Hero Mavrick 440 Review: Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Killer?

  • Feb 20, 2024
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The Mavrick 440 takes all the sweetness of the Harley-Davidson X440 up a notch

The 300-500cc segment is quite an aspirational but achievable one in India. Moving on from your 125-150cc bike onto a bike in this segment is not only special, but it feels like an achievement, that of getting your first ‘big bike’. Finally getting into a space that you had always dreamt of as a kid. And that is exactly why this space is an extremely competitive one as well. And to get a slice of that very pie, Hero has arrived onto the scene with the Mavrick 440 and there’s only one thing that needs to be answered about it. Will it make the kid inside you, who dreamt of owning relatively bigger bikes, happy? 

Yeah it looks elegant but…

A lot of that special feeling I talked about comes from the looks. There’s no denying that the Hero Mavrick 440’s neo-retro styling looks quite nice. My only issue is… it’s not anything new. People have compared the Mavrick’s design to the likes of the TVS Raider, Honda CB300R and even the TVS Ronin, and while I don’t agree, you do feel that this design is an amalgamation of a few that we’ve already seen earlier. 

Moreover, while that is sometimes okay with smaller bikes, this is the premium segment, where dreams come true. And in that sense I don’t find this design aspirational or super premium. Put this bike in a parking lot full of all kinds of bikes and I don’t think this will stand out or make you feel like you own something special and unique. And that, for me, is a bit of a miss. Hero had the chance to go for something maybe even stylish, or even outlandish, but this design just feels a bit conservative and ‘safe’. 

But it looks better than the Harley-Davidson X440? 

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For those comparing this with the X440, yes, the X440 was polarising. It felt substantial and had a unique and muscular design that stood out in a crowd and grabbed a lot of eyeballs. And though the finish levels are a bit better on the Mavrick than the X440, there’s still room for improvement. There were plenty of exposed wires all around, as well as visible welding spots, all of which you wouldn’t want to see on a brand’s flagship bike.  

It’s supremely comfortable, even for tall riders!

I quite liked the ergonomics on the X440: relaxed, and something in which I could be in all day long. The stance is that of a roadster, so there’s a slight reach to the bar; The footpegs are nice and low, so my legs weren’t at a tight angle, and even the ergonomics for the pillion are surprisingly comfortable. 

Not a very nice console though

While sitting on it is nice and comfortable, what will bother you is looking down at the LCD console. Firstly, it’s quite small and while that’s not the issue, what I didn’t like was its big bezel, as the overall size of the cluster makes you feel that it’s got a large console, but the moment you boot it up, it turns out to be pretty tiny. Moreover, the tachometer feels a bit cramped and gauging anything above 4k rpm becomes especially difficult when the sun is right above you. And that, mind you, is on a new, fairly clean dash. The moment the console starts getting scratches on it, which it inevitably will, the readability is going to get even worse. 

What felt a bit awkward was the big empty space on the top right corner of the console. It is for the turn by turn navigation but that means when you’re not using navigation, which admittedly is about 80 percent of the time, it’s just this big blank space on the console which doesn’t look very nice as you look down while riding. And that, again, takes a bit away from the special feeling I have been talking about. 

The Sweet, likeable engine from the X440

But hey, a lot of the sense of satisfaction on a big bike comes from the sense of speed, and the engine is where the Mavrick 440 evokes the nicest feelings, as it’s really likeable. Fire it up and you’re greeted by a really likeable exhaust note. But the best part is definitely that engine: it’s torquey, refined, and reasonably fast for a bike in this segment. Riding at 100kmph in sixth gear is effortless, with just a tingling sensation at the bars and footpegs arriving at 110kmph, and even at 120, the engine isn’t running out of breath. So that feeling of buying a big bike and feeling happy about its ability to sit comfortably at triple-digit speeds is definitely there.   

And while we mainly rode the Mavrick out on open stretches, it has all the characteristics of being an excellent commuter as well. The 187kg kerb weight disappears the moment you get it off the stand and while it’s obviously not razor sharp, the 17-inch wheels make the Mavrick 440 fairly quick to change direction. And with all that torque on offer, it should make zipping through traffic fun. But what I absolutely loved was just how light the clutch felt. So much so that you can operate it with one finger as well. So yeah, even being stuck in long traffic jams on the Mavrick shouldn’t necessarily be painful. 

What will further add to the commuting and in fact overall experience is the comfort on offer. Now while we didn’t face any major bad roads, we did have different sized speed breakers, and approached them at different speeds and during all of these permutations and combinations, the Mavrick felt nice and comfortable. But this comfort didn’t come with any compromises:  at high speeds, be it a straight line or whatever corners we faced, the Mavrick 440 felt super planted and confidence-inspiring. 

Should you buy the Hero Mavrick 440? 

The Mavrick 440 is quite a practical bike and it will be a nice purchase for the price. The engine is torquey and “nice”, the handling is “nice” and the pillion ergonomics are very “nice” too. It’ll make for a very “nice” and comfortable commuter, and if you’re one to travel around with a pillion frequently, this will genuinely make for a really good ride. It’ll handle the occasional highway jaunts quite well too. And another thing in the Mavrick’s favour is that Hero has the largest sales and service network amongst all its competitors, giving potential customers some peace of mind as well. It’s just that…

The Mavrick 440 is a collection of some “mehs” and some “nices”… but unfortunately, there are no “wows” in there. The engine works well enough, but does it speak to you like the Classic does? Nope. The handling is engaging enough, but does it feel as nimble as the Speed 400? Nope. The neo-retro looks are nice, but is it as brilliantly finished and elegant as the Speed 400? Nope. And, most importantly, can it promise the sheer brand value that the Harley-Davidson X440 does? Nope. 

The Mavrick 440 itself isn’t a bad bike, it’s just that… it’s nothing special. It’s all somewhere in the middle, a safe step and that’s where my issue with it lies. Why didn’t Hero go ahead and give it more modern-day features. Or why didn’t Hero go a bit more bold with the styling, especially given what Hero has done in the past with the Impulse and even the Xtreme 160R 4V, and that was their superpower. They both looked like no other bike in that segment and the looks on both were backed by solid abilities too. The Impulse had incredible off-road hardware and the Xtreme had a lovely engine. 

So yeah, if you want your first big bike’s superpower to just be price, the Mavrick 440 can be a good option. But would the young you, who dreamt about owning a bike in this very segment, be ok to settle for just that? Nope. I’m sure you must have wanted something more special, and I don’t think the Mavrick is able to deliver that. So go out there and take a test ride and if you feel the same, I would suggest you look beyond the price tag, and stay true to the promise you made to your younger self. 

And to answer the question: should you buy it over the Royal Enfield Hunter 350? You just have to keep two things in mind: the Hunter is a fair bit more affordable (prices ranging from Rs 1,49,900 to Rs 1,74,655, ex-showroom) and despite being physically smaller, looks more substantial and hence will attract more attention. If those two things are of any importance to you, you might gravitate towards the Hunter 350. But in pretty much every other aspect, the Mavrick 440 feels like the better neo-retro roadster. And, of course, a quick test ride on both should easily answer all your questions.

Hero Mavrick 440 Video Review

Hero Mavrick 440
Hero Mavrick 440
Rs. 1.99 Lakh
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