Hero Xpulse vs TVS Apache RTR 200 vs Honda Highness vs Others

I am stuck and unable to make a proper decision. Never have I been so indecisive about choosing a vehicle for my needs.

BHPian girimajiananth recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I am stuck and unable to make a proper decision. Never have I been so indecisive about choosing a vehicle for my needs.

My requirement is to have a bike for the city and for the occasional highway rides. With remote working not going away anytime soon, city commutes have decreased considerably. I have my mother’s TVS Jupiter and my wife’s NTorq for the city usage at my disposal.

This is the exact model I ride currently. A 2010 Hero Honda CBZ extreme.

Pic courtesy – google

This wonderful machine has been serving me faithfully for the past 11 years without any major issues. The bike has clocked around 75,000 Kms and still going strong. Some minor issues cropped up in between which were duly fixed at the authorised service centre.

Hero Honda CBZ xtreme – Pros

  • Reliable engine and gearbox. Has zero major issues till date.
  • Rev happy engine, can rev till 6-7 K rpms which puts a smile on my face.
  • Cheap to maintain due to the Hero Honda brand. Spares are still available despite the model being discontinued.
  • Good city commuter bike. Can handle Bangalore peak hour traffic.
  • Small foot print means I can find parking space in tight spots.
  • Given the rising cost of petrol, it may not make sense upgrading to a bigger capacity engine. I might either sell the bike and use my mom’s scooter (which she barely uses) or sell the bike for whatever it fetches and buy a nice phone for myself.

Hero Honda CBZ xtreme – cons

  • Not that fuel efficient compared to other bikes in its segment. I barely get 35 KMPL within city.
  • Spongy brakes. The front disc brake is small, and the rear drum brakes wear out quickly.
  • Lacks any safety kits like ABS.
  • Poor headlight throw, not sufficient for pothole ridden city roads during night.
  • Even short weekend ride with a pillion feels strained. The ergonomics are not very comfortable with a pillion.
  • Under powered engine for highways.
  • Poor resale value.
  • Small niggles which need frequent workshop visits. I have been postponing these due to lack of time and interest. There is a little oil leak, battery is dead, seat cover is torn and tyre needs replacement badly.

If at all I decide to buy a new bike, I have decided to upgrade. I did consider electric scooters (Ather, iCube, Chetak), but I feel its too early for me to buy an electric. With limited range, I will be confined to city and for some reason these electric scooters don’t really excite me much. I am still a petrol head.

So, below are the bikes I have considered.

Hero Xpulse

Hero Xpulse likes

  • On road cost in Bangalore is around 1.6L, wont be a major hole in the pocket.
  • No offence looks. Simple and straight forward design
  • Hero maintenance will be relatively easier.
  • FE claimed is at 49KMPL.
  • Tall bike, has good road presence, can tackle Bangalore’s bad roads and potholes
  • Has ABS, engine kill switch, front and rear disc brakes which I found lacking in my CBZ xtreme.
  • 200 CC engine and gear box would be reliable and smooth.
  • Can handle occasional weekend road trips.
  • Can park it anywhere without attracting unwanted attention
  • I can buy it in white, which means I will have a white car (Tiago) and a white bike.

Hero Xpulse dislikes

  • Wife does not like it very much. She feels the rear seat is not very comfortable and is too boyish for my age. If I use it to drop her to the college where she works, other college girls may talk to me and get chummy. According to her, I must buy an “uncle” bike, but not like a HH splendor.
  • 200cc does not feel much of an upgrade. I wish it was at least 250CC.
  • Missing 6th gear. This would have made a good difference on the highway (IMHO). I am not going to take my bikes off-road.
  • Hero Ownership again, nothing exciting actually.
  • Some owners feel that its a good urban bike, but misses the punch on the highway.
  • I had a very short TD, difficult to comment on the acceleration. I also feel that the TD bike could have been tweaked for acceleration.
  • Single channel ABS. Feels like something missing when other manufacturers can offer dual channel.
  • No tubeless tyres. I hate to push bikes when I have a flat tyre.

TVS Apache RTR 200

TVS Apache RTR 200 likes

  • OTR cost in Bangalore is around 1.7L – affordable.
  • Good fit and finish.
  • Engine is smooth, very refined.
  • Good looking bike, no doubt.
  • Claimed fuel efficiency is around 50Kmpl which is a decent figure.
  • Clutch is smooth and light.
  • Pillion and rider seats are comfortable.
  • Small and nimble means can handle city traffic and tight parking spaces.
  • TVS Glide through technology is an added advantage for bumper to bumper traffic.
  • Though I am not keen on this, the Bluetooth connectivity is a plus.
  • Dual channel ABS is a plus point.
  • I can buy it in white.
  • Wife approves the bike since its comfortable than the Xpulse.

TVS Apache RTR 200 dislikes

  • The bike felt small. I did not get a big bike feel.
  • The ride position is a bit aggressive. Of course this is more of a track bike than a tourer.
  • Short weekend rides may not be comfortable for a pillion and may lack the power for a highway.

Honda Highness

Honda Highness Likes

  • Ride Position is nice. Ergonomics are comfortable
  • Loved the retro looks.
  • Dual channel ABS.
  • Pillion seat seems comfortable.
  • Smooth Honda Engine and gear box.
  • Decent fit and finish.

Honda Highness dislikes

  • I read a few reviews where owners have complained about faster brake pad wear out.
  • Some owners are not happy with the gearing ratio. I am not sure I understand this issue.
  • False neutral issue.
  • Nothing much to dislike actually

Royal Enfield Meteor 350

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 likes

  • Ultra comfortable ride position. Probably the best.
  • Relatively smooth and controlled NVH compared to previous gen RE bikes.
  • Dual Channel ABS.
  • Will be an ideal cruiser.
  • Good looking bike. Top end variant especially
  • Good fit and finish overall

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 Dislikes

  • Unknown long term reliability issues.
  • RE bikes may not be all that reliable.
  • I read all the horror stories on the chassis getting cut into two on the Himalayan and I am sceptical on the reliability on the meteor too.
  • Pillion seat is too small. Not enough space at all.

KTM Adventure 250

Please note : I am yet to test ride this

KTM Adventure 250 likes

  • Ride position is comfortable.
  • Really big bike feel.
  • In a way a good looking bike.
  • Rugged bike, feels like an all weather machine.
  • I am sure it will be a good tourer.
  • It can handle bad roads, although I have no plans of doing any off roading.
  • Can punch out 30BHP with a 250 CC engine unlike the other bikes listed above.
  • Dual channel ABS.
  • Even though I did not test ride it, the bike seat and ride position felt comfortable.
  • My wife kind of liked it despite its hooligan looks, even with the rear seat height.

KTM Adventure 250 dislikes

  • I am not sure about the maintenance costs. Could be very expensive compared to all the bikes listed (need advice here)
  • The bike is a bit tall for me. I am 5ft 7, the bike is a little tall for me although I can manage it.
  • Huge bike may be a bit difficult to negotiate in city traffic and city traffic.
  • Could be the least fuel efficient of all the bikes listed above.

Dear fellow Team-BHPians, I have listed down the likes and dislikes of the bikes I have considered to my best knowledge. Please feel free to pitch in your views and opinions. I would appreciate owners of the bikes to share their ownership experience and help me make an informed decision.

Here’s what BHPian neil.jericho had to say on the matter:

girimajiananth, you certainly have done your homework and are thinking along the right lines. All the bikes that you have shortlisted are good in their own way.

I would add the following two to your list

  • Bajaj Dominar 250
  • New Royal Enfield Classic 350

From your post, it looks as though you are looking for a sensible bike that you can keep for quite some time. I feel that your best 3 options are the Honda CB350, the Royal Enfield Meteor and the new Royal Enfield Classic 350. Personally, I loved the J series engine of the new Meteor a lot better than that of the Honda and I have met several others who felt the same as well. Now that same engine has found its way into the updated Classic 350. You cant go wrong with either the Honda or one of the two Royal Enfields. Do take your wife for test rides of the three bikes back to back to back and see what suits you the best.

P.S – If your wife thinks that the girls in her college will start talking to you if you buy the Xpulse, then she should be worried that they will start asking you for lifts, if you have the KTM Adv 250. That is perceived to be a young man’s hooligan bike and I dont think your wife will like the new found attention that you will get, if you have an orange bike in your garage.

Here’s what BHPian A350 had to say on the matter:

In the list above, the RE Meteor and Honda CB 350 are at the top of the list in terms of performance and comfort. A close buddy of mine bought the Meteor a few days ago as he found it to be the best bike in its category in terms of comfort and power. As Neil says, the new Classic with the same engine could be a great bike too. However all these three bikes are considerably more expensive than the others in your list so you may want to consider that.

Here’s what BHPian Skidrow had to say on the matter:

Surely the best value for money would be to buy either of the Suzuki Gixxer 250 or the Yamaha FZ250. Probably the best city bikes we have today – light and fast accelerating; and which are capable of maintaining 90-100 Km/h cruising speeds on the highway with burst speeds upto 30 Km/h higher.

Here’s what BHPian rajshenoy had to say on the matter:

Since you were looking at RTR200 (good choice), other alternatives in similar price range is Yamaha FZ25 which I heard has best pillion seat in 250cc segment.

If you like retro, then do wait for classic 350 as it might be just fine for city rides and occasional highway ride. I see you are skeptical about RE, but then Meteor and 650 twins are much better quality in comparison to Himalayan (looking at the first year or so since launch). Classic being bread and butter product for RE, I am sure they have taken the feedback from Meteor for a year and used it to improve the product further. These are the 3 options I can recommend.

Here’s what BHPian AtheK had to say on the matter:

I would pick the Meteor from the lot, the engine is refined, the kit is nice and it has tons of aftermarket accessories both from RE and third parties, to customize it according to your likes. The pillion seat also has touring options and your wife will be happy.

The Honda is a good bike too, and is a very close second for me. If it is reliability you are looking for, Honda kind of edges the RE here.

I personally would have picked the Meteor over the Honda though!

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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