Hero Impulse – First Ride Experience

Yesterday I went for a trail ride to Butterfly beach with the Goa Trail Riders. This was Colt’s first proper off-road experience.

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Two things about the Impulse amazed me – suspension and weight. The bike feels extremely light and nimble and can easily be flicked around to maintain balance. Compared to my Tiger, the Impulse feels like a very heavy bicycle.

Truth be told, I have never felt completely confident while riding my Duke down dirt slopes. The handlebar used to shake violently and the front wheel used to bounce off even a small stone. That made the front of the bike go all over the place and so I used to end up waddling down slopes.

But things have changed completely with the Impulse. The front suspension soaks in all the small undulations and dampens out the large ones. The front tyre doesn’t bounce around and keeping it straight isn’t a huge problem. The handlebar also stays relatively calm. As a result I don’t need to waddle anymore. I can now ride down slopes confidently keeping my feet on the foot pegs.

I’ve yet to get used to this motorcycle off-road. But I can safely say that Colt is going to change my trail riding style completely.

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The narrow tank of the Impulse makes standing on the foot pegs feel completely natural. However, being six feet tall, I will need to raise the handlebar by at least a couple of inches so that I don’t need to reach right down to grab it. I had to fit two inch risers for my Tiger as well.

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The only thing I hear people complain about the Hero Impulse is its lack of power. That’s also my only complaint so far.

I thought the Impulse would struggle to take me up slopes on today’s trail ride. But I was pleasantly surprised. The slopes weren’t too steep. But they had loose stones and ruts criss-crossing the path making it quite challenging. The 150 cc engine did a pretty good job taking my 6 foot, 100 kg self up. I’m eager to ride Colt up some seriously steep and rocky slopes. But I don’t anticipate a huge problem.

Although I feel that the Impulse’s engine is good enough for riding off-road, I do feel that a little more power would have been nicer while riding on highways. Maybe that’s because I’m used riding high powered motorcycles at relatively high speeds. However, the low torque of the Impulse did mean that I had to twist the throttle for quite a while before up shifting gears, especially while riding up slopes.

The sweet spot of the Impulse is 70 kmph at 5,500 RPM on 5th gear. I could sit on that spot all day and I would enjoy the motorcycle. There are absolutely no vibrations and the motorcycle feels in total harmony. As I rev’d higher and touch 80 kmph, I felt some vibrations and things start to feel a bit twitchy. I could feel that the engine was beginning to get stressed a little. But it wasn’t as unbearable as my Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350, which basically rattles every bone in my body at the same speed. The Impulse felt far more smoother. However at 90 kmph the engine feels stressed quite a bit and at 100 kmph it’s basically begging you to stop.

Now whether one should ride a motorcycle that lacks ABS at 90 or 100 kmph is a matter of personal opinion. Frankly, I don’t think one should. At that speed, if you slam your brakes in case of an emergency, there are high chances of losing control of the motorcycle and falling even if you don’t hit whatever it is you are trying to miss. That’s why I don’t plan on riding Colt faster than 80 kmph, which is not a very bad highway cruising speed. 70 kmph on highways is what I will be enjoying on this motorcycle.