When Hero MotoCorp revealed their captivating Xtreme 1.R Concept at EICMA 2019, I was sceptical. Not because I had any doubt in Hero’s abilities, but because concepts usually fall far from the tree. But, there are always exceptions to the case and the all-new 160cc motorcycle falls in that category. We’re talking about the recently launched Xtreme 160R, which is one of best looking Heros in recent times. But, there’s more to life than just appearances, so let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?
Since we’re already on the topic, let’s start with the design. The Y-shaped front headlamp unit gives the 160R an aggressive look at the front. This is further complemented by the angular tank and sharp lines across the sides. At the rear, Hero has done an excellent job with the tail light, which I personally love – it looks compact yet distinctive. Also, the rear is probably one of the only places where the Xtreme 160R is different from the concept, which is a good thing. It’s all sharp lines and macho-stance with the Xtreme 160R. Lest we forget, the LED lights all around, which look contemporary. However, there are a couple of things which could’ve been slightly better. First, the conventional front forks, which dull the look down a bit. Second, the rearview mirrors could’ve been a slightly different shape, since its square design in an otherwise angular or circular theme all around. But, the visibility is pretty good with those mirrors, so it’s not all bad. Also, the inverted LCD instrument cluster, which looks simple and neat, does miss out on the gear position indicator and fuel efficiency figure. However, the switchgear feels robust and the hazard lights & integrated start/kill switch is a neat addition. Speaking of neat, the short exhaust fits the design language and sounds pretty rugged too!
Time to move onto the Xtreme’s major talking point; that 163cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder OHC motor which produces a healthy 15bhp and 14Nm of torque. This engine comes mated to a smooth-shifting five-speed gearbox. But figures aside, what’s it like to ride? At startup and idle, the Xtreme 160R feels refined and quiet. Once you start building up the revs, you’ll find that Hero’s newest addition makes short work of the mid-range. The Xtreme 160R does an excellent job from the low-end to the mid-range, which is where most of its owners will be riding it anyway. Vibrations only start coming in at about 6500rpm. But on the whole, the Xtreme 160R feels suited for relaxed riding through city traffic or the occasional short weekend getaways. Sure, it can do speeds in excess of 110kmph but it isn’t really comfortable doing that. In fact, after 95kmph, the vibrations get a little too much to bear at sustained speeds. Power delivery, at low speeds at least, is fun and peppy, that’s for sure. However, it doesn’t have a lot to give at the top-end. There’s a sense that Hero has tuned the Xtreme 160R to be more torquey than delivery outright power. However, Hero does claim a best-in-class 0-60kmph time of 4.7 seconds. But, that’s a claim we’ll have to put to the test. However, one we won’t is the impressive fuel efficiency figures, which were around 45 – 50 in a mix of city and highway conditions.
But, can it handle itself? In a word – yes. Pretty well too at that. Its kerb weight is just under 140 kilograms, for both the single and double-disc variants. This makes the Xtreme 160R extremely nimble and agile in any given situation. It feels light on feet but not without a sense of solidity. Kudos to Hero for a job well done with the tubular frame, it just works so perfectly. Everything from the comfort-oriented handlebar and seat placement to the fat rubber and dual discs, work in favour of the Xtreme 160R’s rideability. This is one motorcycle you will enjoy spending time on, whether you’re going to the shops or out on the highway (not for long too though). Also, special mention to the comfort of the seat, which is quite comfortable even with a pillion. However, one thing I did not appreciate as much was the bumpy ride at higher speeds thanks to the telescopic front forks. Although, the rear mono-shock does the job with aplomb. Special mention also goes out to the 276mm and 220mm front and rear discs, respectively. Although the Xtreme 160R gets just a single-channel unit, it never felt under pressure in normal braking conditions. Again, Hero seems to have tuned this new 160cc motorcycle for comfort with a solid amount of fun thrown in there for good measure.
So, what’s the Xtreme 160R all about and should you consider it? In my honest opinion, you should. Yes, there were a few quality-based niggles with the rear mudguard and the front instrument cluster over bumps. But these are minor issues which can be sorted out pretty easily. On the whole, though, I felt that the Xtreme 160R is an affordable, good looking, practical and relatively powerful option in the 160cc segment. This is certainly a Hero we both deserve and need!
Photography – Jassi Singh