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Hero X-Pulse reflections at 1,000kms

Sala Gate excursion
29 October 2021
Benelli coast tour
5 November 2021

By Eric Kihiu

Off road, stood on the footpegs, going up the Mai Mahiu escarpment. Passing all those big cars that were speeding past me earlier, I had an epiphany: this is the tale of the tortoise and the hare...

It's not a fast bike, the Xpulse, but it's fast enough. When everyone else must queue behind a convoy of slow trucks on a dangerously narrow road, I don't have to. I can go where they can't. Make full use of that long-travel suspension, lightweight chassis and grippy tyres. Follow an independent path. They'll zoom past at xxxkph, but i'll still catch up. And pass. And get home before they do. With a smile on my face.


RamblƏr One is now 1,000km in. A couple of long trips, some off-roading and a fair bit of city commuting.

In the city, the weight, handling balance and smooth, if modest power delivery, make it an amiable companion.

It will cruise highways ok. You won't be in danger of being caught speeding with that modest power. The seat is not optimized for long distances, so lots of standing and breaks every so often are needed.

In the rough, it shines, encouraging one to tackle diverse and challenging terrain confidently.


I've experienced some drama on the road. A few days ago, at Mai Mahiu, a silver Toyota Noah hits me from behind. It was doing a dangerous overtaking move and opted kuingia kwangu rather than have a head-on with oncoming traffic. Luckily, I was able to keep my balance after the impact and come to a safe stop on the roadside. But the Noah never stopped. KDB 898?, Mungu anakuona... What was interesting was how easy it was to get the bike under control after the initial impact and wild yawing. On another bike it might have gone very differently.

In a separate incident, while offroad to avoid traffic a car suddenly swerved onto my track. Surface was gravel, but I needed to brake hard to avoid rear-ending the car. The ABS brakes up front did a good job - didn't skid, and I avoided a problem. The two incidents highlight the forgiving, confidence inspiring nature of the bike.

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The ownership experience:

First dealer service (by CMC) at 500km cost 496/= (1 litre of oil), free labour. Was quite irritated that the fundi allowed the draining oil to spill onto the bash plate. Some vibration on the steering was diagnosed as a loose nut on the head bearing and sorted.

Fuel economy - 37kpl so far, but hoping to get better mileage as the engine opens up.

Street cred:

It seems to make a good impression. At least shopping mall guards don't give me grief. Conversely, school kids up-country keep flagging me down seeking lifts 🤔


So, after 1,000kms, my X-Pulse experience can be summarized thus:

1. A bike with which to slow down and savour the little details of the road or trail;

2. A bike with which you can boldly take on any adventure, big or small;

3. There are some annoyances... The lights, especially in the rain; Seat comfort on long trips; The horn; On the carb, getting the idling balance just right - haven't yet found the sweet spot. Most of the annoyances aren't big ones and can be addressed with aftermarket upgrades.

Bike iko sawa. And the 2-year unlimited mileage warranty is very reassuring.

Ride smart, ride safe 🖖🏽

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