Hero's top-shelf offering for the local market has a bit of a naming oddity.
In India and most of the world, this bike is known as the Hero Xtreme 160R. However, Hero decided to change the name to Hero Thriller for the Bangladeshi market, likely to avoid confusion with the old 150cc Hero Xtreme, a bike that is still quite fresh in the local consumers' minds.
Nameplate engineering aside, the Thriller is a well-equipped motorcycle in the 165cc segment going up against bikes such as the Bajaj NS 160, Honda X-Blade, and Yamaha FZS V3.0.
Almost all of the offerings in the 165cc segment features aggressive graphics and a bulked up front, with more than a few sharp plastic bits stuck to the fuel tanks. Hero, however, went for a different approach with the Thriller, with the bike fairing, the low-profile badging, and a sleek, single-piece fuel tank cover which extends as far back as the riding position. The rest of the fairing is also free of any protrusion, with the LED taillight and pillion grab handles being integrated into the body to maintain a smooth, unbroken line.
In keeping with the low profile design of the body, the headlight cluster is also quite small, with the robotic 'head' featuring a set of automatic LED headlamps with DRL, and a pair of tiny turn indicators, which are also LED.
Powering the sleek machine is a 163cc fuel-injected air-cooled engine, making 15Hp and 14Nm of torque. The exhaust features a heat shield to protect the rider's leg, although the long rubber battery vent tube and bare metal kick start lever are a bit of a disappointment.
The tires are 100 at the front and 130 at the rear, being supported by a 37mm telescopic fork and a 7-step rider-adjustable monoshock respectively. For stopping, both wheels feature disk brakes and are backed up with single-channel anti-lock braking systems (ABS).
The fully digital instrument screen features a clock, fuel gauge, odometer, speedometer and a tachometer with a 9,000RPM redline. Curiously, one thing the screen doesn't have is a gear indicator. This, although in line with other Hero bikes on the market, is an unusual item to omit from a bike in this segment.
Below the screen is a plethora of warning and indicator lights, among which the side stand warning indicator is notable. The light comes on when the side stand is deployed and also disables the bike's starter as a safety measure.
Moving to the control surfaces, the Thriller 160R has all the standard switches, along with a hazard switch for roadside emergencies.
The riding experience of the Thriller 160R is typical of that of a Hero product, with a bit of sportiness thrown in. Ridden leisurely, the bike is smooth and comfortable, with the long bench seat offering variable riding positions.
If one chooses to be a bit more aggressive with throttle input, the Thriller is reasonably up to the task, reaching from 0-60km/h in 4.7 seconds. That said, the bike is a commuter first, with the fuel-injection system featuring ten different intelligent sensors to maximise fuel economy.
Operating the switchgear with armoured gloves is a bit tricky on the bike as they tend to snag on various bits when trying to indicate or press the horn. While initially a bit irritating, this issue can be potentially fixed with a bit of practice.
When taking a corner, the suspension-tires combination is quite lean-friendly, and you can trust the bike to stay upright in a turn. The ABS prevents the wheels from locking up from harsh brake inputs, providing a safer riding experience.
To summarise, the Hero Thriller provides one of the best value-for-money options currently on the market. Depending on your riding style, it can be both a comfortable daily commuter and a fun weekend thrill machine. If you are looking to upgrade from your old 100/120cc commuter to something that is safe and modern but not too crazy, keep this one in your mind.