I have yet to ride the Hero Xpulse 200 properly. I rode the motorcycle only for a short distance around the block and it felt a lot like my Impulse. I will wait till I get to ride it for a long distance on and off road before I pronounce my judgment. 🙂
Having said that, today I did get a chance to take a close look at a Xpulse 200 and paid attention to something my friends have been talking about – the cut in the central member of the chassis. If you look at this closely, the bent pipe stays clear of the chassis. However, it needed to be cut so that the bolt securing the bent pipe to the engine head could be accessed.
I’m pretty sure that the motorcycle is structurally stable and safe. A company like Hero wouldn’t have launched the motorcycle if it wasn’t. Neither would Automobile Research Association of India (ARAI) have certified the vehicle as fit for use. Hero must have reinforced the section of the chassis which has been cut to compensate for the weakness induced by the cut. But this doesn’t look good. I don’t mean only aesthetically. It doesn’t look good from a safety and strength perception standpoint.
This reminds me of the time I boarded an Air India flight and found that the window glass was stuck to the trim using duct tape. Obviously it didn’t mean that the airplane was unsafe to fly. If I thought it was unsafe I would have gotten off. But as a paying customer it just gave me a very bad feeling about what Air India thought about safety and aesthetics.
Cutting away a portion of a motorcycle plastic side panel to make place for something is one thing. But cutting away the central member of the chassis to make place for a tool to access a bolt tells me that the designers at Hero could have done a better job in planning the volumetric layout of the components of this motorcycle. Hero has been developing motorcycles for far too long to make a glaring mistake like this.