Hero has launched the Xtreme 200R as a step-up from the Xtreme Sports. Priced at Rs 88,000 ex-showroom approximately, the bike looks like an effort by its maker to expand reach into the emerging market of entry-level sports bikes, for example, the TVS Apache RTR series or the Bajaj Pulsar NS200. The 18.4bhp 149cc single cylinder air-cooled engine of the bike has been heavily reworked upon. It is a unit that is also found on the Achiever 150, but substantially tweaked to produce more power. Mated to a five-speed constant mesh transmission, the two-valve engine breathes through a carburettor. In terms of output, the power and torque figure indicate that the Apache RTR and NS200 have more power and torque at their disposal. But then, this is on paper.
In actual, the Xtreme 200R displays a good ability to accelerate. Moving away with verve, it gets the speedo needle to climb up with certain alacrity. Speeds in excess of 100kmph are achieved with fair ease with the engine close to its limit. The refinement that is experienced at idle retains itself for a good deal of the rev band. The exhaust note sounds promising. The Xtreme 200R is peppy and has a strong mid-range. The bike may lack the Apache RTR’s and Pulsar’s street racing stance, but performs well as a commuter bike. The good part is, the bike reminds of the CBZ Xtreme. Over time, the Xtreme 200R grows on the rider.
The riding position is commanding. The handlebar is conventional and isn’t set too low for make a sporting statement. The foot pegs are placed such that they make for a comfortable seating. The single seat is supportive. The commanding yet comfortable riding position of the bike stems from its appearance, which is not exceedingly sporty. There are some bits that look like they have been borrowed from the Xtreme Sports, but that’s about it. The digi-analogue instrument cluster with an analogue tacho and a blue backlit screen that features a speedo is simple. There’s a trip meter and an odo too bevsides a digital fuel gauge. Of the various warning lamps, one of the lamps --- a tiny orange one has ABS written on it. The Xtreme 200R marks the first ABS equipped bike from Hero. It is a single channel unit like that of the Pulsar NS200. The 276mm dia front and 220mm dia rear disc makes for precise and predictable braking experience. The front brake setup includes a steel braided hose.
Riding on 100/80-17 tyre at the front, and 130/70-R17 tyre at the rear (both are tubeless, and the rear tyre is a radial), the Xtreme 200R feels stable under a variety of riding conditions. It corners well enough to get the foot pegs scraping, even though it does not look like an out-and-out track machine. The good grip the tyres exert adds to the pleasure of riding this bike. Direction changes are achieved without trouble, the bike displaying good agility in the process. Quite likely the only bike to be offered by Hero with a 7 step adjustable monoshock rear suspension, in terms of ride, the Xtreme 200R is quite pliant too.
For those who are looking at moving up from 150cc machines, and yet not leave the side of practical biking (that translates into a week of commuting and a weekend of fun riding), the Xtreme 200R could fit the bill. For enthusiasts, the bike will not keep them from visiting the Bajaj Auto and TVS dealerships. But then, the Xtreme 200R makes an inviting option to those who are in search of a machine that combines practicality with performance.
Pros: Performance coupled with practicality, handling, ride, ABS