We all have a Hero within us and when I say that, I don’t mean the 2-wheeler company which also happens to be the world’s largest selling bike firm. Coming to Hero MotoCorp, post its split with long term partner Honda, everybody had written down the company. No one really expected Hero to bounce back with a plethora of products but the company did, showcasing a range which has caused massive sweat and fear not only for its ex-partner (to which it still pays alimony in the form of license fee) but also causing a huge reality check for Bajaj Auto.
Hero Honda, as we have known them for the most part since the inception of the company way back in the 1980s, hasn’t really done much in the Indian market. The formula was simple, take Honda bikes, market them well under the Hero Honda umbrella and have reach in the remotest of areas. Obviously Hero had time on its side and being the oldest motorcycle player in the country with reliable and efficient Japanese engines on its side, it had little to worry. Today the scene is quite different, the market is highly competitive and everyone is breathing down the throat of their nearest rival.
So how has Hero managed to transform from a company which was Ph.D in sticker jobs to showcasing products which are high on performance. It’s the right partners which have made a big impact. While Hero might be the oldest in the motorcycle market in India, it is the youngest when it comes to R&D expertise. However if you can’t do it yourself, you get it done and that mantra has worked very well for the Splendor maker. Rather than being hell bent on developing things from scratch, Hero had no qualms in going and partnering with well established firms like AVL and Engines Engineering.
However the company which seems to have helped Hero the most is Erik Buell Racing, better referred to as EBR. The American racing company is very much responsible for the updated Karizma R, Karizma ZMR, HX250R and the Hastur. While the response to the EBR influenced Karizma twins have been far from positive, the complete biking community has gone head-over-heels for the HX250R, a motorcycle which not only packs a lot of power for a 250cc bike but also comes with many segment first features (like the under seat exhaust, etc.).
We in India are totally in love with 250cc bikes and thus the 620cc Hastur hasn’t caught our attention much. However globally people are raving about the Hero Hastur and can’t wait to ride it. Hero will put the Hastur into production in the next couple of months and this bike could help the Delhi based company find a foothold in the global market. If that’s not enough, the Zir 150cc scooter too has received good feedback from many, which has made most analysts become very positive about the company. Thus it wouldn’t be wrong to say that EBR is Hero’s hero.