In the run up to the 2014 Auto Expo, Hero MotoCorp has taken the wraps off five new products that are in different levels of being production-ready. The models include two motorcycles, two scooters and an interesting diesel-hybrid concept.
The first of these models to go on sale will be the Hero Xtreme motorcycle, slated for a launch around April. The bike is based on the existing CBZ Xtreme but styling is quite different and far edgier than the original. Among the features of interest are the Xtreme's headlight, indicators, LED tail-lamps, part-digital speedometer with side stand indicator, and new graphics. The Xtreme will continue to use the Honda-sourced four-stroke, 149.2cc, single-cylinder and air-cooled engine as seen on the CBZ Xtreme. Peak power output of 15.2bhp at 8500rpm, with 1.30kgm of torque at 6500rpm will be transferred to the rear wheel through a drive chain with the help of a five-speed gearbox. The Xtreme would be available with a 240mm front disc brake as standard and a 220mm rear disc brake as an option to the 130mm drum brake. The Xtreme would come in five colour options -- black, red, silver, black-red and orange.
Towards the end of the year, Hero MotoCorp will introduce its first hybrid scooter, the Leap. True to its name, the scooter will mark a giant leap for Hero thanks to its technology. Leap will be a serial hybrid that uses a pack of lithium-ion batteries to power its 8kW (approximately 10.7bhp) electric motor along with a Permanent Magnet AC (PMAC) traction motor that churns out approximately 6.11kgm of maximum torque from standstill. What makes the Leap unique in India is that it uses range-extender technology. That means, when the batteries run out of juice, the electric motor will draw charge from a generator linked to the Leap’s 124cc petrol engine. Note, the petrol motor will not be connected directly to the rear wheel but will be used solely to run the on-board generator. The Leap is endowed with alloy wheels , a 110/70 x 13 inch tyre with 240 mm two-piston calliper Brembo disc brake up front and a 120/70 x 11 inch tyre with 130mm drum brake at the rear. Hero has not made any claims for fuel efficiency as yet but, given the tech, you can be assured the Leap will stretch each litre really, really far. However, the Leap is unlikely to be priced at par with its petrol-engined contemporaries, so think of it more as a technological showcase for Hero than a mass-market scooter.
Around the same time, Hero will also introduce its new scooter called the Dash. The Dash will be powered by a new four-stroke, 111cc, forced air-cooled, single-cylinder motor that produces 8.45bhp of power at 7500rpm and 0.95kgm of torque at 5750rpm. It gets telescopic front forks with a rear monoshock, bolted on to alloy wheels with 90/90 x 12 inch (front) tubeless tyres and 90/90 x 10 inch (Rear) tubeless tyres. The Dash gets 130mm drum brakes on both ends with combined braking system for efficient braking. Key with e-code, tail-mounted fuel lid, analogue digital cluster, side stand indicator, service due indicator, USB mobile charger, boot light, LED tail light and dual-tone mirrors are some of the highlights on the smart and feature-packed new scooter.
Hero’s fourth new launch of the year will be the HX250R sports bike. While its twin headlights may have a hint of Honda to them, the bike has been fully designed featuring the trademark Hero lightning bolt design. The fully-faired sports bike looks the part and should stand out with its sleek under-seat exhaust. Its four-stroke, 249cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, and fuel-injected DOHC engine comes with a six-speed gearbox. The HX250R uses a tubular frame that is shared with the Honda CBR250R and comes with telescopic suspension at the front and a monoshock rear suspension. Braking on the HX250R is taken care of by a three-piston caliper, 300mm disc brake up front and a 220mm rear disc brake, available as standard equipment with Combined Braking System, and ABS available as option. The ten-spoke alloys with a 110/80 x 17 inch tubeless tyre up front and 140/70 x 17 inch tubeless tyre at the rear enhance the overall appeal of this motorcycle. The HX250R will not replace but will sell alongside the Karizma R and ZMR, that are also due for updates soon.
Hero also took the wraps off a unique motorcycle concept at the event. Called the RNT, the bike is designed for use on farms as a load-lugger, which helps explain its curious design. But the RNT is even more interesting under the skin. It comes with a four-stroke, 150cc, liquid-cooled, diesel engine. Hero will offer a turbocharged version too! Peak power is around 13.5bhp at 4000rpm with 3.56kgm of torque at 1600rpm, which is transferred to the rear wheel by a six-speed gearbox. Some unique features of the RNT are the wide, flat loading surfaces with strap bars, as well as multi-use folding front, rear and side racks, a large seat, spacious footboard and removable secondary LED headlight with internal Li-ion battery along with an LED headlight that would provide good visibility even with the front rack loaded. Hero is also working on powering the RNT with an electric motor that produces 1.3bhp of power, mounted in the front wheel hub. Depending on the need, the RNT could be used in diesel mode, as a full electric or with both motors working simultaneously, powering each of the wheels. Yes, that’s two-wheel drive. Although Hero is confident that such a product will have huge potential in India, the timeline for its launch is still not clear.
Hero MotoCorp has big plans for India and, on the face of it, its products look very promising. If successful, they could help Hero maintain its position as a sales leader, Honda’s charge notwithstanding.