Hero Xpulse 200 4V Review: First Ride

By Aditya Jadhav | on January 18, 2022

Since its debut in 2019, the Hero Xpulse 200 has received timely updates. And despite the numerous changes, the Xpusle 200 has remained a favourite of hardcore off-road enthusiasts. But has it changed now?

The phrase ‘ahead of its time’ is common in automotive journalism, but most of us use it for well-crafted pieces of engineering, for instance, a supercar or a very fancy motorcycle. Very rarely, the phrase is used for a mass-market player, especially an Indian one.

Looking back…

Hero has been playing the ‘ahead of its time’ game since the late 90s when the brand launched the CBZ – which offered a good blend of sportiness and everyday commuting. It was soon followed by the Hero Honda Karizma in the 2000s, which kick-started the premium sports bike segment.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V And Hero Impulse Three Quarter Static

In 2011, the brand bravely launched the Hero Impulse, which was targeted towards a niche audience, but, then, due to lack of demand, the motorcycle was pulled off the production line.

Within a decade, Hero repeated history with the Xpulse 200, and the motorcycle received a more-than-warm welcome. However, by now the affordable adventure motorcycle segment was populated with various options, but the only key element that always favoured the Xpulse 200 since its debut in mid-2019 was its pricing. 

Hero Xpulse 200 4V And Hero Impulse Riding Shot

A 200cc do-it-all motorcycle for the price of a decent 150cc motorcycle was something new, and this is what helped the Xpulse attract customers. Now, Hero has improved the package with new engine internals and a few minor changes here and there. So, let’s dive in deep to find out if the changes make any difference to the bike or are just another marketing exercise.

The heart job

The earlier two-valve head has been replaced by a four-valve head in the new Xpulse 200 4V, which has changed the engine’s behaviour for the better. The engine now revs freely and is always eager to hit the limiter – even the power delivery is smoother and constant. And while the engine design is the same as before, a lot of engine internals have been upgraded.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Engine Details

One of the many improvements to the engine is the new clutch assembly. Simply put, during our test, I was able to operate it with a light hand in heavy traffic; however, a more pronounced clutch bite would have been better. 

The radiator for the oil-cooling system is now substantially larger than that of the 2V model, which is a thoughtful addition, given that riders may end up being a bit har on the engine, as it is rev friendly now. 

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Larger Radiator Details

A new box

The mechanicals and thermal efficiency of the engine have been improved, resulting in increased power output. But what good is all that power if the gearbox saps it all? Well, Hero has given it a thought and reworked the gear ratios. The first gear is now spread wider, which allows you to put down torque for a longer duration, without needing to urgently shift to second gear. The second and the third gear ratios are shorter than before, but you will hardly notice it. The fourth and the fifth gear ratios are spread evenly and are quite correctly matched to the higher-revving nature of the new four-valve engine.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Rear Sprocket Details

Hero has also added a larger 45-teeth (driven) sprocket in the final drive ratio, which ensures that you are never short on torque, especially when you need it. The engine remains stable even when it’s ridden in higher gears at slow speeds. You can also pick up pace in third gear at 25km/hr, without needing a down-shift. Even at triple-digit speeds, the engine only shows mild discomfort, but that is only because the Xpulse 200 4V is still a sub-20bhp motorcycle, and have 150cc motorcycles that are inching closer to that power output.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Tracking Three Quarter

And it’s possible that Hero is trying to fix that with a larger capacity adventure motorcycle with more power, which will rival the likes of the Royal Enfield Himalayan, KTM 390 Adventure, and BMW G310 GS. But that is a discussion for another day.

New manners

The Hero Xpulse 200 4V is a direct rival to the Honda CB 200X, which is a road-going motorcycle turned ADV. The 200cc class also caters to users who use their motorcycles on weekdays for the daily commute and on weekends for some light adventure. So, mostly, these bikes remain in an urban environment, making the road manners of a motorcycle pivotal in choosing a motorcycle. That said, Hero has reworked the suspension and brakes of the new Xpulse 200 4V, which are now more tarmac friendly.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Front Brake Details

Despite the suspension hardware being the same, there are some changes in the overall suspension tuning, which have made the overall ride quality slightly softer. Especially with a pillion passenger, the softness of the rear mono-shock becomes quite evident. The feel of the brake has changed as well. While the front braking system works perfect as before, the rear has a more progressive feel to it, which is more suited for the tarmac. Off-road, the braking system needs a little getting used to, as locking and sliding the rear end of the bike becomes a bit of a task.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Seat Details

Hero has increased the saddle height by 2mm, taking it to 825mm – it has been achieved by adding some foam in the seat, which is now firmer and has a more decisive division between the rider and the pillion sections. The revised seating has also enhanced the rider’s triangle to a certain degree, and the firmness of the seat is quite supportive.

The motorcycle also features an updated headlamp assembly, which offers 20 per cent more brightness than its predecessor. The throw of light is denser, but the spread is the same. That said, it would have been better if the headlamp covered a bit more ground in its range.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Tracking Three Quarter 1

Hero has also offered new switch gears with the new motorcycle. The Xpulse 200 4V gets a conventional ‘pass’ switch, just like other motorcycles, which is a boon for new riders. The previous model had the ‘pass’ switch integrated into the high-low beam switch, which was to be operated with the left thumb. The self-start and engine-kill functions are now integrated into one switch – a feature that is more or less exclusive to premium motorcycles. However, the quality of the new switchgear has gone down – their touch and feel are not as crisps as they use to be.

Final thoughts

After two attempts, Hero has managed to get the Xpulse to its best form yet. The first one was the BS4 model and the second one was the BS6 model, which is still on sale. What’s to be appreciated here is that after two attempts, the motorcycle has shown a substantial difference over the previous models and raised the benchmark even higher.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Wheelie Shot

If truth be told, Hero could have created an interesting affordable adventure motorcycle if it had given similar attention to the Hero Impulse back in the day, and by now the Impulse / Xpulse name would have entered into the sub-450cc rally category.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V Front Three Quarter Static

The Impulse, even in its first and only avatar was the go-to motorcycle of most off-road and rally enthusiasts. Of course, one could argue that enthusiasts used the Karizma’s engine and gearbox with the Impulse’s chassis, but that is a different conversation altogether. The Hero Impulse was an off-road motorcycle that could very well double as a daily commuter. 

The Hero Xpusle 200, when it was launched, tried very hard to replicate other ADVs, and at an absurdly cheap cost – Rs 99,000 (ex-showroom) for the carburettor variant – which was misunderstood as value-for-money.

Hero Xpulse 200 4V And Hero Impulse Side Shot Static

Today, the Hero Xpusle 200 4V has been improved a lot, but not without an increased price, which is close to 30 per cent more than its earlier price. However, given its performance, useability, and everything else that it has to offer, the bike is worth every penny you shell out. The Hero Xpulse 200 4V, then, has become a motorcycle that is a good everyday runabout. And its off-road abilities? Well, it was already good at that, and it still is.

  • Hero Xpulse 200 4V

Engine: 199.6cc / Single Cylinder / Oil-Cooled

Transmission: 5-Speed

Power: 18.8bhp at 8,500rpm

Torque: 17.35Nm at 6,500rpm

Price: ₹1.28 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)

X-Factor: The price-to-fun ratio of the Xpulse 200 4V is the best in the segment.

Pros           
•  Valve for money

•  Improved highway manners

Cons
• Questionable quality

• Needs more power

Also Read:

Al-Attiyah, Sunderland win Dakar Rally 2022; Hero MotoSports in top 20

Honda CB200X vs Hero Xpulse 200: Spec comparison

Tags: Hero hero xpulse 200 4v

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