We got to kick some dust riding the Hero Xpulse 200 Rally Kit edition on Hero Motocorp’s specially built off-road testing grounds at CIT, Jaipur.
Our day at Hero Motocorp’s state-of-the-art Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) located in Jaipur, was packed. In a couple of hours, we had to ride four new Hero motorcycles on the testing track. This meant that we got just three laps on the off-road track with the new Hero Xpulse 200 rally Kit. I was both disappointed and excited at the same time. Travelling all the way to Jaipur for a blink and miss opportunity with the kitted-up Hero Xtreme 200, left me wanting for more. Because it takes a couple of laps just to understand a tarmac circuit, let alone an off-road track.
(Also Read: Hero’s 300-cc-plus Adventure Bike Coming Soon)
Hero Motocorp had first displayed the Xpulse Rally Kit at the EICMA 2019 in Milan, and have recently introduced the adventure kit in India. Enthusiasts who have been participating in rallies and other off-road events have been pleading the world’s leading two-wheeler maker to come up with a more off-road-ready product which they car use to improve their off-road riding ability. And Hero have obliged.
This is a cost-effective remedy to convert a standard Xpulse 200 into an enduro-like bike and is the result of the learnings Hero MotoCorp have gained at the Dakar Rally. This light and manageable off-roader is a brilliant proposition for those who want to hone their off-road riding skills without burning a hole in their pockets. The good news is that the kit has been homologated, which means it can be used on public roads.
We got to sample the prepped bikes on the factory off-road test-track. Judging the bike in just three laps on the unfamiliar ground wasn’t enough but it sure is great value for the Rs 38,000 asking price for the entire kit. The good bit is that customers can buy individual parts instead of buying the entire kit and I’ve mentioned the detailed prices below. Although our test sported Akrapovic—exhaust system and revised sprocket (Front: 12 teeth; Rear: 40 teeth), which are not part of the standard Rally Kit and are not road leagal either.
For the price, you get adjustable front suspension with a travel of 250 mm and 10-step adjustable rear mono-shock offering 220 mm of travel (up by 60 mm and 50 mm respectively over the stock model) and better ground clearance, which has gone up from the stock 220 mm to 275 mm now. There are a new longer and flatter seat, so you have more room and flexibility, while the handlebar risers make it more comfortable to ride while standing on the foot-pegs.
The Rally Kit also includes a longer side-stand and an extended gear lever to accommodate off-road style boots. With the support of the side-stand, I had to get on to the foot-peg and swing my leg over the bike. What is intimidating, though, is the insanely tall saddle height of 933 mm which has gone up by 110 mm with the new flat seat and higher ground clearance. This means that an average built Indian, like yours truly, can barely tip-toe will riding the kitted-up Hero Xpulse 200. So, unless you’re over six feet tall, you won’t be able to get both your feet on the ground. This, however, is a common trait of enduro bikes and beginners might take some time getting used to it.
What this set-up does is carve out enough clearance to go over ruts and dirt-track humps without breaking a sweat. The knobby Maxxis tyres are spectacular and provide ample grip while running over the berms. Still trying to learn the track, I didn’t try to be over adventurous. But David Lopez, Head of Chassis Development, Hero Motocorp along with factory test rider Sathyaraj Arumugam did a couple of demo laps to show the true capabilities of the rally kit equipped Xpulse 200. Going by the effortless take-off, massive jumps, and smooth landing, the bike sure seems to be geared to kick dirt.
To be honest, judging the full potential of the Hero Xtreme 200 Rally Kit in just a few laps is really not possible. But what I gather is that this version will surely encourage more young Indian riders to make a career in motorsport. And like Davis said to me after the ride experience, “there’s no experience like riding a motorcycle on loose dirt with the rear sliding out…” and I couldn’t agree more.
(Also Read: Hero Xtreme 160R First Impression Review)
Individual prices for the front and rear adjustable suspension set is Rs 25,500; the fabulous Maxxis knobby tyres cost Rs 10,000; while the flat seat is priced at Rs 2,000. For another Rs 850, you can get the handlebar risers, Rs 800 for the extended gear pedal and the longer side-stand costs Rs 700. Great value indeed.