To an enthusiast, motorcycles are the biggest source of joy! And then comes social media! Lets' face it! We all like it when our posts on Twitter and Instagram cross a certain number of likes, when our videos fetch a certain number of views. And one of the good things to have come from social media is the 'Wheelie Wednesday' concept. I never got around to being a part of it until one fine day, I happened to ride the Hero XPulse 200. Light, purpose-built and it felt solid too. I had my share of shenanigans astride the XPulse 200 when I rode it first at the press ride. Our motorcycle boss man, Preetam Bora wanted a piece of the fun too. And the first thought that came to our minds was "Why not pit it against the Royal Enfield Himalayan?" Make sense? Both are light, solidly built and are easy to manage when going off-road. So, we got the two motorcycles and headed to our favourite off-road spot and had a tonne of fun! And got a bunch of photos for 'Wheelie Wednesday' too!
Also Read: Hero XPulse 200 Review
Yes they do! I mean I don't care how I turn up at work, but on a motorcycle, it does matter! Preetam is even more fastidious in that regard and both motorcycles make us look really good, especially on one wheel. I am sorry, I know we are supposed to talk about the bikes, but got carried away! So, the XPulse and the Himalayan! Both are bare-bones, purpose-built, have dual-purpose tyres, wire-spoked wheels and ready to take on the rough.
But if I were a lady motorcycle enthusiast or just a lady, I would sit on the rear seat of the Himalayan! It looks more rugged and Spartan as compared to the XPulse! If I had to give you an example, consider the movie 'Dishoom' starring John Abraham and Varun Dhawan. Both have great physiques, are bonafide action heroes but in the end John is the one Jacqueline Fernandes goes out with! So in this case, the Himalayan is John Abraham and the XPulse 200 is Varun Dhawan. The Hero XPulse is not a bad-looking motorcycle. The round headlamp with an LED daytime running lamp and the windscreen along with the high set mudguard gives is a dirt-bike kind of a look. It is lean and mean but not quite the lead movie star like the Himalayan is!
So, we headed towards our favourite off-road haunt, we couldn't help but push the bikes and see how they did on tarmac! Preetam was on the XPulse and I was on the Himalayan. Needless to say, the Himalayan's performance had more punch thanks to a bigger engine and more power and torque! It had better pickup and a higher top end! But the XPulse pulled one back with better handling and being substantially lighter (About 40 kg lighter).
This means that it is easier to throw into corners and filter through traffic. But if you are one of those who like to write #wanderlust in your bio and like touring, the Himalayan is the better option. It has a plusher seat and more power too. The long-stroke 411 cc engine means that the bike can sustain higher speeds at lower revs. But the XPulse 200 is tangibly smoother and is happier doing a city runabout!
|Specifications||Hero XPulse 200||Royal Enfield Himalayan|
|Displacement||199.6 mm, SOHC||411 cc, SOHC|
|Max Power||18 bhp @ 8,000 rpm||24.5 bhp @ 6,500 rpm|
|Max Torque||17.1 Nm @ 6,500 rpm||32 Nm @ 4,250-4,500 rpm|
|Ground Clearance||220 mm||220 mm|
|Kerb weight||154 kg wet||194 kg wet|
|Starting Price (Ex-Delhi)||₹ 97,000 (two variants)||₹ 1.67 lakh (two variants)|
|ABS||Yes (Single-Channel on Front Wheel)||Yes (Dual-Channel)|
|F/R Suspension||37 mm, 190 mm travel/monoshock, 170 mm travel||41 mm, 200 mm travel/ monoshock, 180 mm travel|
|F/R Brakes||276 mm disc/ 220 mm disc||300 mm disc/240 mm disc|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||13 litres||15 litres|
Also Read: Royal Enfield Himalayan vs BMW G 310 GS
Both motorcycles are light and built in a way that inspires confidence among new riders. While we had a fair idea of how the Himalayan takes on the rough, we were itching to see how the XPulse fared! It was time to subject it to our jump test. So, off went Preetam and did about 10 jumps to get that perfect shot. Preetam got his shot in the third try and the next seven tries were basically him having fun! I did my share of jumps too and I had a few more tries than Preetam (I was having fun too!) Then we let the bikes loose on super loose sand.
Both motorcycles offer decent grip and they run on CEAT Gripp XL tyres. The Himalayan felt a little more composed while landing thanks to its bigger forks and more travel and if you are going up a sandy incline, the bottom end torque comes in quicker than on the XPulse, giving the motorcycle the much needed shove!
Thanks to its lighter weight, the XPulse feels easier to handle on rough terrain. Plus, it is easier to slide around too thanks to the single-channel ABS which works only on the front wheel. It has a slightly stiffer suspension with lesser travel so landings could be a little rough. But, the motorcycle never ever shied away from a jump. In fact, we will say that the Hero XPulse 200 matches the Himalayan on every step! And the build quality is commendable too. Half a day of riding off-road with numerous jumps, wheelies and what not and not a single rattle, nothing came loose off the motorcycle, speaks a lot about how solidly it is built.
The XPulse 200 scores higher here too. It gets a fully digital instrument panel with Bluetooth connectivity and turn by turn navigation. You can use the 'Hero RideGuide' app to pair your smartphone with the motorcycle and get navigation assist. Sure, it is no Google Maps, but it does the job. The Himalayan gets a part digital part analogue instrument console where the digital bit shows information such as temperature, time, trip and odometer along with the gear position as well. There is in fact, a compass as well, but it was faulty we believe.
I pointed the bike in the direction of the setting sun and it said east! And we would have loved it if the Himalayan had the option of switching off the dual-channel ABS. It would have a big difference to the 'fun factor', helping us off-road noobs sliding the bike around for #SlidingIntoTheWeekend Instagram post.
Both motorcycles are solidly built. The Himalayan was the first budget dual-purpose ADV which made off-roading accessible to the masses. It has decent power and is well-equipped too plus it can go over anything you point it at. At ₹ 1.67 lakh the Himalayan is a lot of bike at not too much money. The Hero XPulse 200 is a pleasant surprise. It is solidly built and is a great motorcycle if you have just begun riding off-road.
There are a bunch of features and the motorcycle does very well be it on city roads or light trails. At ₹ 97,000, it is the most affordable adventure bike that one can buy in the country today. Our only grouse is the power and torque! 5 bhp and 10 Nm more and the XPulse would have been the better bike in this comparison. As of now, we will call it a close, very close tie!