HERO MOTO IMPULSE
1. 'Same 149cc motor as the Unicorn?!'. Yes, but 13.02 bhp in an on/off-roader reads much differently than that on a heavier street bike like the Unicorn.
2. This isn't a Hunk with a motocross front fender. It's a proper, conventional off-roader with all the cycle parts you need to venture into the rough. The front forks are 50mm longer, there's a monoshock at the rear, and it can take to hard off-road riding like no other bike in the Indian market can. Except, perhaps, the BMW R1200 GS - and that's roughly 18 times as expensive!
3. The Impulse is shod with 19" front and 17" rear knobbly tyres - essential in the dirt. This does come in the way of braking on tarmac/concrete but that's something you can work around once you've accustomed yourself to the tyre behaviour. Off-road, the tyres grip well but could have been just a little bit better in terms of feedback.
4. Because the Impulse is narrow and tall, the sensation of speed is magnified (also adding to that is the minimal wind-deflection). The seat is a full-spec on/off-road number, beginning from well over the curvature of the tank ending in a comfy, if slightly narrow, pillion seat. The riding position takes little time to get used to and is perfect, both, on the road and off it.
5. Most importantly, because the Impulse is the only one in its segment (we hope the competition catches up soon!), it will stand out in a crowd. The general consensus is that the Impulse is 'cool' and we see a lot of room for various off-road/touring accessories too!
6. At Rs 66,800 (ex-showroom, Mumbai), the Impulse is sheer bang for the buck and if you're not all about knee-downs, you'll find this motorcycle very interesting.
PS. Two dislikes; A few horses more would seal the deal for Hero Moto and there wouldn't be a need for this comparo in the first place. Secondly, we're not impressed with the exhaust note (identical to that of the Unicorn). An on/off-roader needs to sound a bit hardcore, no?
1. The 153cc, 13.8bhp motor on the FZ was never one of its strengths but still showed flashes of brilliance when really given the stick, until which it remained largely relaxed and unstressed.
2. The FZ's chunky styling is still to be beaten by any other motorcycle in its segment and we like the standard, no decals/fairing variant best.
3. It is shod with exceptionally good tyres, with the 140-section rear also serving as an excellent styling element. While the FZ isn't, obviously, as agile as the R15, it is quite well sprung (monoshock at the rear) which encourages borderline-hooliganistic riding.
4. The FZ has a very touring-friendly riding position and engine mannerisms to match. Even in traffic, the FZ is an easy, communicative motorcycle and you'd be quite pleased to be astride one. Although, you are warned, the Hunk and CBZ X-treme are perkier, quicker.
5. The FZ, unfortunately, won't stand out in a crowd anymore. But that's a given, because it's so good looking, everyone has one!
6. At Rs 71, 250 (ex-showroom, Mumbai) the FZ is VFM in terms of kit, although we know the chassis can handle a lot more horsepower. Oh, and maybe Yamaha should try a slimmer, more supermoto-esque motorcycle on the FZ platform.