Hero Xpulse 200 Rally kit: first ride impressions
Hero Xpulse 200 won the 2020 Indian Motorcycle of The Year award and to add another feather to its cap, Hero MotoCorp has launched a homologated Rally kit which is not only only road-legal, but FMSCI certified too for rally purpose. Should you be going ahead and spending ₹38,000 cash for the kit or no is the question. We managed to spend roughly 15mins on the tall saddle on the rally-ready machine and here’s what we think.
You get fully-adjustable suspension at the front (60mm extra travel) and rear (50mm extra travel), tall bench seat with a height of 935mm, handlebar risers, extended side stand and gear shifter. The revised suspension has lent it an additional wheelbase of 10mm while the ground clearance has gone up by a massive 50mm. What you’re not getting is the Akrapovic exhaust and new sprockets. Hero says the revised sprocketing would lead to emission issues and thus they’ve stuck with the stock setup.
How good is it?
It’s phenomenal; the way the Xpulse 200 Rally goes around it’s business. The tall saddle is almost perfect for pushing it down round corners but if you’re not taller than 5ft 8in, it’ll be a deterrent. At least in your head. But once you manage to get used to it; you’ll be fine as some of the fellow journalists discovered. It feels almost like an MX-er with the Maxxis knobbies digging their claws in slush, gravel or loose sand. The grip is unreal and we couldn’t really push the bike to its limits owing to the limited saddle time.
The suspension too takes some time getting used to thanks to its massive travel and some more saddle time would have been great but the adjustable damping means you can tune it as per your liking on all sorts of terrain.
The Rally bikes that we rode had a 12/40T final drive which meant the the initial drive is supreme and the Rally feels livelier. Again, we were stuck to the first two cogs and I can tell you that the second cog is what you’ll require to get a move on. You May even skip the first cog! All the banked turns were tackled in the second gear with speeds dropping to as low as 10kmph.
Obviously, the exhaust is what adds to the whole experience but Hero suggests that it’ll be very expensive and thus; is not a a viable option.
Absolutely! If you’re serious about off-roading as a hobby or if you want to start working on your Dakar dream, the Xpulse 200 Rally makes for a serious starter kit. And Hero is letting you pick items from the kit if you don’t want to spend the whole amount which is a great value add. Now if you buy the Xpulse 200 along with the Rally kit, you’ll still end up saving more than 10,000 rupees over a Himalayan BS6! Now, who all are willing to follow CS Santosh’s footsteps?