After putting out teasers a few days prior to the 2017 EICMA, adventure motorcycling fans were left salivating at the proposition of a larger cubic capacity Impulse to arrive from the Hero MotoCorp stables. It had been six years since the Impulse was launched and the demise last year made sure that it remained etched in the memory of Indian motorcyclists as a fun to ride, small on/off roader. The cat is literally out of the bag now with Hero showcasing the Xpulse concept, a new ground-up design motorcycle.
On the face of it, the Xpulse does not share any visual cues to the Impulse. The design is rather matured and minimalist now with a round LED headlamp, large(-r than the Impulse) fuel tank, wide seat and a digital info panel. The showcased bike also boasted of several accessories such as wide engine guards, auxiliary lights, panniers and tail bag, all suited to appeal to the tourer as well. When inquired upon why the drastic change over from the design between the Xpulse and the Impulse, Hero’s CTO Markus Braunsperger cited, “The Impulse was an ahead of its time motorcycle with an aggressive design the Indian buyer did not comprehend. The buyer needs to be educated first on the segment and that is the whole aim of the Xpulse, to ease them into the world of adventure motorcycles.”
One of the main criticisms that the Impulse faced during its tenure was that the motor was rather low on power and didn’t have the oomph to match the stance. While a few customers replaced the engine with a Karizma’s 223cc single-cylinder unit with small mods to the chassis, majority of them bored out the mill to displace 180cc. There is good news on the motor front as Hero has currently employed a 200cc single-cylinder air-cooled with oil-cooler, fuel injected motor on the Xpulse. While they did not give us all details on the motor’s figures, a few Hero officials did confirm that it was the same motor shown on the Xtreme 200 at the 2016 Auto Expo, albeit this running a different tuning. Markus had knowledge of the Impulse’s shortcomings in the engine department and he was rather happy to have something to show us with a larger displacement. But more than that, the engine would not only meet Euro IV (adhering to BS IV inadvertently) but also Euro V and BS VI emission norms, clearly thinking ahead.
Another significant update is on the suspension front. The long travel front fork may perhaps be the same as on the Impulse but you get a new monoshock equipped swingarm for handling the rear duties. The Xpulse also makes use of a 21-18 inch tyre size combination and comes shod with Metzeler Endurance 3 Sahara rubber. Retardation at both ends would be done via disc brakes and Hero has told us that the bike will come equipped with ABS.
Given that this is a concept and not a production ready motorcycle, I do hope Hero gives the Xpulse a bit more zing and spice to it to entice more fellow enthusiasts and me. In its current state, the Xpulse does feel understated and ready for the masses. Here’s thought though Hero, why not have an adventure version of the Xpulse also ready with this one when you do finally launch it.
When would it be launched would be the only thought now popping in your mind. Well, few sources have hinted at the bike being ready for 2018 Auto Expo, although it would be safe to assume that the production ready motorcycle should be ready for the world come the first half of 2018.