Hero MotoCorp finally makes its move into the popular 160 cc motorcycle segment with the all-new Hero Xtreme 160R. It's a bike which immediately impressed us during our very brief first ride earlier this year at Hero's Global Centre for Innovation and Technology in Jaipur. And now, we get to spend some time with the new Xtreme 160R out in the real world to see what exactly it offers, and if it packs enough punch in all aspects to take the fight to established rivals in its segment.
Also Read: Hero Xtreme 160R First Ride Review
It's got the look
The Hero Xtreme 160R is definitely one of the best looking motorcycles in Hero MotoCorp's portfolio right now. It looks sharp and sporty, with a muscular front end, and is well-proportioned, giving it a sporty stance even when standing still. The fuel tank with the bulky skirt running along the length of the tank down to the side panel is the unique design element giving the Xtreme 160R a sense of uniqueness and muscle.
The face is modern, with an LED headlight that adds a tinge of aggression. The LED daytime running lights (DRL), LED turn indicators, and the blacked-out LED taillight give it a sense of premium-ness. The instrument console is digital, with two trip meters, a fuel gauge, and the usual odometer, speedometer, rev counter and clock; all par for the course in the segment.
However, the side-stand indicator is a handy feature, and it cuts off the engine, if you engage a gear when the side stand is down. A few additional features would have certainly made the Xtreme 160R's case better. A gear position indicator is missed, and fuel consumption readings would have definitely added more value and bragging rights as having best-in-class features.
The chiselled bodywork underscores the street naked design theme, but it may not be to everyone's liking. To my eyes, the only thing that looks slightly out of place is the shape of the plastic mudflap at the rear, which mounts the rear indicators and the number plate. But overall, the design is pleasing to the eye. To me, it's definitely one of the best looking motorcycles in Hero's product line-up, but others may argue, that the Xtreme 160R has a slightly over-the-top design treatment.
It rides well, too!
Straight off the bat, the Hero Xtreme 160R comes across as a friendly and light motorcycle. The two-valve engine is smooth, and acceleration is quite decent. The engine sounds good, and feels refined, and even the exhaust note is nice with just the right amount of bass. It's nice if not the best, and in-gear acceleration is without drama and peppy even. The 163 cc engine makes 15 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 14 Nm of peak torque at 6,500 rpm; figures which are better than several rivals, and makes for a peppy feel coupled with the low kerb weight of 139.5 kg. The engine is tuned for a strong low and mid-range, so that actually works pretty well, so long as you're not in a hurry to get to triple digit speeds.
Sixty kilometres per hour comes quickly, and the dash to 80 doesn't feel very lethargic either. It's only when you chase hundred and above, that the Xtreme 160R begins to let you down. On a closed road with a slightly sloping gradient, I managed to clock 115 kmph, and given a slightly longer stretch, I suspect the Xtreme 160R will manage to touch 117 kmph as well. You can ride it all day without the engine straining at 65-70 kmph, and even 85 kmph, without any apparent effort. Even 100 kmph is achieved without fuss, but things to tend to take time at speeds beyond 100. But where the Xtreme 160R absolutely excels is the way it tackles quick direction changes. It feels light, it's nimble and it's agile, and especially in traffic, it's very easy to manouevre.
It's priced well too, but...
If you look at the long list of rivals; Yamaha FZ, TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, Suzuki Gixxer, Bajaj Pulsar NS160 and even the Honda X-Blade, every single motorcycle brand has milked the 160 cc motorcycle segment. And these are motorcycles which all look good, built well, and also have good riding dynamics. That's not to say the Hero Xtreme 160R falls short in any aspect. It definitely has everything going for it; it's a well-engineered product, and one of the best-looking motorcycles from Hero right now. And coupled with excellent road manners and an engine that offers very good fuel efficiency, there seems to be no stopping this Hero to the top of the sales charts. But it still doesn't undercut the Yamaha FZ in pricing, the bike that started the streetfighter trend in the segment. More aggressive pricing definitely would have helped the Xtreme 160R's case better.
As the old adage goes, timing is everything. And despite making an immediate impression, the biggest challenge the Hero Xtreme 160R will face is the timing of its launch. But in the end, what left me thinking is what's missing in the Xtreme 160R as a product. There's no doubt that it's a very good bike, with performance and handling that is immediately likeable, and it has all the qualities to appeal to potential buyers.
And then it struck me; if it was launched five years ago, the Hero Xtreme 160R could have possibly set a new benchmark in the segment. But it's 2020 now, and there are established rivals, definitely as good as the Xtreme 160R, if not better. The only thing that the Xtreme 160R lacks is that spark, that special feeling that makes you go, wow! And that can make all the difference between a very good and a truly special motorcycle.
(Photography: Mukul Rautela)
|Engine Displacement||163 cc|
|Engine Type||Two-valve, air-cooled, SOHC|
|Maximum Power||15 bhp @ 8,500 rpm|
|Peak Torque||14 Nm @ 6,500 rpm|
|Kerb Weight||138.5 kg (drum) / 139.5 kg (disc)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||12 litres|
|Ground Clearance||167 mm|
|Front Suspension||37 mm telescopic|
|Rear Suspension||7-step adjustable monoshock|
|Front Brake||276 mm petal disc, single-channel ABS|
|Rear Brake||220 mm petal disc / 130 mm drum|
|Front Wheel Size||100/80-17 (Tubeless tyre)|
|Rear Wheel Size||130/70-17 (Tubeless tyre)|
|Price (Rear Drum)||₹ 99,950 (Ex-showroom, Delhi)|
|Price (Rear Disc)||₹ 1,03,500 (Ex-showroom, Delhi)|