My Hero XPulse 200: The good & not so good after 4000 kms of riding

In the years to come, the Xpulse will be discussed by many at length. It’s a good bike, something one would like to be regularly riding sans any worries.

BHPian tatafanatic recently shared this other enthusiasts.


An adrift rumor in the campus was some olives were garnering undue attention from the ‘other side’ when they went about tromping their bikes, this was unacceptable!! I mean if jumping from helo’s, getting cramped into rakshaaks and being ridden in ambulances didn’t pump our adrenaline enough the above most definitely did, we needed to make an impact and we needed to do it fast so we got ‘Chetaks’ and them all in maroon.

Not sure how much impressing I managed with the ‘other side’ but 6 years of ownership saw me and my Chetak go from Udhampur to Kohima, Jodhpur to Bangalore and once in spirit of adventure I took my newlywed wife from Bangalore to Guwahati. The scooter stood test of time and so did my marriage thanks to almighty!! Oh once we 5 buds rode our respective Chetaks from New Delhi to Thimphu!! That was something indeed.

In test of time, I was on deputation in Israel when my superior one Col. Benny G introduced me to the world of motorcycling, Col. G had two mint conditioned Triumph Tigers, one of which he graciously lent to me for my entire period of deputation, and in no time myself, my wife, Col. G and Mrs. Capt G became biker buddies. I vowed to get myself a Triumph one day but in hustle bustle of uniform life that followed, those vows remained a distant dream.

PS (I motorcycled entire Israel and then Jordan on the Tiger, how I managed to enter Jordan was another story but that’s classified!!, even for the Jordanians !!)

Revisiting my vows:

The day I hanged uniform for good I was all set to go for the Tiger, by now Triumph had made good in India. I had a few buddies with Triumph’s who sang praises like a canary. But then a medical complication happened, surgery followed, lengthy recuperation followed which killed the enthusiasm of becoming a biker with several restrictions on plate and hawkeyed wife keeping tabs. The best thing of the recuperation process was ‘CYCLING’ (last week we 7 pals returned cycling 2210 kms across Northeast India, more on that when I pen my travelogue).

As recuperation ended my wild travel fantasies returned from hibernation and I was all set to get wild pair of wheels, post much research and guidance from knowledgeable members on this forum the Isuzu Highlander was shortlisted, I paid the deposit and was awaiting delivery when one of my ex CO’s from maroons came visiting, post retirement he had consumed his life for welfare of veterans and as we got talking the financial crunch he was facing came evident, did some pondering and went back and forth over more pondering and cancelled the Isuzu deal (with deep appreciation I must say the dealer not only returned my deposit money but gave me cheque of 3k for veteran welfare!!) with the money for the vehicle now put to good use in able hands I got to cycling, cycling bought back the old flavor for two wheels and after a good time the brain began playing mischief so the below.

The Xpluse story:

It was clear whatever two-wheeler I’d get would be second fiddle to cycling so Triumph option was shot down. I have disdain for Royal Enfield and its brethren, albeit two of my seniors are avid RE riders, even in prime of their career they dumped official paraphernalia traveling to work and around on REs, when bike predicament was shared with them, they tried their best to sway me towards the Himalayan and if not for my diabolic disdain the Himalayan would have graced my garage as it’s a very competent machine.

The usual suspects and unusual super ‘hero’ (bike had to be an Indian brand)

Bajaj Dominar 400 – If the Chetak could travel pan India in 90’s of India then Dominar could even go to the moon I thought after a patient ear to the sublime explanation by the Sales guy, didn’t understand a word but loved the test ride, the bike fit perfect to my frame, wife hated the pillion seat though. Was keen on it but devil is in the numbers, the sales of the bike didn’t impress me much plus the Sales rep was honest enough to tell finding good hands in town and district for running maintenance was a task. Kept this option on hold

Mahindra Mojo – Chances of me encountering a Yeti in the Himalaya’s are more then scouting an operating dealership.

Jawa & Yezdi – Found them half-baked attempts made to dent RE market, I might be wrong but i didn’t really find them worth the ask in monetary terms.

TVS Sadle – Only good thing coming from the TVS dealership was the sales rep telling me to check out the Xpluse as he’d just quit Hero dealership coming to TVS in search of greener pastures!!

Hero Xpluse - From Triumph to Isuzu still has some ring to ears but from there to Hero definitely doesn’t, didn’t and won’t but I am a telling the tale, the 200 2V was disappointment as it just didn’t ring the bells of possible ownership, here I must thank the sales rep who requested me to hang around for the 2004V which was as per him free of all the niggles of the 2V and to be launched just on the anvil. That tip did me world of good.

The Xpulse:

No drama, no hoopla. The dealer gave a date, the bike arrived on the date, I took the delivery rode it to a temple of choice, took the Almighty’s blessings and Hail Mary.

Its been 4k kms of riding experience and my words of wisdom are:

The Goods:

  • Smooth, nuisance free engine – As preparation rep for our Northeast cycling sojourn we 4 buddies cycled over 300kms every weekend alternating at every 150km mark, the Xpluse came as the alternate transport and after good amount of time spent on it, the bike came across as fuss free and smooth rider, has a good low grunt (albeit the engine stalls at very low speed), a decent mid-range and satisfactory high pitch (my go to speed in the hills and around is 70kmph).
  • Competent braking - The odd fools come from every direction unannounced and in some urgent braking scenarios the bike gave competent response, on one occasion I had to hard brake on wet roads in crazy mountain rain’s, but it worked well.
  • Easy on pockets – Now my go to speed is 70kmph so I get a good 52kmpl, I have heard some have managed better and some poorer but mean stands at 45-48kmpl, so I guess its borderline frugal. Maybe in today’s world anything below 50kmpl is crime but that’s what one pays in name of enthusiasm by cutting corners elsewhere. Spares are easy on pockets too.
  • Headache free service – One good thing from Hero stable is sans drama service, if it works well in a hilly region of North India, I assume it would be better in metro’s and bigger cities, I also see a good number of models on road, so I assume the service part has been sorted by the manufacturer.
  • Good built – For a dirt bike the calling is good, the body parts don’t shake when you rough it out, holds well, nothing comes falling in the harness post a ride in the hills, the machine is good fitment for purpose.
  • Head turner – In the years to come, the Xpulse will be discussed by many at length. It’s a good bike, something one would like to be regularly riding sans any worries.

The Not So Goods:

  • Headlight – Pathetic, the throw is horrible the reach is sad and it’s like Madam Currie walking down the stairs with a candle situation in the nights, I changed them with Nighteye. (Was changed by a member from cycling gang who runs auto accessories store, so I don’t know specifications but the throw and illumination is powerful and good).
  • The missing middle stand – just as road cycles don’t have a side stand, I was told dirt bikes don’t have a middle one, now I have dropped my road bike many times thanks to being forgetful about the missing stand here I remind myself daily that it’s no use shaking my leg underneath the bike searching for the middle stand. Not a deal braker probably the competition does the same however taking the bike out from tough spots requires strength.
  • Where’s neutral – another constant niggle is juggling to find the neutral. It’s tiring, irritating and at times unnerving, we are now in 2022, Cochin Ship Yard constructed INS Vikrant and Hero motors are still struggling to make a bike which sits highest in asking to get correct neutral. Pretty sad state of affairs from their engineering, however the local mechanic says he will get that sorted soon.
  • The electronics display – I am too old and fussy for downloading an app and making amends considering all I want is simple display but that’s what one gets today in name of technology, the toggle switches on the display panel are outright cheap plastic and could have been better, however the illumination of the display unit is good and not imposingly bright. I am not sure what the front plastic visor does as it’s just a cosmetic feature at best.
  • The Pillion comfort saga – coming from saddle of a road cycle absolutely anything with cushion is heaven but pillions who’d join me found the seat lacking comfort over say 50odd kms, probably a cushion seat cover will resolve the issue.
  • Some odd pockets - In last two pics i have marked them areas where one needs to put an effort to clean, normally after ride in rains water stagnates in those nooks and crannies and i have punched a hole beneath for water to flow out
  • Recommendation – Definite Yes.

Its pocket friendly at an asking price of 1.67 lakhs which is a lakh or so cheaper than the Himalayan and more coffers v/s the Duke 390 Adventure or Suzuki Vstrom 250, the saving in buying cost are substantial.

Its nimble to ride, doesn’t cause stress and doesn’t need calculus whilst overtaking, has good grip with tyres and competent braking mechanism, fitment to purpose sake it’s a very good attempt from Hero and I think it will get them good returns, I have read a bigger version with higher engine capacity is coming soon so could be something worth waiting.

Hero Motors service is headache free; I have heard tales of trouble from Bajaj and TVS owners, and I have had a wonderful experience so far with Hero motors. Maybe they learnt it right from the Japanese.

Not looking at any cosmetic changes barring a better seat cover or seat itself. A long ride to the national capital is on anvil so some more biking will happen. Till then it’s all roger.

No interesting anecdotes here but plenty on the cycling sojourn of North East which hopefully I will pen down soon and trust would be a good read as we had lots of fun and blast cycling in utmost treacherous conditions questioning our preparation apparatus of 4 odd months, as they say ‘Man proposes God disposes’!!

Some parting pics:

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

A helmet will save your life