Hero MotoCorp has finally launched the Impulse’s replacement. Is the Xpulse, the affordable dual-sport, worthy of your time and money?
It's been almost a decade since Hero MotoCorp introduced India to the concept of a dual-sport in the form of the Impulse. The package was perfect for offroad newbies and seemed like the spark the on/off-road segment needed to blow up. Except, buyers looked at it with utter disbelief, and the Impulse didn’t sell in the millions like most of its Hero-badged brethren. The Impulse was simply ahead of its time, but it didn’t get the push it needed from the company and its dealers, and just disappeared. Except, those that did buy it genuinely loved it, sang its praises, and with supply being way below demand, the Impulse has become one the most popular motorcycles in today's used bike market, commanding a premium. But the time is finally ripe for an entry-level dual-sport bike and to make the most of it, Hero has finally launched the Xpulse. Two variants are on offer — one to cater to off-road enthusiasts while the other for mile-munching on black top. Are these the bikes to kick-start your ADV journeys? Xtreme with baggy pants?
With platform sharing being the name of the game, the Xpulse shares a lot of its underpinnings with the more modest Xtreme 200R that was launched last year. The old-school diamond frame houses the same air-cooled 199.6cc, 2-valve, SOHC motor with a not-so-stressed compression ratio of 10:1. The power figure of 18bhp at 8000rpm and torque of 17.1Nm doesn’t sound exciting in any way but keep in mind that this is not a performance-oriented machine. Markus Braunsperger, Hero’s R&D boss and a huge, huge Impulse fan, is fond of terming the Dakar “The world’s toughest commute”, and his team has developed the Xpluse to both commute around the city on the weekdays and hit the trail on the weekends. The Xpulse 200 is offered in both fuel injected and carburetted versions, while the more affordable 200T only gets a carburetted iteration.
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