Hero XPulse 200T 4V 5000km Long Term Review: Fun, But Not Special

  • Feb 24, 2024
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In the last 1000-odd kilometres, I had two big issues with the XPulse 200T 4V and here’s what they were

Aamir talking about all the fun he had been having on the Hero XPulse 200T 4V had gotten me intrigued and as soon as the chance came along, I stole the bike’s keys from him to see what it was all about. And while I did see his point in it being a fun bike, I did encounter some things that hampered my overall riding experience.

A rather enthusiastic throttle 

In an attempt to make it peppy right off the bat, I think Hero went slightly overboard with the initial throttle response. The power delivery feels abrupt and the on and off throttle transitions are very jerky. It made riding around with a pillion at slow speeds in traffic a rather lurchy experience. All my pillions would be  bobbing back and forth half the time because of the jerkiness every time I rolled off the throttle. I had to ride the bike in a higher gear almost all the time and while that somewhat addresses the issue, the engine doesn’t have the drive to execute quick overtakes if you’re a gear higher. The slower acceleration also kills the fun…and isn’t fun performance exactly why you graduate to a bike in the 200cc class…

And while the pillion bobbing against you might sound romantic to some, it never felt very nice for it never let my mind relax, always denying me a peaceful commuting experience. Riding it at slow speeds just doesn’t feel right, and for a bike that’s meant to be a commuter, that’s not a very nice thing. 

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And that’s where things get a bit funny. The jumpy throttle eggs you to ride harder and it’s only post 3000 rpm when the jerkiness settles down. But funnily, the bike doesn’t really have a whole lot post 6000 rpm. What that means is that the sweet spot is actually a super narrow band between 3-6k rpm. Anything under or above that and the bike just feels unhappy. It’s just too narrow, too specific a power band for a bike that’s meant to be an easy commuter at the end of the day.     

It has a drinking problem

Now this one was surprising. I'm not one to meticulously trace a bike’s fuel efficiency so I was just riding the bike around for the first couple of weeks without even thinking about it. But when the fuel stop visits started to become a whole lot more frequent than what I had expected, I decided to put it through my own real world test. 

 

Turns out, the XPulse was giving me a miserly 30.5kmpl! For context, the KTM 390 Duke ...I'm sorry, I mean THE KTM 390 DUKE gave us above 25kmpl in the city and nearly 30kmpl out on the highway. The difference in mileage versus the difference in performance that the bikes have is just not justifiable. And sure, I was being rather enthusiastic with my right hand but even Aamir’s fuel efficiency figures were under 35kmpl, which is quite low for a bike in this segment. I wonder how much of this has to do with its jerky throttle…

It won’t turn heads

The 200T is a slightly quirky but overall elegant looking bike. It’s just that it won’t turn heads, neither with its design, nor its road presence. It’s not a design that’ll make people drop what they’re doing and on the whole, it can disappear in the sea of commuters. The only attention grabbing thing about it is this bright red colourway. And honestly, I didn’t mind it. I am usually super paranoid about parking media bikes in public spaces, so it not being eye candy means less people fiddling around it, which gives my mind a lot of peace. If you’re the same, all well and good!

But that very petite build is what makes the XPulse 200T 4V fun. Yes, I know Aamir talked about it in his long term report, but it is the bike’s USP. It feels incredibly small between your legs and is laughably easy to flick around and put in the smallest of gaps. 

Verdict

So this is what I felt about the bike since the past odd month that I’ve been riding it. Is the Hero XPulse 200T 4V a good bike? I’d definitely put it under ‘fun’, for you will have fun zipping around the city on it. The snappy throttle, though, is annoying. In my opinion such bikes should feel at ease at low speeds but this one just feels irritating. The bigger issue though, is its Rs 1,40,246 price tag.

And that is because of the existence of the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V. At just Rs 1,46,820, the Apache’s premium is very very easy to justify. For Rs 6,574 extra, you’re getting a bike that’s quicker, better put together, has better hardware, a LOT more features and is one of, if not the best, 200cc bikes in India. Heck, even the Bajaj Pulsar NS200, with its exciting KTM 200 Duke-derived engine costs Rs 1,49,363 (all prices ex-showroom). Again, the Rs 9-odd thousand premium is not hard to justify given the sheer character that rowdy, rev-happy engine has. So if you’re looking to upgrade to a sporty-ish 200cc bike after your 100-125cc commuter, I can’t help but feel that the Hero XPulse 200T might not strike your fancy.

Hero XPulse 200T 4V Video Review

Hero XPulse 200T 4V
Hero XPulse 200T 4V
Rs. 1.40 Lakh
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