Car and Bike
Hero Xtreme 200R vs Bajaj Pulsar NS200 – Which Comes Out on Top?
Hero has unveiled its upcoming 200cc bike, the Xtreme 200R, which will make its way into the market by April this year. Hero’s long hiatus in this segment of motorcycles can be attributed to the creation of a new 200cc unit.
Hero hasn’t revealed the prices yet, but we spent some time with the bike, assessing its worth in a market with established competitors like Bajaj, TVS and Yamaha. So we decided to pit the Xtreme 200R against the popular Bajaj Pulsar NS200. Here’s how they compare:
The premium segment in motorcycles is much more demanding than what Hero is accustomed to in its main segment, ie:commuter rides. And by the looks of it, Hero has done a mixed job with the Xtreme 200R – it’s not shabby, but it’s nothing that dazzles either. The bike’s finishing is a mix of metal and plastic, which while being cost effective, falls short in the looks department. Hero claims to have worked extensively on the design and the make of the Xtreme 200R, but to the naked eye, the design is focused on efficiency rather than visual appeal.
The Pulsar NS 200 on the other hand has a striking appeal. The pronounced curves and a bolder sculpted tank adds toughness to the bike.
This is where the contest gets closer. Immediately, the air-cooled engine for the Xtreme 200R is a let down, but this may have been done to reduce the cost of the bike.
Hero has toned down the performance level of the bike, and comparatively the scales are definitely pointing towards a calculative effort to make a bike that is practical yet sporty to an extent.
Hero still has to convince buyers about its newly formed engine, which means that the brand has to play its cards carefully, as bikes in this segment crave for power – which Hero isn’t offering in abundance.
Hero has mated its 199-cc engines to a 5-speed gearbox, while Bajaj uses a 6-speed unit for its Pulsar NS200.
The Pulsar NS200 gets a 199.5cc liquid-cooled engine that throws more power at lower rpms and compared to the Xtreme 200R – the numbers don’t lie.
Having said that, we’re yet to try out the Xtreme 200R and only then will we be able to make a riding comparison between these two bikes.
Bajaj has made the Pulsar NS200 a feature-packed two-wheeler for its price. The bike gets a digital fuel-gauge and instrument panel loaded with speedometer as well as the odometer.
A liquid-cooled engine means that the start-up time of the bike will be comparatively quicker than that of the Hero Xtreme 200R. The use of blue-tinge halogen bulb also looks more attractive than the standard yellow-colored halogen bulb on the Xtreme 200R.
Both get the same ground clearance of 167 mm, which is understandable in this price bracket.
Hero has a preference for disc brakes on both sides, while offering Anti-Brake Locking System (ABS) as an option in the single-channel mode, which offers snappier responses. The Xtreme 200R gets a 276mm disc on the front, and a 220mm disc at the back.
Bajaj, however, outscores Hero with its use of 300mm disc with the ABS model, while the standard Pulsar NS200 comes with 280mm and 230mm disc brakes at the front and rear respectively.
The fuel side of affairs are taken care by a 12-litre tank on the NS200, while Hero gets a marginally larger 12.5-litre tank on the Xtreme 200R.
It’s evident that Hero will position its Xtreme 200R in a different price segment than the 200cc bikes from Bajaj and TVS.
The use of an air-cooled engine in a so-called premium segment is one such highlight of the Xtreme 200R. And going by Hero’s wealth of experience in the commuter segment with the likes of Splendor and Achiever, it seems the new Xtreme 200R could actually break the mould for 200cc bikes, making them affordable but offering a little bit of everything, including fuel efficiency.
If Hero manages to price the Xtreme 200R at around Rs 85,000 (ex-showroom), they might actually open up as an option for buyers who still are looking to spend under a lakh.