‘Get the basics right’ – business gurus around the world live by this mantra. If you get the fundamentals of a product right, there’s a good possibility that success will come knocking at your door. And, although it appears straightforward, not everyone gets ‘the basics right.’ In the auto industry, we see so many products fail simply because of this very reason. You can offer a million things with a product, but if it lacks the fitness of purpose, it won’t be well received by customers.
However, from time-to-time, we do come across products that pay extra attention to the small details. And this brings us to Hero’s all-new streetfighter – the Xtreme 160R. On the face of it, it’s just another premium offering in the 150 to 200cc segment, which is already very crowded with some quite competent products. You might think that the Xtreme is just another face in the crowd, a forgetful 150cc offering, built only to bring in volumes for the brand. However, surprisingly, the moment you ride it, you realize just what a good product it really is.
Like any other street naked in the segment, the Xtreme 160R is aimed at youngsters and college-goers. This breed of riders can also be classified as newcomers – the ones who are motorcycle enthusiasts but are still learning the ropes of motorcycling. What they want is a good looking and pocket-friendly motorcycle that gets the basics right, i.e. handling, engine performance, and fuel efficiency. Now, with the Xtreme 160R, Hero has nailed all three of them – and how!
With its Robocop-like face, LED lighting all around, and smoked tail lamp, the Xtreme 160R is a stylish and aggressive roadster. It’s petite and proportionate, with just the right dimensions. There are sporty decals all around, but there is a sense of subtlety about them. It’s powered by a 163cc single-cylinder engine, which has been built from the ground up. It may only have 15bhp and 14Nm on offer, but its low- and mid-range performance is quite sprightly. It’s also very refined for the most part, and you only feel the pegs and handlebar buzz at high rpm.
What’s absolutely stellar about the Xtreme 160R is its handling. You see, at 138 kilos, it’s a very light motorcycle, thanks to an all-new diamond frame. And this means that it handles beautifully. The front end has a lot of feel to it and puts a wide grin on your face every time you go corner carving. After a few laps around the BIC, Simran was singing its praises: ‘The handling is really good, it turns in quickly, and the front end is always planted. I wish it had more power, though, as everything appeared to be going in slow motion.’ Well, being a superbike racer, it’s obvious for Simran to feel that way. Having said that, we do feel that its chassis can handle more power.
Now, sure, it’s not a perfect motorcycle, but then what is? A perfect motorcycle exists only in theory. The quality of plastics and fit-and-finish (weld quality, exposed wiring) aren’t the best in the segment, but it isn’t a shoddily built motorcycle either. Also, it offers great value for your money, and, above all, the Xtreme 160R gets the basics right. And that’s what makes it a deserving recipient of our ‘Best of 2020’ award.