Hero MotoCorp's Centre for Innovation and Technology is the birthplace of the Rally Kit for the Hero XPulse 200. It's exactly what the name implies - a manufacturer-provided sort-of, bolt-on kit to make the XPulse 200 closer to a real enduro bike rather than the 'adventure' tag it wears in stock form. Yes, the stock Hero XPulse 200 is pretty capable off-road, and can be an absolute hoot to ride some dirt trails with. You can check out our review to see what all it's capable of doing off-road. But then, Hero MotoSports is a full-fledged rally team, with a Dakar Rally team as well, and with the XPulse entering local rallies and performing quite satisfactorily, a decision was taken to take the XPulse 200's off-road capability a few notches up. And so, boom! Enter the Hero XPulse 200 Rally Kit.
Also Read: Hero XPulse 200 Review
What is it?
The Rally Kit essentially gets rally-spec knobby tyres, longer gear lever for easy use with thick off-road boots, and handlebar risers for easy reach when riding standing up, as well as a flat and taller seat, which offers more room and easy accessibility for the rider to move around. But the most important change is the new longer suspension, which allows for higher and bigger jumps, if you're inclined towards that sort of thing, and more ground clearance to go over, almost anything - rocks, humps, and the like. So, front suspension travel now goes up to 250 mm from the stock 190 mm, and rear suspension travel goes up to 220 mm, up from the stock 170 mm. Ground clearance has also gone up from the stock 220 mm to 275 mm now, and the seat height gets a 110 mm increase to 933 mm.
Also Read: Hero XPulse 200 Rally Kit Priced At ₹ 38,000
So, it's quite tall, as real enduro bikes are, but Hero decided not to just make it as close to rally-spec, but also homologate it for use in the real world. So, the XPulse Rally Kit is road-legal - meaning it can be used on the street, and it's also been homologated by the FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India), so it can be used for any motorsport event. What the Rally Kit doesn't include is the Akrapovic exhaust, although Hero has said that a more affordable exhaust is under development. The XPulse 200 Rally Kit is tall, but it's as close to a real rally bike you can get, with just a fraction of the cost. With just ₹ 38,000, you get the tall suspension, handlebar risers, new seat, gear lever, longer kickstand and those knobby tyres, which frankly is a lot of kit for the kind of money you spend.
The Rally Kit Story
The Hero XPulse 200 Rally Kit had quite a few contributions, notably from Hero MotoSports, the motorsport wing of Hero, and with significant contribution from rally riders and individuals with a lot of off-road experience. So, there's David Lopez, who actually rode the XPulse Rally Kit around Jaipur to look at the range of adjustments required. Lopez heads chassis development at Hero MotoCorp, and had spent almost two decades with British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph, and is largely regarded as the engineer behind the chassis and suspension design and development of bikes like the Triumph Tiger 800. Sathyaraj Arumugam, Hero Factory Test Rider and rally rider, did the real life testing of the kit, and CS Santhosh did the final validation, together with Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager of Hero Motosports.
How does it ride?
It's a tall bike, the Hero XPulse with the Rally Kit, and if you're only comfortable with both feet planted on the ground, you will find the XPulse Rally Kit daunting. Our first ride was limited to just three laps around the dirt track at the CIT, with the pace progressively increased. The rally-prepped test bike also came with a 12-teeth front sprocket and a 40-teeth rear sprocket, which offers more low-end grunt. But it's the combination of the long travel suspension and the knobby tyres which make a world of difference in the dirt. There's more than enough traction, and the long travel suspension offers superb confidence, whether taking a turn around a berm, or while negotiating the numerous jumps which some of us gingerly attempted.
Our limited time with the Hero XPulse Rally Kit wasn't much to really dwell on its strengths and weaknesses in detail. But one thing is certain - for ₹ 38,000, the Rally Kit offers a superb platform at a budget for riders looking to get serious about off-road enduro riding. A demonstration ride by David Lopez and Sathyaraj Arumugam revealed that in the right hands, the XPulse Rally Kit can easily take on big jumps, with relative ease, and will offer just the perfect platform for riders looking to explore serious off-road riding and even competitive events. But for regular riders, or those who may not be looking to explore serious off-road riding, the XPulse Rally Kit may be just too daunting a prospect. But for those looking to up their game off-road riding, even if it's just for fun, it's a superb package, even with the humble performance of the XPulse 200's engine. We can't wait to get our hands on the Rally Kit, to spend some more seat, and hopefully air time, for a full review.