There’s no better way to describe the 160cc motorcycle space in India than by calling it a segment that can get your pulse racing without being too hard on your wallet. Motorcycles in this space walk the fine line between being performance-oriented and frugal, penny-wise  commuters. Hero gave us a taste of its all-new entrant to this segment, the Xtreme 160R back in February and we’ve finally got the chance to spend some time with it in city, out on the highway and on some winding roads. Here’s what we think.

The Xtreme 160R is undoubtedly the most eye-catching bike in the 160cc segment.
The 160R is Hero’s first offering to feature all-LED lighting. While the taillight and turn indicators are quite bright, the same can’t be said about the headlight. The throw from the new headlight is adequate, but it could use a stronger beam. 
While the Xtreme 160R does use fully-digital negative LCD instrumentation, it doesn’t really display more than what a typical digi-analogue unit would. All the data you get is from  the speed, tacho, odo, clock, fuel gauge and two trip meters and there is no trip computer information. Hero says they’ve got a  new ECU with 14 sensors in place for its fuel-injection system and it would have been nice if some readings like real-time fuel efficiency and engine temperature could be displayed. Another tiny niggle is that the display can be hard to read when sunlight hits in directly from above.

More information on the LCD would have been nice.

What we missed out on most was a gear position indicator, but the Xtreme makes up in other areas with features like a hazard light switch and a side stand down engine cut off function. There’s also a neat new kill switch that doubles up as a starter button.
 Suspension on the Xtreme 160R is handled by a 37mm telescopic fork and a seven-step preload-adjustable monoshock. Both are similar to what we see on other motorcycles in the segment, but Hero has managed to tune them very well. The ride quality is absorbent without feeling too soft and this doesn’t change even with a pillion. People living in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities will appreciate how the bike manages to get through a rough patch of road so easily. The 167mm of ground clearance will also prove to be sufficient. 
Like its larger 200cc cousin, the Xtreme 160R also shines when it comes to handling. The aforementioned suspension set-up paired to the well executed tubular frame makes it delightful in the corners. The low kerb weight and communicative chassis also makes the 160R fun and flickable. It’s not just a quick turn in that the 160R allows, but the dollops of mechanical grip will keep you confident even mid corner. The MRF Zapper FYM at the front and the radial MRF Revz S tyre at the rear are among the best tyres you will find in the segment and offer a good amount of grip and feedback.
Like the Xtreme 200, the 160 uses a 276mm disc brake set-up (220mm at the rear) that translates to predictable, precise braking performance. The front brake lever feel is neutral and braking is neither too sharp nor too sensitive – it has been tuned with beginner rides in mind. There’s a noticeable amount of dive upon hard braking, but it’s nowhere near a scary amount. Like every other bike in the segment, the 160R only comes equipped with single-channel ABS and the system works as expected. In our performance tests, the Xtreme 160R came  to a standstill from 60kph in 18.77m which is acceptable, but nowhere close to segment leading. 
 

Feel from front brake lever is neutral. ABS works as expected.

As for the ergonomics, the rider is positioned in an upright, comfortable position. The rider’s triangle on the 160R is best described as commuterish with a hint of sportiness. You are required to lean forward slightly and your feet are a little more behind than on a regular street bike. The ergonomics are quite likable, especially in the city and they are in tune with the nature of this bike. Hero has also managed to get the seat right as it’s well padded and spacious. As for the seat height, 790mm is friendly for short riders and among the lowest in the 160cc segment. At the same time, the Xtreme 160R feels a little more spacious for tall riders compared with the RTR 160.The Hero Xtreme 160R is priced very competitively at Rs 99,950 (rear drum brake variant) and Rs 1.03 lakh (rear disc brake variant). It is the most affordable motorcycle in its segment and a full Rs 10,000 cheaper than the Suzuki Gixxer which is now the most expensive bike in the space. While the 160R is lacking when it comes to the top-end quotient of the engine, it makes up for it with attractive design, enjoyable handling, comfort and impressive fuel efficiency. That said, the finish in some areas could have been better, as could the feature list, but the latter would have driven the price up. To sum up, the Xtreme 160R is a good looking everyday motorcycle that’s brisk in the city, fun in the corners and light on the pocket. If you want the fastest bike for the money, you will have to look elsewhere.

 

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