The new horse in the Hero stable retains its sportiness, and, even better, is easy on your pocket
To be a success in the 150-cc doghouse, a bike needs to be a good looker, a decent performer, provide above-adequate comfort and ergonomics, and be relatively easy on the pocket. With Xtreme Sports, Hero has unveiled its latest progeny that will battle in this very arena.
Xtreme Sports draws visual inspiration from its Xtreme sibling because, under the skin, they are essentially the same. There are a few discernible differences between the two, however. The headlamp unit has been tweaked, and, in what is surprisingly a recurring theme on the Sports, is strangely reminiscent of the bike, two generations its senior: the now defunct CBZ Xtreme.
The instrument cluster is new, and a combination of analogue rev counter and digital speedo which is clean and bold, making it easy to read. The key slot for the bike has been moved to the side, à la retro cruisers. Other retentions from the old CBZ Xtreme include the grab-handles, which are separated by a new split seat.
There are extra panels on the tank and a belly pan that adds to the Sports moniker. Another addition is a pair of LED pilot lamps. Overall, the Xtreme Sports is a decent looker. The Sports doesn't come equipped with an engine immobiliser, service indicator or under-seat charging point. It does, however, retain the Xtreme's attractive LED tail-lamp arrangement along with the side-stand indicator.
The buttons are easy to use and don't feel flimsy. While it retains the newest iteration of the same Honda-sourced 149.2-cc, it has been tuned to produce the greatest power output of the lot at 15.8 PS peaking at 8,500 rpm. The torque stands at 13.5 Nm at 7,000 rpm. This engine is married to a five-speed transmission, all of which sits in the long-standing tubular diamond frame.
The Xtreme Sports' engine is married to a five-speed transmission, all of which sits in the long-standing tubular diamond frame. Pics/Sanjay Raikar
The foot-pegs are comfortably positioned and the handle is wide and easy to grip. The riding position is fairly upright. The tank is slightly bloated, and that, coupled with the side panels, makes gripping it with your knees an uncomfortable experience. The seat is wide and comfortable, allowing for a plush ride, even on extended stints.
The ride quality from the telescopic hydraulic front and adjustable gas reservoir rear suspension set-up soaks up all the little niggles from craters and speed-breakers. The ride is smooth, and the handling, too, is sprightly when dodging through traffic, but turns into a bit of a deterrent round corners because it doesn't give you a whole lot of confidence when leaning into bends.
The engine feels a little gruff and the exhaust note isn't the most pleasing to hear either. The power delivery from that 15.8-PS engine isn't the most urgent, so you don't really get that feeling of urgency from all that power. As for 0-60 km/h, the Xtreme Sports did it in 5.67 seconds, attaining its top speed at 109.6 km/h.
The default placement of the gear-lever is slightly on the higher side and shifts don't feel completely on point either.
Braking is achieved either through a front and rear disc brake set-up as on the bike we had, or the front disc and rear drum combo available on the more economical variant. The Xtreme Sports priced at R83,100 for the dual-disc variant. We managed to extract 45 km/l in the city and 54 km/l on the highway, which equates to an overall efficiency figure of 47.25 km/l.
Need to know
Price — Rs 83,100 (OTR, Pune)
Engine Type — Air-cooled, single cylinder
Displacement — 149.2 cc
Max Power — 15.8 PS @ 8,500 rpm
Max Torque — 13.5 Nm @ 7,000 rpm
Gears: — Five-speed, constant mesh
Top Speed: — 109.60 km/h
Test riding the Honda CBR 650F (Read more)
Test riding the Yamaha YZF-R3 (Read more)
SRK-Gauri anniversary: B-Town stars and their non-filmi better halves
Birthday special: Popular mothers and daughters in Bollywood
Spotted: 'Kaabil' star Hrithik Roshan with dad Rakesh Roshan
'Rock On 2' trailer launch: Farhan, Shraddha enthrall audience with live gig
Flashback: When bikini babes set a new world record in Australia