Hero XPulse 200 4V 2000km Long Term Review: Back To Basics

Jumping back on living with the XPulse and dealing with the Rally Kit’s oddities

It wasn’t quite love at first sight for me and the Hero XPulse 200. However, like any other couple, we have managed to overcome our differences, making this partnership stronger and more special with every single ride. I was a bit sad when the old BS6 model was called back, with Hero convincing us that the 4V was just around the corner. So, when the keys to the long termer arrived in the office, I hesitated for not one moment to grab them for myself. I have grand plans with the XPulse, the aim being to turn it into something really special.

So far, the groundwork has been laid out. And in the past couple of months, I have re-acclimated to a Rally Kit-equipped XPulse.

Total distance covered: 1,978km
Distance covered since last report: 1,978km
Time since last report: Introduction
Repairs & Maintenance costs since last report: Rs 550
Fuel efficiency returned: 40kmpl (city), 32kmpl (highway)

Just A Day’s Work

Within a week of the long-term XPulse arriving, I rushed to my friend Lokesh Ohwal’s garage to have the stock suspension swapped out for the long-travel Rally Kit components. This being his second time of doing so, Lokesh had the suspension swapped out in just a little over an hour and a half. The handlebar risers took barely fifteen minutes and the seat was changed once I reached home.

Obviously then, the following day I had to take it off-roading, right? Nope. It stood still for a week or two as a barrage of two-wheeler launches, rides and reviews came flooding my way. I had barely enough time to reacquaint myself with the XPulse and I wasn’t liking it.

So, when the moment arrived to attend a media event in Mumbai, instead of opting for a cab ride to and fro, I chose to ride it down. And boy was I glad I did that.

Open Road Struggles

Hero’s upgrades to the XPulse haven’t increased its performance envelope. What the new four-valve head and other small bits and bobs have done are improve the envelope itself. So, getting to 100kmph is not much of a challenge. What was, though, is staying there.

At 100kmph or more, the motor’s struggles are evident. It becomes shouty, irritable and quite vibey. Settling into a sedate pace of 85-90kmph does relieve this stress but then the ride becomes quite boring. A pair of ear plugs, good music and thick sole adventure touring boots cover up the cacophony and drama well.
There is a detrimental impact on your wallet, though. The XPulse only manages to return 32kmpl and that’s quite off the mark when you consider what our testers achieved by riding conservatively.

The Teacher

In the Zig office, quite a few boys want to improve their off-road riding skills. Praveen got bitten by the adventure bug at the Yezdi off-road camp, Arun has been wanting to go scrambling on his Scram, Manaal was looking to revise his learnings and a few newbies were wanting to start their adventure riding journey. Having learnt a few tricks after attending a few adventure riding camps, I organised a training day for the team.

Only a handful turned up. Three to be precise. Harsh and his BS6 XPulse, Kamesh and his Himalayan, and Sudipto with his 390 Duke. Getting the trio comfortable with loose stuff, we started basic drills. But instead of them trying it on their bikes, they hopped on the long term XPulse. Bold move, I thought. However, the three of them found the bike to be quite encouraging.

The three of them hadn’t given off roading much thought previously and they were executing neat figures of eight while seated and standing on the pegs. As much as I would like to believe it was my constant bellowing of instructions, it was the XPulse that helped each one of them out greatly. Harsh even stated that the gear ratios of his bike was hindering a bit and the new shorter first was actually helping him ride more carefully to begin with.

What’s Next?

A barrage of accessories. A wider handlebar and free-flow air filter to start with. Knobbies will eventually be fitted soon after the compatible alloy rims arrive for the bike, thus giving me an easy road and off-road riding setup. Somewhere down the line, I might even think about investing in aux lamps. So stay tuned for the next report.

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