Hero Motocorp will launch a range of bikes and scooters in 2015. We at ICB have picked out four important upcoming Hero Motocorp Bikes and Scooters in 2015. These launches will create new segments for the two wheeler giant and also for the Indian market. It will also help Hero move to many more markets abroad, in segments where it presently does not have a presence.
HERO HX250R SPORTSBIKE
The Hero HX250R fully faired sportsbike will be one of the most important launches for the company in 2015. The bike will not only be launched in India but will also be the backbone of the two wheeler manufacturer’s sportbike range in export markets. The HX250R is a bike that has been developed by Erik Buell Racing, the American boutique bike making company and racing team that Hero recently acquired. The American company is headed by Erik Buell, an Ex-Harley Davidson engineer who has built memorable sportsbikes powered by large V-Twin engines that were developed originally for Harley cruisers.
Mr Buell has been a key figure in the development of the HX250R, including the bike’s engine and chassis. Since the HX250R will be an international product that needs to face competition from bikes like the Honda CBR250R and the Yamaha R25, it needs to be a product that really does a lot of things well. The specifications already look impressive. The bike will feature Hero’s most advanced engine yet, displacing 249cc. The single cylinder engine will use four valves, twin overhead camshafts, liquid cooling and fuel injection. Peak power is rated at 31 PS. A 139 Kg kerb weight will give the bike the best power to weight ratio is its class. We expect a firecracker no less.
HERO LEAP HYBRID SCOOTER
The Leap Hybrid Scooter is not new. It was first seen at the 2012 Auto Expo as a concept and 2015 may be the year when the scooter will finally become a production reality. The Leap is a big leap for the entire scooter industry in India, which has never had a hybrid offering so far. The product will be sold in India and international markets too. the company is testing waters with this innovative two wheeler and plans to produce just 6,000 units in the first year. If the market shows enough demand for the vehicle, the company will start ramping up production. We expect the scooter to be pricey, as the technology involved does cost a good sum of money.
The Leap will be a series hybrid. This means that the electric motor will use lithium ion batteries that get recharged by an internal combustion engine. This engine is a 125cc, 11 Bhp four stroke that will recharge the batteries on the move. A three liter petrol tank provided on board is meant mainly to run the four stroke engine to recharge the batteries. The scooter will also have the capability of being recharged from a wall socket. So it will be both a series and plug-in hybrid. The range of the Leap when it functions as a series hybrid is 340 kilometers, which is very good. Fuel efficiency of over 113 Kmpl is tremendous.
The permanent magnet electric motor produces no less than 60 Nm of torque. This motor will give the Leap big acceleration that will be limited by Hero to increase range. Top speed will also be limited to 100 Kmph as the product is quite heavy at 140 Kg. The scooter will also get brake energy regeneration that will help charge batteries while braking. Europe is a big target market for the new hybrid scooter as countries there prefer green mobility in cities. The incentives that the European Union gives hybrid vehicles is also very attractive. Don’t be surprised if Europe and not India becomes the largest market for this new product.
HERO ZIR MAXI SCOOTER
India has not been very receptive to large scooters. Europe is a different story though. In Europe, maxi-scooters are big and it is not uncommon to see 250cc+ engines in scooters. In India, the biggest and most powerful scooter that has ever been produced is the Kinetic Blaze, which came with a 165cc four stroke engine. Though the Blaze offered good performance and comfortable ergonomics, it was also the costliest in the scooter segment. It quickly was pulled out of production and Kinetic winded up its two wheeler business. Now Hero wants to take another shot at the maxi-scooter segment. The Zir will be the first such product in this direction.
The Hero Zir will be one of the largest displacement scooters in India, with a four stroke engine that displaces 157.1cc. The motor is sufficiently high tech. It gets fuel injection and liquid cooling, two features that have never been seen before on a scooter sold in India. Peak power of this engine is 14.07 Bhp at 8,500 rpm and peak torque is 12.7 Nm at 7,000 rpm. Transmission is a continuously varying automatic, popularly known as CVT. The Zir is portly, with a 139 Kg kerb weight, and comes with a large screen that is expected to make riding the scooter at high speeds comfortable. The Zir may be priced close to Rs. 1 lakh as its features are sufficiently high tech to command such a price.
Impulse Dual Purpose Bike
The Impulse opened with so much promise but with only a 150cc four stroke engine. The bike still has enthusiasts drooling over the way it used to take on broken Indian roads. Many bikers have even found their ways around the measly power output of the stock 150cc four stroke motor borrowed from Hero’s generic commuter bikes. Some have gone the BBR way and used big bore kits to make the bike more powerful. Others have borrowed the Karizma’s 223cc four stroke engine that is almost a perfect fit on the dual purpose machine. It is now time for Hero to give bikers a taste of what it can make the Impulse do.
Like bike enthusiasts around India, we expect only one thing from Hero and the new Impulse – a larger engine that is more powerful. The Karizma’s 223cc engine will be the most welcome change. Fitting this engine to the bike and raising prices by around Rs. 10,000 will not make buyers go away from the Impulse. They would rather choose the bike for its great capabilities for soft and medium trails. In fact, the enduro biking segment can be reborn if the Impulse makes a comeback with the 223cc engine. Will Hero do it or not is the big question that we’re still stuck with though. This is one mystery bike of 2015 that could open many doors for both the manufacturer and Indian riders.