Last month, I decided to take the keys to our long-term Xpulse 200 from Divyank because I wanted to hit some local trails and improve my off-road riding skills. It only took a ride home for me to realise why the Xpulse is such a fun machine! Despite having off-road focussed hardware, the Xpulse works brilliantly for daily commutes. It’s compact, the handling is nippy, the suspension is taut, the gear ratios are closely matched, and the brakes are precise and effective. Slicing it through traffic is, surprisingly, fun.
Having said that, the engine has high NVH levels, especially when it revs beyond 5,000rpm. And the other thing is that it doesn’t really perform like a 200cc engine – it feels like a 150cc one! The acceleration isn’t up to the mark (for a 200cc bike), and it struggles to go past 110km/h on the speedo. And at three-digit speeds, the powertrain sounds quite coarse. You can’t tour on this motorcycle.
So, what is it for? Well, it’s a great learning tool for someone who wants to learn the ropes of off-road riding. It’s light, agile, and the weight distribution is spot-on. On top of that, it's abuse resistant. You can drop it as many times as you want, and it won’t hurt your pocket at all. The Xpulse is not a perfect bike. But, after being locked in my house for more than a month now, I very well know that I’d happily hack a limb or two for an opportunity to take it on a long ride!
When it came: November 2019
Current Odo reading: 2,107kms
Mileage this month: 244kms
Fuel efficiency: 35km/l
What’s good: Off-road dynamics, lightweight
What’s not: Engine vibrations, weak top-end
Also read - Hero Xpulse 200 FI Long Term Report: March 2020