Off the road, Hero XPulse 200 performed better than Royal Enfield Himalayan with double the displacement with almost double the price. It was a shiny beacon that showed that lightness and maneuverability can trump raw performance numbers.
Hero tried to better it with BS6 and also, recently got a 4V head too. This 4V head gave XPulse 200, the much-needed touring ease and ability which was its only Achilles heel. But then, Honda came along and launched CB200X, a faux ADV to take on a true-blue off-road machine. Recently, Honda hiked the price of CB200X by Rs. 17,340 hurting its cause even more.
Let’s just get the sales figures out of the equation, okay? XPulse 200 sold 4,642 units in India and shipped 2,772 units to global markets in June 2022. Honda CB200X only sold 168 units in the same month and is not exported to global markets. There is a massive gap in sales, isn’t it?
See, faux ADVs have never made it big in India. Remember the AS200 (Adventure Sports) from Bajaj? No? That’s exactly my point. If it is not a proper off-roader, products marketed as “Adventure” bikes have always seen their demise. AS200 even got a KTM-derived 200cc engine that is far more powerful than CB200X’s 184.4cc engine derived from Hornet 2.0.
XPulse 200 is a proper off-roader designed from scratch with Hero’s extensive rally experience and pedigree. While CB200X is a glorified Hornet. XPulse 200 4V displaces 15cc more and makes 1.8 bhp more power and 1.2 Nm more torque. XPulse gets a long travel suspension with 190mm travel up front and 170 mm travel at the rear. With Rally Kit, suspension travel becomes 250mm at front and 220mm at the rear. While CB200X gets just 130mm suspension travel at the front and 115mm at the back.
XPulse gets off-road worthy spoked-wheels with 21” at front and 18” at the rear. While CB200X gets 17” alloys at both ends. Xpulse also gets dual-purpose tyres while CB200X gets road-biased tyres. XPulse also gets a Rally Kit that further enhances off-roading ability. CB200X doesn’t get anything of that sort because it was not designed to be taken off-road, to begin with.
So, that’s it? CB200X is trash? No. Not at all. CB200X is a good highway machine with comfortable ergonomics. It gets USD forks, a fatter 140-section rear tyre, tubeless tyres and more. But for Rs. 12,000 less, Hornet 2.0 does everything that CB200X does. Pricing is what is hurting CB200X the most.
Because at Rs. 1.47 lakh (ex-sh), CB200X is ridiculously overpriced and doesn’t get a 4V head, Bluetooth connectivity and navigation, off-road worthy hardware, hardcore off-road-worthy Rally Kit, and more. These are offered on XPulse 4V which costs Rs. 11,000 less and XPulse 200 2V costs Rs. 21,000 less than CB200X.
I get that a few Honda fanboys won’t care about pricing. But any logical person would. Honda is known for notoriously overpricing their products and as pricing goes on increasing, Honda fanboys will be forced to jump ships. Because for the price of CB200X, one can buy a brand new XPulse 200 2V and install fully adjustable front suspension with 30-step rebound and 30-step compression and rear suspension with rebound and preload adjustability.
I’m not saying that CB200X should not exist. I’m saying that it shouldn’t exist as an ADV which it isn’t. It is like Maruti calling S-Presso an SUV. As a short-distance comfy tourer with speeds below 100 km/h, CB200X is very compelling. But not at Rs. 1.47 lakh.