Hero Xtreme 125R First Ride Review

  • Feb 17, 2024
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Hero’s latest premium 125cc motorcycle offers a great blend of sportiness and everyday practicality

The Hero Xtreme 125R  was launched at the Hero World Day 2024 event at Hero MotoCorp’s Center of Innovation and Technology or CIT in Jaipur. This is Hero’s attempt at creating a premium 125cc commuter that is supposed to take on the likes of the TVS Raider and even the Bajaj Pulsar NS125. But Hero says that the Xtreme 125R is supposed to have a distinct sporty personality similar to its larger 160cc siblings. So naturally we took it for a short spin on the CIT’s handling track to find out if there’s any truth to Hero’s claim.

Design

But first, let’s talk about the design. It might be called the Xtreme, but looks it nothing like the Xtreme 160. That's thanks to a massive bikini fairing with its wide headlight that’s got two LED projectors built in. It almost feels like it could have come from Hero’s recent tie-up with Zero Motorcycles, and some are even comparing the way it looks to the Ducati Streetfighter V4. 

As you move down the motorcycle, you have giant tank extensions which look quite imposing. But from some angles, especially when you're sitting on the bike, they can look quite awkward, because they are rather wide and set quite low as well. They certainly give the Xtreme 125R a sense of mass, but at the cost of them being quite polarising. But heck, if you want a place to keep your cup of chai, those tank extensions might just do the trick. 

Down the middle of the bike, it’s got a lovely two tone centre panel which really adds to the bike’s sense of sportiness. And then the tail is quite neat and tidy, with a tire hugger at the back as well. So overall the design is quite sporty, albeit completely unconventional, and Hero certainly seems to have delivered on their claims of sportiness in the design department at least.

Motor & Performance

At the heart of this Xtreme 125R is an “all-new” motor. It’s most likely started life as the Glamour’s or Super Splendor’s motor, but Hero claims to have done extensive work on the head, valves, bottom end and almost all internal components - enough to qualify this as a brand new motor. It’s a 125cc single-cylinder air-cooled mill that outputs 11.55PS of peak power and 10.5Nm of peak torque. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s pretty much at the top of its class in the 125cc category, only barely being beaten to the top spot in power by the Pulsar NS 125.

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Hero claims that the Xtreme 125R can manage 0-60kmph in just 5.9 seconds on to a top speed of 95kmph. We have no trouble believing that as the bike felt sufficiently quick on Hero’s test track, and we even saw about 98kmph on the speedo at the end of a straight. And these numbers are quite commendable for this class of bike. This engine’s real highlight, though, is refinement. It’s smooth and vibration free till you really get the revs near the redline. But you will rarely need to rev this engine so hard, thanks to its sheer tractability. You can carry speeds as low as 20-22kmph in fourth gear, and the bike doesn’t struggle to accelerate from that. This means if you’re riding this Xtreme in the city, you’re not going to need too many gear changes to keep the momentum going.

And if you’re in the mood for some spirited riding, the motor can feel quite punchy too. Around Hero’s handling track, it was pulling hard (relatively speaking) out of tight corners in second gear. Third gear though, felt a bit tall, and more suited at just cruising around, rather than riding aggressively.

Hero also claims a fuel efficiency of 66kmpl for the Xtreme 125R, which if is to be believed, certainly puts this bike in the upper echelon of mileage for this segment.

Handling and Ride Quality

Hero says that there are a lot of segment first features on this motorcycle. Primary among these is the front fork, which is now 37 mm in diameter. That makes it the fattest in the 125cc segment and in fact, it’s the same size as the fork from Xtreme 160R. It's also got a seven-step preload adjustable monoshock at the back. But the really impressive bit here is the new chassis. 

In recent years, Hero has produced some bikes with incredible chassis, and the Xtreme 125R is no different. This chassis combined with the new suspension and 17-inch wheels (a first for any sub-150cc Hero bike) gives this bike excellent handling. It feels lighter than its 136kg kerb weight would let on, and when throwing it around the twists and turns of the CIT handling track, it felt really nimble. 

That said, for the first few laps, the front end felt a bit too light and vague. But the moment you learn to trust the front end and commit to the corners, this baby Xtreme feels very stable through the turns and inspires tonnes of confidence. No doubt this confidence is also due to the MRF Zapper tyres at both ends, which are larger sized than most 125cc bikes in the market; 90/90-17 at the front and 120/80-17 at the rear.

The brakes need special mention here too. The Xtreme 125R comes in two versions - single-channel ABS which gets a 276mm disc at the front and IBS (Integrated Braking System) - Hero’s term for linked brakes, with a 240mm disc. Both variants get a 130mm drum as standard at the rear.  We, however only rode the ABS version. Not only do the brakes themselves actually work quite well with plenty of bite and feel from the lever, the Xtreme 125R is the only bike in this class that comes with ABS. Even the most powerful bike in the class - the Pulsar NS125, doesn't get ABS, and neither does our favourite bike in this class so far, the TVS Raider.

Comfort

The Xtreme 125R has got a fairly low seat height of just 794mm, which means even if you're short, you can get your feet on the ground very easily. Plus the seat itself is quite wide, and that lets you move around on it very easily, even if you are taller than 6-feet in height. The foot pegs, though are a little bit rear set, but the handlebar is nice and tall. So you sit quite upright, and that gives you a good mix of a sporty and a commuter riding stance. Perfect for bike that will spend most of its time in the city, some time on the highway and could even be fun enough for a weekend jaunt around a winding mountain road.

Features

The Xtreme 125 gets a pretty small but pretty neat console. It’s a fully digital, negative LCD console fully, which gives you basic information such a speed, rpm, odometer, two trip meters and average fuel consumption. But that's pretty much it. It's quite simple, but it works quite well.

Verdict

When Hero said that they achieved the perfect blend of commuting abilities and sportiness with this Xtreme 125R, we were a bit sceptical. But after spending some time on it, it was easy to realise that they really seem to have nailed this formula in pretty much aspect of this motorcycle.

Prices for the Xtreme 125R start at Rs 95,000 for the IBS model, but if you want ABS, you’ll need to shell out Rs 99,500 (both prices, ex-showroom Delhi). The price is actually quite good because it undercuts the Pulsar NS125 and even the top-end TVS Raider, which is really saying something. But how the Xtreme 125R performs against these super competent rivals in the real world is something we have to see when we get the it for a proper road test in Pune.

Until then, the Hero Xtreme 125R should stay as a serious consideration for anyone looking for a 125cc commuter motorcycle that can thrill a bit on occasion too.

Hero Xtreme 125R Video Review

Hero Xtreme 125R
Hero Xtreme 125R
Rs. 95,000
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