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2014 Hero Xtreme: Review


Hero Xtreme has gotten an extreme makeover. Is it now the best of the Xtreme series? We rode it to find out

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The Hero Xtreme is the Indian bike maker's flagship 150cc model. Now its TV advert doesn't convey much - actually, it's completely frivolous - but you can tell that the Xtreme is a motorcycle targeted mainly at the youth. But not necessarily the ones who like to dress on the move. Not surprisingly then, the biggest talking points for the Hero Xtreme are style and features. And it must be said, it does beat its competition hollow on both counts.
This competition, in order of popularity, stars the Bajaj Pulsar, the Yamaha FZ and the Honda CB Trigger. So, it's all pretty cut throat then. Getting back to the Xtreme, we wouldn't call it a gorgeous looking bike; it is actually pretty hard edged and in a good way. It seems the Hero designers decided to ditch the pen and take up a knife instead when designing the Xtreme and therefore it's full of sharp lines and sliced surfaces instead of being rounded or flowing. It looks best from the rear three quarters and the worst from the front. The head lamp, for all its 'Highbrow' styling, just doesn't gel with the rest of the design.

2014 Hero Xtreme - Instrumentation and features
As mentioned earlier, the Hero Xtreme is big on features. Its instrumentation, which with its shape and the thick silver outline looks more Power Ranger than anything else, has side stand and service indicator, an intelligent key, and readout for everything from odo to the trip to the time to the fuel level indication in digital form. The tachometer (much to our liking) is an analogue unit though and occupies pride of place on the Xtreme's cluster.

The Hero Xtreme also gets LED tail lamps, alloy foldable foot rests all round and nice looking alloy wheels shod with tubeless rubber. But, its USP is the underseat mobile charging point; clearly an inclusion keeping the not-so-smart battery life of our smart phones in mind. And of course our constant need to be 'social'.

Here on, however, everything has been carried over from the older Xtreme, also known as the Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme. The engine - a 149.2cc, air cooled single - still makes 14.4PS of max power and the torque rating is an identical 12.8Nm as well. It is mated to a 5-speed constant mesh gearbox. Even though in specs the engine hasn't changed, its character in the real world has.

2014 Hero Xtreme First Ride Review
The power delivery isn't as instant as before and there's a drop in refinement level compared to the older Xtreme as well. The throttle response and clutch operation is still linear, smooth and effortless, thankfully, and the gear shifts aren't bad either. But overall, the bike doesn't have the same easy pulling nature of the older motorcycle.

On the cycle parts front, the frame, the suspension, the steering geometry and the crucial dimensions like the wheelbase and ground clearance continues unchanged. The new Hero Xtreme is 2kg heavier, nonetheless; the joys of adding all the equipment and a more elaborate bodywork we guess. But, there's no real change in the bike's ride or handling character. The Xtreme remains a stable, predictable and ready to be rushed sort of a bike around a sequence of corners.

2014 Hero Xtreme
Sure, it doesn't feel as nimble or ready to drop into corners as its 17in-wheeled competition (the Xtreme still runs 18in wheels in case you were wondering), but for the other bikes to pull ahead on a winding road, better riders would be a prerequisite. If there's one area where the competition is ahead, it's braking. The brakes on the Xtreme lack bite and are only as reliable as politicians if you want to stop in a hurry.

As was the case with the ZMR, the new Xtreme is a step up for Hero in areas like styling, features, price and value, no doubt. It is priced at around Rs 66,000 ex-showroom in Delhi for the single disc version and Rs 71,000 for the double disc variant; and on both counts it undercuts its fiercest competitors. But the Xtreme fails to make the right noise on the mechanical front. Better cycle parts, sharper handling and more potent engine is what the Hero Xtreme needs now to step out of the shadow of the CBZ name and more importantly for enthusiasts to consider it.
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