Hero MotoCorp is back in the premium commuter motorcycle segment with the company's first offering in the 160 cc motorcycle segment, with the new Hero Xtreme 160R. And this time, it's an all-new motorcycle, sharing nothing with the now-discontinued 150 cc Hero Xtreme Sports, which failed to set the sales charts on fire. Although a stylish and premium-looking product, the Hero Xtreme Sports wasn't known to have an engine which had the refinement or the agility to take on the competition. That is precisely what the new Xtreme 160R tries to address - engine refinement and dynamics.
Now, just before the new Bharat Stage 6 emission regulations come into force from April 1, 2020, Hero MotoCorp unveiled the brand new 160 cc motorcycle, reviving the Xtreme moniker, but this time, with a slightly bigger, new 160 cc engine, new chassis and with a new design. We briefly sampled the new Xtreme 160R to get a sense of what it offers, in a segment which already has two very likeable offerings in the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V and the Suzuki Gixxer.
How does it look?
In terms of design, the new Xtreme 160R looks sharp. The overall design definitely is likeable with its chiselled and sculpted angular lines which flow seamlessly with the stepped seat, straight to the tail section. The headlight is full LED, with a LED DRL, LED turn indicators and the taillight wears a blacked out look, and is LED as well. The instrument cluster is an inverted digital display, and the Xtreme 160R also offers a segment first side stand engine cut off, which will shut the engine off if the side stand is down and you engage a gear.
Suspension duties are handled by a 37 mm telescopic front fork, and a 7-step adjustable monoshock rear suspension. The 17-inch wheels are shod with MRF Nylogrip Zapper rubber with a 130 section rear tyre, and braking duties are handled by a 276 mm front disc with single-channel ABS, with the option of a rear petal disc or drum. Overall, the Xtreme 160R is well-equipped looks and feels modern, as a new entrant into the segment should look like.
How does it ride?
Our first ride was brief, out on the test track of Hero's Centre for Innovation and Technology (CIT) on the outskirts of Jaipur. But what we can say for certain is that the gruffness of the old 150 cc motor of the Xtreme Sports is immediately forgotten the moment you fire up the engine and start moving. The new 160 cc engine is smooth and refined, the riding position is comfortable, and the overall ergonomics are quite likeable and make the rider feel at ease and home within minutes of straddling the bike.
Out on the test track, the new Hero Xtreme 160R came across as an immediately likeable motorcycle. The engine is refined, acceleration is smooth, and the dynamics spot on. Although the test track didn't offer much to gauge ride quality, if it's one area where the Xtreme 160R really excels in, is in the handling department. The MRF tyres offer sticky and confident performance, even around the small turns around the test track, and the Xtreme 160R falls in and out of a set of corners with confident stability. While we will wait for a final verdict till we get to spend some more time with the new Xtreme 160R, our initial impressions are positive, and we can say with conviction that this is one very likeable motorcycle in the 160 cc segment. The competition just got more intense with the Hero Xtreme 160R. Hero MotoCorp finally has a product which will take the fight to the likes of the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, Suzuki Gixxer and the Yamaha FZ-S.