoy the 'nu bike'. Keep posting your experiences and adventures with the bike!
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Old 23rd September 2020, 12:53   #8
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Congratulations on the bike and well written review. Good to see so many Xpulse on the forum. The bike begs to be taken off road or on bad roads. Just stand up on foot pegs slightly and let the bike do it's job, it makes it that easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shady View Post
But the ABS module tends to have a mind of its own. The brake lever goes hard in the event of pulling it over a sandy patch. This can be scary during emergency braking. I also lost a reflector on the front left fork when I nudged an activa in front of me which came to a sudden stop.
Hero is replacing it under warranty. I got it changed and is working fine now. Get it changed asap and be safe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post
Bike v/s car would almost result in 1.5-2 hrs of time saved every day, which easily adds up to 10 hours a week of productive time lost on the road, lol!
So true, I save almost 1-1.5 hr day on same route by using bike as compared to car. Savings on fuel is enormous too, bike is virtually free of cost to you.
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Old 23rd September 2020, 15:56   #9
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Fantastic review.
True that the suspension is awesome in this bike.
About the seat cover shop - are you referring to the one near Elgin talkies circle, the road that goes towards gujri?

Sorry for the off topic question.
I have a Electra and would love to swap the headlight from xpulse (don't want to try any Chinese led as of now).

Could you please share a few photos of the headlight, also is this a 7" unit? How is the overall light throw.
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Old 23rd September 2020, 17:56   #10
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbilung View Post
Awesome ownership review

It seems I have made a huge mistake buying RE Bullet 350 last year. The features xpulse offers is unmatched by RE.

1. under-seat charger
2. trip/fuel and service indicator
...
First of all, congrats on the purchase and the review is awesome along with the pictures!

About this post, I agree on your thoughts - but there is something far more important than the mentioned features - Its the peace of mind that your bike will not break down and will allow you to cruise at reasonable highway speeds.

The new RE's are definitely upping the highway game, but the older ones I think will struggle to cruise beyond 80 unless the owner decides to
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Old 23rd September 2020, 18:51   #11
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Thank you for this review. 'Nu bike' is going to stick with me for a long time to come. Your relationship with your son is a greater take away for me from this thread than the bike itself which I have high regard for. All the very best! Ride Hard, Ride Safe! Happy Motorting!

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 23rd September 2020 at 21:39. Reason: Removing quoted post. Please do not quote a large post as it affects readability and inconveniences small screen users.
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Old 23rd September 2020, 18:54   #12
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Quote:
Originally Posted by shady View Post
Took my son for a very short spin and he loved it. The windscreen deflects most of the wind from his face and he has a clear view of what's ahead. I explained to him "This is our new bike, Hero Xpulse". For a toddler who has started uttering words "xpulse" was a tough one so he only repeated "nu bike" and it stuck. He added another word and would say “Nu bike round” to take him for a spin, "kick taat" to kick start the bike and so on. He now identifies new bike & bullets, especially with its distinctive sound. He has also learned to list out some parts in a bike and a car. Future petrolhead for sure!
Apart from the great review of the bike, I loved this part.
Double congratulations on acquiring a sensible bike and exploring the petrolhead side of the kiddo

This bike makes so much sense for the daily commute + occasional trail rides. Keep munching miles and have fun !!
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Old 23rd September 2020, 19:15   #13
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Will the lack of radiator based cooling hinder this bike's long distance (>350km/day) cruising abilities?
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Old 23rd September 2020, 19:33   #14
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rshrey22 View Post
Will the lack of radiator based cooling hinder this bike's long distance (>350km/day) cruising abilities?
Nope, you just have to change the oil far earlier as opposed to a liquid cooled bike. Stops now and then help as with any machine.

Shady Congrats on the nu bike!
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Old 23rd September 2020, 20:50   #15
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Default Re: Review: My Hero Xpulse 200 (aka "Nu Bike")

Great review!

The Xpulse is a very competent product from Hero's stable, which needs more marketing.
A very close friend owns a green Xpulse, and it is always a pleasure to ride it. Apart from the need for some more power, it is a really good machine. Ergonomics are spot-on, riding comfort is excellent and that suspension is the best I've seen in this price range.

Wishing you and your little one many happy miles with the nu bike.
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