Thursday, November 22, 2012

EBR working with Hero MotoCorp to develop a 250cc sportsbike

The Karizma ZMR, with a 225cc single-cylinder engine, is currently Hero MotoCorp's biggest, sportiest bike. Which is not saying much. But things will change in 2014

When we spoke to Erik Buell earlier this year, one of the questions we asked him was about his company’s association with India’s Hero MotoCorp Ltd., but Erik declined to say anything much about it. That’s understandable, of course, given the contractual obligations he might be under. But now, according to a report in The Economic Times, EBR and Hero MotoCorp engineers are working jointly to develop an all-new 250cc sportsbike, which is likely to be launched in India – and perhaps in the US as well – by mid-2014.

Most people might not know that India’s Hero MotoCorp, which had a tie-up with Honda until about two years ago, is the largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the world, with sales of more than 500,000 scooters and motorcycles every month. Yes, that’s right – the company sells more than six million bikes per annum. Of course, given the way the Indian motorcycle market is right now, most of these bikes are small-capacity, cheap-and-cheerful, commuter-type machines. However, the Indian market is evolving gradually and the demand for bigger, sportier bikes is picking up. The Honda CBR250R, Kawasaki Ninja 250R and the KTM 200 Duke are all already on sale in India and Hero, in association with EBR, intends to take a slice of this segment with its new 250cc machine.

According to the ET report, a group of engineers from Hero MotoCorp have been working with EBR engineers at the EBR facility in East Troy, in Wisconsin, US, for the last few months. The report says that the new Hero-EBR 250cc sportsbike has been conceptualized, designed and developed jointly by the two companies and will feature “cutting-edge technology and next-generation styling.” The bike will be manufactured at Hero’s facilities in India and the bike will first be shown at the 2014 Auto Expo in New Delhi.

The new Hero-EBR 250 could mean big(ger) things not just for Hero but also EBR, which might use this bike to gain a toehold in the entry-level sportsbike segment in the US. Currently, EBR does not have anything in its line-up with which to take on 250cc bikes from Honda and Kawasaki (and soon, Yamaha and Suzuki as well…) and without Hero’s expertise with smaller bikes, the American company may not have wanted to venture into such unchartered territory. Of course, the two companies are also likely to explore European and other markets with their new 250, before moving on to bigger, more powerful machinery.

For Hero and EBR, the future certainly seems to be full of promise.

Source: The Economic Times

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