First Ride: Hero Xtreme 150cc—The Extreme Test

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It was early 1999 when the Hero Honda CBZ—the first 150cc motorcycle—with an original Honda 156.8cc engine, was launched.

Since then, 150cc motorcycles have only progressed to become sturdier, more powerful and reliable in terms of mileage, components, and design.

In India, the 150cc category boasts of great demand and even greater competition. The trick is for manufacturers to develop light and easy-to-ride motorcycles that chalk up a mix of good mileage and performance.

So did Hero manage to deliver on its Xtreme promise? We decided to put their newest 150cc entrant to the test through some of the most extreme roads in South India.

Let's find out how the 2014 Hero Xtreme rated on engine performance, ride and handling, quality and reliability, and value for money.

The review continues on the next slide.

Model Tested:

  • 2014 Hero Xtreme [Double Disc]
  • Price: INR 83,926 (on-road price Bangalore)
  • Engine size: 149.2cc
  • Power: 14.2 bhp
  • Top Speed: 110 km/h (during testing)
  • Kilometres tested: 1200 kms

Styling

The styling of the Xtreme is symmetrically shaped, allowing for a sleeker, sharper and more aggressive form language.

Its style is further enhanced with clear glass blinkers, dual tone mirrors/front mudguard, and a prism headlight with high brow position lights.

Although, the headlight cowl could have been designed better with a more aggressive stance.


contd.

The sharp and aggressive body lines of the Xtreme help with the aerodynamics.

Other important styling elements are the mean-looking high powered LED light guide, sleek and stylish rear license plate assembly fender mudguard, and the double-spoke matte black alloy wheels.

Engine & Transmission

The 149.2cc air-cooled, 4-stroke single cylinder engine on the Xtreme have been around for a while.

This same engine was first seen on the Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme in 2006, which was the 150cc successor to the Hero Honda CBZ.

Despite the Hero and Honda split in 2010, this tried and tested engine continues to exist to this day.

Engine Factsheet:

  • Type: Air cooled, 4-stroke single cylinder OHC
  • Displacement: 149.2cc
  • Max. Power: 10.6 KW (14.2 bhp) @ 8500 RPM
  • Max. Torque: 12.80 Nm @ 6500 RPM
  • Bore x Stroke: 57.3 x 57.8 mm
  • Carburetor: CV with CCVI Carburetor Controlled with Variable Ignition
  • Starting: Self Start / Kick Start
  • Ignition: AMI (Advanced Microprocessor Ignition System)

Performance and Mileage

This engine is paired to a 5-speed gearbox. During the speed test we managed to hit 110 km/h. The Xtreme red-lines at 9000 rpm, and the engine is smooth and produces the most power in the 4500 – 7000 rpm range.

On the other hand, if you snap the throttle quickly, don't expect to leave behind a patch/line of rubber. The engine is a bit lazy at lower rpms, but still manages to get to 70 km/h in a jiffy. Anything more—the engine revs too high—and you get the feeling there are not enough gears.

Mileage Factsheet:

  • Claimed Mileage: 65 km/l
  • Achieved* Mileage: 45 km/l

* The motorcycle was heavily tested on ghat roads and national highways.

Ride & Handling

The ergonomics on the Xtreme is decent. However, the riding posture was not to our liking and left us with a rather stiff neck.

The rider is neither in a tucked or a relaxed upright riding position. After riding for long periods of time, the body begins to protest the awkward riding posture.

Still, there is nothing like regular pit-stops and a hot cup of joe to calm the nerves and some relatively sore butts.

Suggestion:

If you're a tall rider raising the handlebar on the Xtreme can improve the riding posture. If you're smaller than average, lowering the handlebars should sort out this problem.

contd.

Front Disc/Suspension

Feathering the brake is an art by itself. On the Xtreme, grabbing a handful of the brake lever is required to get that extra bite from the 240mm front disc.

The front disc is pleasing and gave us enough confidence to overcome the fear of over braking. With this very confidence, we managed to take on the famous Nilgiri Ghat roads with ease.

Rear Disc/Shock Absorbers

We admit, the challenging Nilgiri Ghats put us through some amount of panic. A few instances had us using both the front and rear brakes very aggressively to pull to a stop quickly. The Xtreme, did pretty well on all the occasions.

Overall, the Xtreme is well-equipped with a front and rear disc, tubeless tyres, and adjustable gas-charged rear suspension, which equips the rider with enough confidence to take on national highways or the roads less traveled.

Standout features

1. LED Light Guides

The LED tail lamp blends in neatly with the motorcycles angular design. Apart from looking good, functionality and purpose is well served too. The LEDs offer very good visibility, allowing a fair warning to vehicles that follow.

2. Under-seat Mobile Charger

The underseat mobile charger is an impressive touch on the Xtreme. It neatly tucks away a mobile phone under the seat where it appears to be safe. But phones whose display's are larger than 4.7 inches, will unfortunately not fit.

3. Blue Backlit Instrument Cluster

The blue back-lit instrument cluster is easy to read and provides adequate information. The digital cluster displays information such as time, speed, kilometers run and fuel. The warning lights are well spaced. The Xtreme has a side-stand warning too.

The illuminated ignition is a smart move, but stays illuminated throughout, even when the Xtreme is parked and locked for the night, it constantly keeps blinking.

4. Prism Headlight

Quite possibly the best feature of the Xtreme, well-focused headlights provide very good visibility. The Xtreme did not break a sweat lighting up the narrow state highways in the dark. The eyebrow parking lights give the Xtreme a 'tall-boy' look.

5. Stylish Split Grab rails

The grab rails are very neatly designed to suit the overall profile of the Xtreme. Looks apart, people with fat fingers (such as mine) will find it difficult to use the stylish split grab rails to its full potential due to the lack of space.

6. Dual-tone mirrors

The dual tone paint job on the mirrors and on the mask add to the detailing of the bike.

The mirrors are comparatively small, when taking into consideration that the Xtreme is a commuter motorcycle. It does not offer adequate visibility.

Off the mark

1. Foot controls

The foot controls could have been a lot better. The gear lever needs a bit of a re-designing because up shifts become a nightmare when tackling Ghat sections and traffic where frequent gear shifts are required. It is a tad bit small, we think.

The brake lever is placed higher than the foot peg, so a rider needs to literally lift his legs off the peg to access it. This puts a lot of stress on the legs, spoiling the overall fun of riding the Xtreme.

2. Switchgear

The switches are well arranged and easy to use. The rider does not have to stretch too much to access them. There is no kill switch, which was a little disappointing.

Value & Offering

Moving on to the most important part of the motorcycle—the pricing. The Xtreme is priced at INR 83,926 for the dual disc model and INR 80,478 for the single disc version. Both on-road prices, Bangalore.

Verdict

The Hero Xtreme is a good overall package. Small glitches such as the foot controls and the seating height and position could be a turn off for a few. Then again, the refined and smooth engine makes the Xtreme a pleasure to ride.

Main Competitors

The main competitors for the Hero Xtreme are the Bajaj Pulsar 150, Bajaj Discover 150 F, Yamaha FZ 2.0 and the Suzuki Gixxer. The Bajaj Pulsar has been the bestseller in this segment ever since its launch, ten years ago.

About Hero Motocorp

Founded in 1984 as Hero Honda, a joint venture between Delhi-based Hero Cycles and Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Honda. In August 2011, the company was renamed Hero MotoCorp. after it split with Honda.

In 2013, Hero MotoCorp acquired 49.2 percent shareholding in Eric Buell Racing, a U.S. based motorcycle company.

Hero exports motorcycles to over 20 countries around the world.

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Story first published: Thursday, December 18, 2014, 16:14 [IST]
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