Hero Mavrick 440: First Ride Review

Abhay Verma
Hero’s biggest offering yet is more than just a retro-cool motorcycle

As the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero MotoCorp has been doing really well, selling commuter motorcycles and also steadily increasing its presence in the scooter space. It’s also 12 years now since Hero started its solo journey and the past decade has seen Hero MotoCorp push aggressively to be seen as more than just a manufacturer of small capacity motorcycles like the ubiquitous Splendor. Hero’s premium motorcycles like the XPulse 200, Xtreme 160R and even the Karizma XMR that saw the revival of the Karizma nameplate all bear testimony to Hero MotoCorp’s aspirations to be seen as a premium player. But nothing screams premium as much as the all-new Mavrick 440. 

Hero becoming the exclusive distributor for an iconic brand like Harley-Davidson and then creating history by developing the X440 as the first Harley powered by a single cylinder engine in over 50 years was a huge statement. But to me, the Mavrick 440 is a massive statement too, especially on the product front. It’s easy to say the bike uses the same engine as the Harley-Davidson X440. But what does the Mavrick bring to the table? I spent a couple of days with it, exploring the desolateness of the Rann of Kutch to find out. Straight off the bat, Hero MotoCorp has done a lot to ensure the Mavrick has its own character and except for the engine, there’s little in common between the X440 and the Mavrick. 

It all starts with the design. Positioned as a roadster, the Mavrick has a front heavy stance as a lot of the mass is concentrated at the front. And that’s thanks to the large fuel tank and its extensions, while the rear end is relatively slimmer and more compact. For the record, the Mavrick 440 is good looking, but I would have preferred a more aggressive design. I get the intent to offer a retro feel and also have the bike look cool with the LED-equipped round headlamp and round turn indicators, but something more stylish would have added more oomph to the face. Same is the case with the rear as the H-shaped tail lamp unit and exhaust end-can are a little too plain looking for what is Hero’s biggest – and most aspirational – offering yet. 

I mean, I really like the Xtreme 160R’s design as the bike looks aggressive and larger than just a 160. A similar approach would have perhaps helped the Mavrick feel more aspirational. I like its overall stance though, especially from the sides, besides which there’s a cohesiveness to the design which makes it eye catching. Then there’s the fact that despite being substantially sized the Mavrick looks compact, which should help in making it more welcoming for those upgrading from smaller bikes. The handlebar sits close to the rider and tank, owing to which the cables and hoses on the right side go from the top of the switchgear yoke and not from beneath it, accentuating the retro factor. 

The LCD display instrument cluster looks good but is a little too small. As a result, a lot of the information except the speed which is displayed in numerics is a challenge to read on the go, especially the tachometer. The riding position is comfortable, with slightly rear set footpegs and an upright stance and the one-piece seat also feels spacious and comfortable. Colour options are intriguing though – the bike is on offer in three variants, distinguished by the wheels, connected tech, badges and colour options. The base is on offer only in white, with spoked wheels, the mid trim only in red and blue with alloy wheels while the top variant can only be had in gloss black or matte black, with machined-finish alloy wheels. So if you want the Mavrick in white with machined-finish alloy wheels that’s not possible, not at the moment at least!

The Mavrick’s 440cc air and oil-cooled single cylinder engine had impressed immensely on the Harley-Davidson X440. It’s in a similar state of tune here, offering 27PS at 6,000rpm along with 36Nm at 4,000rpm. The long stroke configuration also means that 90 percent of peak torque is available from just 2,000rpm. And that’s besides the excellent refinement and precise fuelling which add to the Mavrick’s fun factor. In fact, in my books its engine refinement and performance are the Mavrick’s biggest highlights. Throttle response is crisp, which coupled with the low bottom end torque mean the Mavrick is easy to ride and will not be intimidating for riders graduating from smaller bikes. 

There’s a progressive feel to the throttle besides which clutch action at the lever is light and the six-speed transmission offers gear changes that are slick, light and precise. The engine does not feel strained at highway speeds and sustaining 100-110kmph or slightly in sixth gear is a cinch, helping the Mavrick 440 feel adept at cruising at triple digit speeds without inducing fatigue. The strong bottom end punch, responsiveness and smooth fuelling also mean the Mavrick lives up to its tag of being a roadster. The bike has loads of character and is up for antics like wheelies or power slides too. So while Hero may not be portraying the Mavrick 440 as a hooligan, it has the perfect ingredients to be one! 

A good engine needs to be complimented by good dynamics though, which come from a well-tuned suspension setup and able chassis. Hero has ensured that is the case with the Mavrick because it feels nimble and easy to ride for a 400cc machine. Its agility will in fact surprise riders, as the bike is quick to change direction and easy to manoeuvre. The Mavrick also offers ample confidence when riding spiritedly thanks to its sharp steering geometry and overall agility. The 43mm telescopic forks keep it stable, whether going fast in a straight line or leaning around corners, while the 7-step adjustable twin-shocks compliments the front forks and trellis frame well. The Mavrick is shod with a 110-section tyre at the front and a 150-section at the rear and grip levels are excellent. The 320mm front disc offers a progressive feel, though I would have liked some more bite when braking from higher speeds. 

To sum it up, Hero has certainly got the recipe right for what is its biggest and most premium offering yet. A more aggressive design would have worked wonders for this recipe, but I have to say Hero has done an excellent job overall, as the Mavrick 440 feels like a well-engineered motorcycle. Unlike most occasions, this time we also got ample seat time on a motorcycle that is a strategic product for several reasons, allowing me to assess the Mavrick 440 across different scenarios. And as the biggest Hero yet, it certainly impresses. The bike’s aggressive pricing is the proverbial icing on the cake then, as prices begin from just ₹ 1.99 lakh ex-showroom, making this one a really tempting proposition in the 400cc class.

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