Hero Motocorp’s first motorcycle after its split from Honda and they seem to have deviated quite far from the conventional. Before you think anything let us first remind you that unconventional can be for the good too. Hero and popular conventions call it a on-off road bike. Having core DNA of a motocross bike, it still brings to the table a lot that can make it the elusive take it anywhere motorcycle that many of us want. Needless to say we were quite eager to get our hands on the Impulse and check out what it really can do on road and mostly off road.
Engine and Performance
The engine on the Hero Impulse has been around quite some time and you pretty much know what to expect from it. A little lazy to get going but once you breach the 3K RPM range you have a peppy little engine that pulls cleanly till 8K RPM after which it slows down to a cut off at 10K RPM. All the pulling power in the engine is between the 5K and the 7.5K range and the engine clearly shows that on road, keep the revs at that range and you will most definitely have an evil grin on your face, but still not enough for a clean overtake on the tarmac. The lack of torque is a mood kill on this bike, although there is plenty and enough to go around with; the moment you are on an incline, especially when you are off road and want to power through, it leaves you asking for more. This is where the gearing comes to the rescue, although it will not let you fly but the short first gear will keep you going. The gear changes are very sharp and smooth and all through the test we never faced a false neutral. The engine remained smooth even after plenty of 1st and 2nd gear off-roading, a touch rough after a long session but good all the way.
Look and Feel and Build Quality
The Hero Impulse is tall with the front mud guard high up in the air, making sure you get that second look on road. There is nothing that comes even remotely close to resembling the Impulse in today’s market. The wide handle bar and the upright riding position give you quite the commanding look on this tall bike. The panels are of good quality and design wise in sync with times, hitting the sweet spot between sharp and curvy lines.
The Impulse feels incredibly light on and off-road. Weighing in at 134kgs, it is still easy to flick this bike through anything that comes your way. The high upright riding position is very comfortable and you can ride all day long without breaking a sweat. There is this sense of energy that comes with the bike, a feeling of power, that you really do feel in control. The build quality is typical as in any Hero, neat and clean, although we did find couple of not so elegant looking weld spots, but overall a good finish.
Handling and Braking
The ergonomics of the Impulse quite obviously makes it too light in the front and that makes it a bit unpredictable when you are hard on the front brakes. But then, that’s how the bikes of this genre behave owing to the long front suspensions and knobbly tyres. But again, it becomes quite the bad boy fun once you get used to the sweet spot of braking which is primarily rear dominated. That said we were not pleased with the stopping power of the rear drums, a disc could have helped the cause. The overall light nimble feel on the bike makes you stop at nothing on and off road. Your regular back breaking potholes and speed-breakers becomes something that you do not notice, and for you to say no to riding on any terrain, or even think twice, would be quite a rare situation. The Hero Impulse may lack that extra pulling power but it makes up for all that with a plush ride that just keeps you going.
The Hero Impulse is not the typical full bred off-roading machine that its look suggest it to be. Standing on pegs puts you in a rather awkward position an the handle bars are quite the way forward and not wide enough for that sort of riding. But then you can just plant your self way at the front on the seat and just keep going. The stock tyres are more biased towards off road riding and lack the bite during hard braking on tarmac.
Accessories and Key features
The Hero Impulse comes with a lot of little touches added around the bike that makes it that extra bit special. The indicators are semi-flexible, the extra long seat offers a lot of space for rider, pillion and then some more. The tail section has option bolts for luggage carriers with a load capacity of 7 kgs. An extra small box on left and a helmet strap lock. The stock chain is of the O-ring type, also provided is a sprocket protector at the rear. The speedometer has the back light always on and is a digital one, with the tachometer the good ol’ fashioned needle. The digital meter also sports a clock. The headlights are powered by a 35W/35W setup and has a good throw and spread.
Value for Money
This is where is gets a little bit tricky for the Hero Impulse. Although quite minimalistic in design, and being a new entry segment, one would expect a much more competitive pricing. But then, it is not exactly exorbitantly overpriced, in fact, it is priced on similar lines as the other regular (now boring) 150cc commuter bikes. Add to that it being a Hero with quite the bearable service costs and service availability, an engine that gave us a steady mileage in the range of 45-50kmpl, And then this bike becomes quite the bang for the buck.
The Hero Impulse is a more probable choice for the younger or fun loving crowd who do not wish for the regular anymore. Add to that it being a capable machine that you can easily ride on most terrains, and at the end of the day return a decent mileage and is easy to maintain. The Impulse has hit all the right notes for a mass market appeal. The enthusiasts however would always wish it had a 250cc motor and possibly rear discs. Taking nothing away from the Hero Impulse, it is a very capable fun bike that will keep you going all day long with a wide grin and gleaming eyes.
|Design||4-stroke, Air cooled|
|Torque||13.3 Nm @ 5000 RPM|
|Power||13 BHP @ 7,500 RPM|
|Starting aid||Kick / Electric|
|Frame||Twin pipe type cradle|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic Hydraulic Shock Absorbers|
|Rear Shock absorber||Mono Suspension with Nitrox|
|Brake system Front||Disc|
|Brake system Rear||Drum brake|
|Brake disc – diameter front||240 mm|
|Brake drum – diameter rear||110 mm|
|Wheel base||1,360 mm|
|Height (unloaded)||1,160 mm|
|Front tyre||90 / 90 x 19 inch|
|Rear tyre||110 / 90 x 17 inch|
|Ground clearance (unloaded)||245 mm|
|Total fuel tank capacity approx.||11.1 L Normal unleaded petrol|
|Kerb Weight||134 kg|
|Battery||12 Volt 4 Amp maintenance free|
|Head lights||12V 35/35 W H4|