Variety is meant to be the spice of life, as the say. If it’s true, then Indian motorcyclists have a new flavour to choose now! After Bajaj with their SX Enduro, no motorcycle manufacturer has bothered to give us an on-off roader, something that makes most sense for our road conditions. If you’ve always wanted a dirt-basher on two wheels, the wait is over! They did it back in 1999 with the CBZ and they’ve created a new segment again in 2011. Say hello to Hero MotoCorp’s Impulse!
1. Looks the part, doesn’t it? For many, the Impulse will be a refreshing break from the commuter/streetbike/sportsbike proportions that dominate traffic on our roads.
2. The Impulse’s stance is a product of that 19-inch front/17-inch rear on-off road tyres, the long-travel front suspension and the huge 245 mm ground clearance. Don’t worry, though - the Impulse is not too tall, and will fit most riders very well.
3. The high-level exhaust is a neat touch and the heat shield looks like it should prevent pillions from going medium rare. Doesn’t sound very exciting, though.
4. The seat is a long motocross-like unit, so there’s ample scope to move around. And it’s bolted into place, so there’s no movement unlike those lockable seats that can shift around. Good for the rough stuff. The clear-lens LED tail lamp is almost invisible at the rear.
5. The meters are simple, with an analogue-display tachometer and digital speedometer. The dash also shows the time (It’s 2 pm? Time to wheelie!) besides the tripmeter/odometer and fuel gauge. Just enough.
6. The Impulse features a semi double cradle frame, mated to 180 mm-stroke telescopic front forks and a gas-charged monoshock at the rear. The tyres are 90/90 R19 and 110/90 R17 at the front and rear respectively, and are specially made by Ceat for the Impulse.
7. I’ve lost count of the number of motorcycles this 149.2cc motor has appeared on, but in the Impulse, it makes 13.02 bhp@7500 rpm and 1.36 kgm@5000 rpm. Peak torque at mid-range revs means lots of one-wheeled fun!
8. Riding the Impulse is great fun - a different kind of fun than we’re used to. The front 19-incher lends great stability, while the light 134-kg kerb weight and slim profile allow the Impulse to be immensely flickable. Don’t ride it like a sportsbike, though!
9. As I mentioned before, the low-down torque and light weight combine to make a fun machine, one that is all too eager to rear its head. However, the tall gearing is a sign that, in the end, the Impulse is meant to be a fuel-efficient commuter, and that dulls the fun a bit. Slap on a louder exhaust and bolt on a bigger sprocket at the rear, and you’ll be sorted!
10. The suspension feels ultra-capable, at least more so than any of the other 150s in the market today. Ride quality is excellent in spite of the firm seat and the high riding position affords excellent visibility. Should be awesome in traffic!
11. The brakes, a 240 mm disc at the front and a 110 mm drum at the rear, are par for the course, although the front disc feels a bit spongy. But it’s understandable as all dirt-biased machines come with slightly dull brakes in order to avoid wipeouts due to sharp braking.
12. With an ex-showroom Delhi price of Rs 66,800, the Impulse is certainly very well priced and offers a lot of value for money. I think many riders are going to give into the Impulse! (Damn, should’ve used that in the mag. Wait a minute, I think I did.)
Hero MotoCorp Impulse
Displacement: 149.2 cc
Max power: 13.02 bhp@7500 rpm
Max torque: 1.36 kgm@5000 rpm
Type: Semi double cradle
Suspension: Telescopic forks (f), gas-charged monoshock (r)
Brakes: 240 mm disc (f), 110 mm drum (r)
Tyres: 90/90 R19 (f), 110/90 R17 (r)
L/W/H (mm): 2100/820/1160
Wheelbase: 1360 mm
Kerb weight: 134 kg
Fuel tank: 11.1 litres
Rs 66,800, ex-showroom, Delhi