2023 Hero Xtreme 160R 4V review - keeping up with the competition!
Remember Hero's 1R concept from the 2019 EICMA? It gave birth to the Xtreme 160R that came out a few years ago looking pretty much similar to the concept. What was missing though were the upside-down forks. Even the ageing Pulsar NS 160 has got them now - so it was about time the Xtreme 160 got it too - so here they are. But the competition includes the Apache RTR 160 too, which has a four-valve head - so the new Xtreme 160R has now got that too. And because the target audience of this motorcycle has the attention span of an Instagram reel, there is an updated design to attract that audience.
Well, not much has changed on the already good-looking 160R, but the 4V simply has a more aggressive-looking stance with those golden forks. These have a 37mm diameter, which coupled with the lean stance of the Xtreme, makes them appear a lot beefier than what we have seen on the Pulsar NS 160. There is an option of a split seat too which makes the appearance sportier.
Adding some more oomph is a belly pan with the 4V badging and all these new components can be retrofitted on the older 2V variant because the mounting points or cycle parts haven't changed. There are new paint options too including a bold new colour scheme made up of a metallic blue and a matte hi-viz yellow which is my favourite on the 4V, though the matte finish gets soiled very quickly. Hero has lowered the position of the LED headlight and added tiny winglets underneath, all in a bid to mimic the stance of a raging bull, but this change could be hard to notice.
Look closely though and you will spot a tiny radiator right below the tank. This is an oil cooler - because, well, the competitors have it too. It wasn't really required but better cooling is always welcome in a country like ours. The engine is still air-cooled and the oil is circulated via this radiator for enhanced cooling. The 160cc single in the Xtreme is a trusty old engine that was recently made compatible with the BSVI phase two norms and the E20 fuel blend but features a four-valve head on this bike. It helps with more efficient burning of fuel and more refined engine behaviour. It certainly feels as refined as the new Pulsar N 160 or the Apache RTR 160 4V, if not better, and has a clear edge over the ageing NS 160.
The RTR and both the Pulsar 160s still manage marginally higher power figures than the Xtreme 160R 4V, but the Hero is still the lighter motorcycle despite the addition of the upside-down forks giving it an excellent power-to-weight ratio.
Hero had originally chosen a 2V head for the 160R to ensure a strong midrange performance. That character has been safeguarded with the 4V setup too. The power and torque are dialled in at a slightly lower rpm than the competition and Hero's torque curve looks smoother too which reflects in its healthy roll-on acceleration. Hero also claims best-in-class acceleration and top speed, but we will have to verify that with a road test.
Ride and handling
The 160R 4V comes with two primary flavours - the Standard which uses conventional 37mm forks and the Pro you see here with the 37mm upside down forks. While we did not get a chance to ride the Standard, it's likely to feel similar to the 2V variant which runs similar hardware. The upside-down forks on the Pro variant have an advantage with better a taught front-end feel and lesser dive under braking. Like the 2V variant, the initial bit of the suspension travel feels soft on the 4V too and stiffens up as your progress further. The result is that the low-speed ride is cushy for your commuting duties, while sport riding at speed feels confident too. However, if your daily commutes are going to have, eh, extremely bad roads, the standard forks are likely to be more enduring and you will worry lesser about busting the oil seals. If you have smoother commutes though, the USDs should work just fine. They will also complement your sport riding intent quite well, but if you are going to be hitting the winding roads often, you might want to look at better tyres. The CEAT Zooms have impressed us in the past with their commuting duties, but MRF Zappers simply feel better around fast winding roads. Also, note that the Xtreme 160R is quick to scrape its footpegs, so all the feedback that you can get from the tyres is useful!
Despite the 4-5kg increase in weight caused by the new hardware, the new Xtreme continues to feel light and peppy - whether it is riding around winding roads or through city traffic. The ergonomics, as before, are on point and despite the large tank and the sporty split seat arrangement, the bike feels nice and roomy for commutes as well as sport riding. The rear split seat is flat, wide, roomy and well-cushioned for the pillion. But if you are going to ferry a lady wearing a saree, you are better off with the single-piece seat from the Standard model (which can be swapped with the split seat without the need for tools)
The 4V too continues with a single-channel ABS configuration and while a dual-channel system would have been a safer bet, the braking doesn't really leave much room for complaint. The lever feel is progressive and the brakes feel confident. You need to be careful while braking on the gravel though.
Which brings me to the pricing. Asking ?1.27 lakh and ?1.36 lakh respectively for the Standard and Pro, the Xtreme 160R 4V is priced rather competitively. Save for dual-channel ABS, Hero has thrown the kitchen sink at it and given the audience most of what they expected at this price and cubic capacity bracket. So if you are shopping in this space either for a power commuter or a funky college-goer machine, the Xtreme 160R 4V is certainly worth considering.
Words Rohit Paradkar
Photography Anis Shaikh
Starts Rs 99,950