Hero MotoCorp have never produced a motorcycle beyond the capacity of 225 cc. The sales bulk for the company is made up of budget bikes such as Splendor and HF Dawn. Thus, the proposed decision to launch bikes with engine capacities in the range of 500 cc and above is definitely the first of its kind for the homegrown major.
The middleweight segment would, globally, mean the bike range from 500- to 900-cc ones. But the middleweight segment in the Indian market essentially starts from the 350-cc mark; a trend set by the much sought-after 350-cc motorcycles from the Royal Enfield brand. Neither companies have provided details of the size of the engine expected on these new bikes but the Hero-MotoCorp and Harley-Davidson alliance has made it clear that it will be part of the middleweight segment dominated by Royal Enfield.
Although there is no confirmation of a launch timeline for the first bikes under the partnership, Niranjan Gupta, chief financial officer, Hero MotoCorp, mentioned that dedicated teams have already started working and are progressing on the development of premium bikes. With Harley-Davidson producing premium bikes and Hero MotoCorp deriving income off budget motorcycles, the partnership between the two companies since October 2020 is bound to change the market dynamics of either company. Hero’s decision to target the middleweight segment is one such evident change.
Fuel efficiency being Hero’s forte, they hold over 70 per cent share of India’s entry-level, budget bike category with engines in the 100- to 110-cc range. Making a considerable impact are the 200-cc bikes such as the XPulse 200, XPulse 200T and Xtreme 200S from Hero MotoCorp. Hero are desperate to create a brand in the premium segment after the Karizma and ZMR models between 2003 and 2019.
Story: Cherry Mathew Roy