Hero Impulse – Review
Single again after the mutually agreed divorce with its long time partner Honda and with the new name as “Hero Moto Corp”, Hero has taken a bold step in launching its first model as a singleton, the Hero Impulse. Known for its commuter bike and establishing itself as the market leader of masses, Hero has rather chartered into a brave new waters with this on/off roader.
Impulse looks very different and unique from what ever you have seen before on Indian roads apart from a bike called Enduro from the staples of Bajaj which was launched ages back but faded out without any impact. For Indian bikers, the choice so far is between commuter bike or sports bikes but never an adventurous dirt bike with real on road/off road capabilities. Impulse is aimed to satisfy the best of both worlds on tarmac or on dirt.
On look front, Impulse is an unique design proposition amidst the crowds of Indian models that fight for space on Indian roads. It sports an attitude of can-go-anywhere-bike.
Impulse opens up a new category and a chance for raring adventurer in you to mount on a dual-sport bike. It exudes strong street presence with a big black front mudguard sticking out like a street fighter.
So you got a typical big and raised protruding out black fender like a bird’s beak, typical of dirt bikes.
A long motorcross seat that wraps up all the way the fuel tank. The seat is thoughtfully bolted so that it is firm in place. Also the extra length of the seat all the way up also adds to your safety on bumpy, adventure rides.
Impulse holds a sporty fuel tank which is lean and with minimalistic fenders and a 11 liter capacity.
The head is lean and mean. It has a small head and a minimalistic fairings.
The handle bars are wide and also you get a knuckle guard. (not shown in the pics here )
The instrument cluster is not a flamboyant one. It is a digital-analog combo meter console with ‘service due’ indicator but not entirely a put off too.
A sporty high mount muffler catches the eye. Also the high rise means you have one worry less while navigating through water at unfortunate times.
The mean chiseled look is largely due to the tyres and the suspension. Impulse comes with a 19-inch front/17-inch rear on-off road tyres.
Also what set aside the Impulse from the rest of the Indian bikes you see on roads is the long travel front suspension with a large telescopic hydraulic front disc brake. The rear sports a nitrox gas-filled swing arm mono shock suspension.
With 245 mm ground clearance, the bike is set to sail through easily any rough stretch. And also gives the bike an unique stance. Yes, the bike is tall but not that tall to scare you or off-balance you.
On a closer look, you will notice that the sporty exhaust pipe does not go down like your regular bikes but loops around the engine before exiting besides the pillion seat and the advantage of this is it aids in the higher ground clearance which is a must for an on/off roader and also to effortlessly wade through low rivers or our water clogged city roads during monsoon.
Also note the curious looking brake lever!
Did you notice the white solid plate in the rear sprocket ? Ok I agree it is unsightly but then it helps in securing the chain while you rough the bike on a rough road-less territories.
Powering the Impulse is an 149.2 cc air cooled, 4- stroke single cylinder that delivers 13.2 Ps @ 7500 rpm and a commendable torque of 13.4 N-m @ 5000 rpm mid range. Though the 13.2 bhp may not be an impressive figures for a bike of this category, it still manages to deliver the best of the engine capabilities thanks to the mean, lean design. It makes a quiet a difference when you drive it.
As I get on the bike and saddle up, riding posture is upright and spot on, the bike height feels decent and comfortable. It is taller than your average bike but then not discomfort while you are mounted thanks to bike’s posture. As you throttle, the bike packs in a lot of punch, response is crisp. With a soft clutch and precise gear change the biking is trouble free even in peak city traffic, though you might initially take a little time to adjust to the bike posture, suspension and handling.
Thanks to the wide handle bar which allows you to flick the bike from corner to corner with minimal effort. Keep the throttle open and glide over the pot holes with comfort, courtesy great front suspension and lovely monoshock at the rear. It is also a great bike for adventurous off-road trails, it gives you the confidence to ride it hard even on hilly or rocky terrains.
Impulse comes in 5 colors:
Impulse comes with a sticker price of 69,963 (ex-showroom, Mumbai) With Impulse, Hero has opened up a new bike segment in India and with no competition in near sight, Impulse is for the adventurer within you. It is a refreshing new bike segment and it would impress the targeted enthusiast.
Bajaj Boxer 150 – In the Ring
At ex-showroom price(Bangalore) of Rs. 43,000, Bajaj’s new offering Boxer 150 touted as “Bharat bike” is all set to change the dynamics of the market as at this price and with electric start to boast of, it is cheaper than some of the 100 cc bikes. Call it a knockout punch!
While on one hand we have heavy weights like Harley Davidson, Ducati testing waters in Indian roads and Pulsars, Karizmas, RTRs and R1 blazing the trail on the popular style and power segment, a huge pie of Indian motorcycle market is captured by likes of Splendors that share the larger pie of rural market as well as a city commuter bikes for middle classes. The real numbers are in this commuter biking segment which is ruled by Hero’s Splendor model. Bajaj has it’s share of the pie with the models like Platina and Discover as well as had a good run with Boxer CT.
Bajaj has a tendency to stretch their Brands into various spec sheets. They did it earlier with Pulsar, Platina and Discover series and now it does a trick with its well established Boxer brand, upping the scale of engine power with the same ruggedness that is associated with the Boxer brand combined with an irresistible sticker price. Bajaj makes no pretensions here on the style statement. The bike is styled to provide a best practical, functional and very affordable two wheeler which can handle the rugged rural terrain with ease as well as sport the magic 150 cc tag and at a very attractive and aggressive pricing. To its credit, Bajaj has delivered a promising vehicle that packs a punch to wean the splendor stricken rural masses. And ya, it also rings a heavy warning bell to all other 100 cc kids on the market.
One has to know the pulse of the segment Boxer 150 is aimed at to understand the style quotient of the bike. No, style does not dictate terms here but rather efficiency in terms of practical usage, ruggedness and value for money. So obviously it is an entirely different design engineering involved here. Boxer 150 sports a bold and round head lamp that looks neat and solid. The tail light and the indicators are simple but yet neatly laid out. Over all, practical, no frills but assuring and neat.
For a bike that comes with a sticker price of 43K ex-showroom price, one can only expect a basic instrument panel and Boxer 150 delivers exactly that. A speedometer and a fuel guage nested in the twin-pod plus the basic lights is what you get.
The fuel tank is prominent and bulbous, with a loud Boxer sticker on it.
Wide MRF tyres on the 17-inch spoke wheels is assuring while driving offering a good road grip…
While the front suspension works are taken care by 125mm travel telescopic forks, Bajaj-patented SNS suspension takes care of the rear end… Thanks to the no-frills design that does away with unwanted additions and add-ons, the bike weighs just 123 Kgs and this helps the suspension handle the ruggedness of the bad roads pretty decently.
Just because it is 150 cc , don’t expect disc brakes, Boxer 150 sports 130mm drum brakes on both ends, so it makes the obvious strain while braking…
The heart of the Boxer is a single spark plug head unit. The 144.8cc is borrowed from its sibling Discover 150 though the discover head sports a twin spark plug. The engine delivers a 12 PS of power at 7,500 rpm and an impressive torque of 12.26 Nm at 5,000 rpm. All this is sure to get Boxer 150 race ahead of its weaker 100 cc rivals in the segment by a huge distance and also keep it distinctly ahead and attractive for buyers.
Boxer 150 comes in only one color – Black.
Riding and Performance: The bike sports a good sitting comfort thanks to the wider seats. In rural roads, it gives a good riding stance for a longer trip. Thanks to the light weight body which again is due to the no-frills minimal design concept helps in giving a better fuel efficiency and decent pickup. The bike has a fairly good handling on bad roads. Though the braking is bit hard thanks to the drum brakes.
The commuter bike gives a decent mileage around 55 Kmpl, which is a decent enough for 150 cc bike.
Boxer 150 tries to pull the carpets under the wheels of 100 cc bikes that hitherto ruled the rural markets. With very practical, functional design and performance elements, aggressive pricing and a 150 cc engine to lure the target segments, Bajaj has come up with a very smart bike that has a potential to clock huge numbers for India’s second biggest motorcycle company. How big the success can be? Will it finally manage to erode the undisputed dominance of Splendor in the rural and small town segments, well only time can tell but Boxer 150 does has the potential and is promising.
Honda CBR 250R – To know the unknown
When Honda CBR 250R was launched during march, 2011, we could not review it for some reasons. Later with the new car launches grabbing our attention our focus shifted to the four wheelers and the CBR faded from our timeline. But then some bikes are not to be brushed off. We got couple of mails from our readers asking us to review the machine for them. When readers demand, we cannot say no. So we called the Honda guys and they gladly arranged our test vehicle.
Honda comes with its famed engineering reputation and Honda CBR 250R too promises that.
So here is the quarter liter mini-monster machine before us.
Yes, It has got an impressive standing. Let’s first visually gauge upon the bike.
Be it car or bike, the first thing I notice is the head especially the headlamps. So we have a Y-headlamp holding the main beam lights and flanked by the pilot lights and distinctly marked by black outlines. Neat.
The instrument panel is sportier with silver finish and blue LCD back-lit. It displays all the desired readings that you would look for.
The piece de resistance of the machine however is the twin sporty cowling giving the look and feel of the famed VFR 1200F (the comparison ends here as this is a baby when compared to the VFR monster) Still, the faring does not look odd on CBR unlike the many bikes that we see oflate in Indian roads with a mismatched fairing design.
Another notable sight is the bulky exhaust made in stainless steel and black coated.
Honestly, I was not too impressed by the honeycomb tail light. Surely, it could have been better designed for the overall design balance of the bike.
CBR250R sports a wide tubeless tyre in the front and rear. Can you see the ABS fitting in the bike? Much about it later.
The rear wheel.. 5 spoke mag wheels.
It has got a twin seating arrangement that not only adds to the style quotient but also adds an utility value. Did I hear you ask what utility? Check the next to next picture.
So you can store your bike documents in this small utility space down here..
CBR comes in three colors:
Ultimately the CBR250R impresses us with its bold yet strikingly good looks.
Now lets come to the heart of the matter – the engine, that beats the machine. The liquid cooled, 4 stroke DOHC single cylinder quarter liter engine (249.6 cc for the number lovers) delivers 25 bhp @ 8500 rpm and 22.9 Nm @ 7000 rpm. It has a 6 speed gear transmission and 1 down, 5 up gear shift pattern.
CBR250R is a wonderful sports tourer currently on Indian roads. For the uninitiated, to quote Wiki:
A Sport touring motorcycle is a type of motorcycle that blends the performance of a sport bike with the long-distance capabilities of a touring motorcycle, while providing comfort and relative safety to the rider.
When you soak into the saddle and clock a long distance on highways, you will agree to it. The bike is ergonomically well designed that you get a fatigue free long-ride and a refreshing cruise. The handle bar is relaxed and easy on your shoulders while seated on the comfortable seating. The engine responds effortlessly, it revs pretty easily through the low and mid ranges, that makes it good for city traffic as well. If you expect a loud knocking racer noise, you are on for a surprisingly silent and smooth engine. The CBR250 R can glide your way at top speed of 150 km/h. CBR 250R also gives you a headstart with 0-100km/h time at 8.6seconds.
The die hard daredevil racers might roll their eyes to the needs of combined Anti-lock Brake System but for an occasional racer in you and more importantly for regular riders with all the adrenalin minus the daredevilry, it works wonderfully well to stabilize the vehicle on sudden braking at rough conditions.
And thanks to PRGM-FI technology and intelligent design that ensured light weight as well as a mean form factor ensures a good mileage in its segment and you can expect 27-29 kmpl.
CBR 250R retails at Rs.168758 for the Standard model and at Rs. 197751 for the ABS version (both on-road prices, bangalore)
So our verdict? So who are the nearest competitors? Well, Bajaj has Pulsar 220, Hero motor corp has Karizma but strictly speaking on terms of class and performance the real challenger in this segment on Indian roads for CBR250R is Ninja 250R. We are not indulging on a shoot-off between both the vehicles now in this article but with Ninja 250R’s sticker price commanding up-north at 3L , for those looking for a sporty bike as well as a city bike, not to forget majority Indians look for a value for money package, Honda got everything right in CBR250R and no wonder, it has got good sales too so far.