Hero Xtreme 200S packs a lot of features in a highly affordable price range and it will compete against the likes of Bajaj Pulsar RS200
The base end of the premium sports bike space has seen new models arriving in aplenty in recent years as the price range of Rs. 90,000 to Rs. 1.4 lakh is largely appealing to new age customers. Naked street fighters like TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and Bajaj Pulsar NS200; more performance-based KTM Duke 125 and Yamaha MT-15; sports touring based Bajaj Pulsar RS200 and Yamaha Fazer 25 have opened up new possibilities.
Some manufacturers have managed to price their motorcycles diligently while others could not find a breakthrough yet. With Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company having sizeable share in the 160-200 cc segment, another Indian brand, Hero MotoCorp, has largely been contending with entry-level mass market segments. Hero used to hold 15 to 16 per cent in the aforementioned segments around ten years ago courtesy of Karizma but the lack of inspiring updates did take the toll on the brand.
With the past in the rearview mirrors, Hero has now strengthened its 200 cc lineup with the inclusion of Impulse succeeding Xpulse 200, Xpulse 200 T and Xtreme 200S. While we ranted a lot about the Xpulse duo, the Xtreme 200S did come as a surprise when it was first caught on camera undisguised and it has finally entered the market at a price of Rs. 98,500 (ex-showroom).
The Xtreme 200S brings up the obvious question of whether it can emulate the success story of the Karizma or not and bring back Hero into contention in the entry-level performance segment? The faired sports tourer takes design influence from the HX250R concept and shares its suspension, brakes and other components with the Xtreme 200R. Just as the 200R undercuts the NS 200 and Apache 200 4V in pricing by a big margin, Hero followed the same strategy with the 200S.
While the Yamaha YZF-R15 V3, Bajaj Pulsar RS200 and Yamaha Fazer 25 cost in the whereabouts of Rs. 1.40 lakh (ex-showroom), the Xtreme 200S is way lesser by more than Rs. 40,000 and it comes with single-channel ABS system, LED illumination, full digital LCD instrumentation with Bluetooth connectivity enabling turn-by-turn navigation, call alerts, service reminder, gear position indicator, etc.
However, the biggest chink in the armour has to be the performance. It uses the same BS-IV compliant, 199.6 cc single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke OHC engine found in the Xtreme 200R producing18.4 PS of peak power at 8,000 rpm and 17.1 Nm of peak torque at 6,500 rpm. It is connected to a five-speed constant mesh transmission.
Compared to the rivals, the Xtreme 200S appears a rather too tamed in power and torque outputs and it might put some people off. Will it replicate the old charm of Karizma in sales numbers due to the bang-on-head pricing despite not having the performance of its 223 cc bigger sibling? We will have to wait and find out in the coming months!