Remember those designs Erik Buell was developing for Hero? The word on the street in India is that we still might see some of that work come to light.
When Erik Buell Racing announced its bankruptcy last year, there was lots of anger from the Buell fanboys towards Hero, the Indian manufacturing giant that was partnered with EBR. The Buell Faithful blamed Hero for all EBR’s problems, and were pretty concerned about the future of EBR’s superbikes, but not so much about the projects that EBR was developing for Hero (we’re talking about the same people who loved Buell’s XB9 and other naked bikes developed while working for Harley-Davidson, but hated the entry-level Buell Blast …).
So now EBR is back in business, but what about those bikes Buell was developing for Hero? After Hero bought those designs, post-bankruptcy, what happened? After all, there was a very interesting 250 cc model, and also an electric bike in the mix, and it would have been interesting to see Erik Buell’s take on those ideas.
We hadn’t heard a peep about those machines until this week, when this Indian site reported Hero and Pawan Munjal, chief executive and managing director, are still working on the designs. As they put it: “EBR had committed 17 products to Hero. It delivered 12 – bikes which required minor technology upgrades. But there were also five new products. Hero acquired these projects for $2.8 million. The HX250R, a 250-cc sports bike, and Leap, the electric scooter, were nearing completion, and Munjal is now reviewing them.”
So, don’t expect to see these machines bearing the Hero badge in your local showroom floors anytime soon (Hero is also trying to figure out how it will handle their distribution in North America, now that the deal with EBR is bust). But, it’s good to see Erik Buell’s handiwork may become a reality someday yet. His previous entry-level attempt, the Blast, met with a lot of antipathy from established riders, and was probably held back by its parts bin origins. It could be very interesting to see what Buell designed when he had a clean slate to work with.