It’s true that the Xtreme 200R has been a little late to join the party. But, despite having a delayed start, the new street naked from Hero promises to shake up the 200cc premium commuter segment – that’s because it carries the Hero brand’s credibility and has a great value proposition, for it undercuts most of its rivals by a significant margin. However, are these factors enough to attract buyers to Hero MotoCorp’s showrooms?
You see, although the Hero Xtreme 200R is a 200cc motorcycle, Hero never claimed it to be a hard-core motorcycle for boy racers. Instead, the Xtreme 200R is positioned as a power commuter that clubs efficiency, comfort and performance in a fun-to-ride daily motorcycle. And, in that regard, it shines through. Its 199.6cc single-cylinder produces 18.2bhp of maximum power and 17.1Nm of torque. The refinement levels are very good, as the engine delivers power in a smooth and linear manner. The 5-speed gearbox as well as the clutch are in sync with the engine too, giving the whole drivetrain an effortless. In the ride and handling department, it gets even better. Even at the racetrack, the Xtreme felt planted and eager to go around bends. The front-end feel is really good, and the twin disc-setup, along with single channel ABS on the front wheel, is surprisingly efficient. The suspension is firm enough to let you enjoy a corner, but it doesn’t get unsettled or break your back when the going gets rough.
So, at this point, you must be wondering why it wasn’t placed better in this test. Well, there are a few reasons for that. First, the engine. While it is refined, it lacks grunt and has a weak top-end. Then there’s the gearing. We found the third and fourth gears to have tall ratios, and while this may be good for fuel efficiency, it kills acceleration when you ride spiritedly. This was particularly evident on corner exits, where the motorcycle would run out of steam. And for this very reason, it also turned out to be slower than some of the smaller capacity motorcycles here.
The biggest issue, however, is that the Xtreme 200R feels a bit misplaced in time – it’s looks, equipment and drivetrain, everything feels outdated in comparison to its newer rivals. Sure, it’s still a decent and very well-packaged product, but then in this day and age, customers of this segment are looking for a bit more than that.