First they ended their partnership with Honda. Then, they announced a buy-in to Erik Buell Racing, which gave them access to EBR’s cutting-edge technology.
Now, Hero MotoCorp, India’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, has announced new models that should put them atop their domestic market, and give them a foothold in the global market.
Hero announced several new models yesterday, including the Hastur 620. The liquid-cooled parallel twin motor supposedly makes 80 hp at 9600 rpm, and is a stressed member of the bike’s chassis, to improve mass centralization and reduce weight. Claimed 0-100 kph time is 3.8 seconds.
While a 620 cc with aggressive styling isn’t exactly earth-shattering news to most of the motorcycle world, this bike has the potential to be a game-changer in India. Several manufacturers (Harley-Davidson, KTM and others) are assembling bigger bikes in the country, but India’s own marques were really only making small-displacement machines until now. Royal Enfield was the only Indian brand with a machine outside the 100-250 cc range, and their flagship had an air-cooled 500 cc (or 535, if you count their new café racer) single-cylinder powerplant, with styling straight from the 1960s.
With the new 620, Hero has changed the market there overnight.
This isn’t as significant a machine to North American buyers, but there’s a good chance it will be sold here. When we contacted EBR about their involvement with Hero’s HX250R, CMG was told to keep our eyes open in the first week of February for a new machine from Hero that EBR was involved with, that could make it to the US market.
The 620 was only one of several bikes Hero unveiled at the Delhi Auto Expo. They were also showing off a new 100 cc street-and-trail (the “Passion Pro,” with plenty of farkles and cast wheels), a hydrogen fuel cell-powered concept bike, and a 100 cc café racer that looks like a pint-sized competitor for Royal Enfield’s Continental GT.
Their competition was also unveiling new bikes; Bajaj took the wraps off a couple 400-class machines, but they didn’t make the splash that Hero’s new twin made.
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