The Indian two-wheeler industry in the 80s was rocked by the introduction of the Hero Honda CD100. Its fuel-efficient nature was one of the pivotal reasons for the brand’s success in a market which was dominated by scooters. What followed were several iconic models like the Splendor, Glamour, CBZ, and Karizma, among others.
While some of these iconic names may have been added to the history books, products like the Splendor lives on to tell the tale. The company, though, now eyes a more global reach and also a higher share of the premium two-wheeler market. Here are the expected top five upcoming bikes and scooters of Hero in 2020-21.
1. Hero Xtreme 160R
Unveiled as the Xtreme 1.R concept at EICMA 2019, the production Hero Xtreme 160R was unveiled in February 2020. We expect the motorcycle to be commercially launched once the coronavirus pandemic ends.
The motorcycle will mark Hero’s re-entry in the 150-160 cc segment. It gets LED headlamps, segment-first LED indicators, digital instrumentation, and side-stand engine cut-off switch. It is suspended over 37 mm conventional Showa fork up front and a 7-step adjustable monoshock at the rear. Stopping power comes from a 276 mm petal unit at the front and a 220 mm petal disc at the rear. A low-cost version with rear drum brake will also be offered.
The Hero Xtreme 160R will be powered by a 160 cc air-cooled engine producing 15.21 PS of power and 14 Nm of torque. The company also boasts that the Hero Xtreme 160R has a class-leading 0-60 km/h acceleration time of 4.7 seconds.
The Hero Xtreme 160R will compete against the likes of TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, Honda CB Hornet 160R and Bajaj Pulsar 160 NS.
2. Sub-500cc ADV
One of the biggest hidden gems at Hero World 2020 (yes, they are aping Ducati) was the confirmation of a sub-500 cc adventure-oriented motorcycle. The production version of the motorcycle may be quite a few months away but looking at the semi-hidden underpinnings of the motorcycle has us drooling.
Positioned above the XPulse 200, the new motorcycle has been showcased with upside-down front fork and a monoshock. The brakes are discs at both ends and the front gets a radially mounted calliper. Features will include LED lighting, Bluetooth connected digital instrumentation and knobby tyres. We also expect the upcoming Hero sub-500 cc ADV to be offered in two variants, much like the XPulse which is retailed in a premium off-road centric and a touring-biased variant.
There is no confirmation about the engine displacement of the motorcycle, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it hovers around the 300 cc mark. This bike will rival the likes of Royal Enfield Himalayan and KTM 390 Adventure.
3. Hero XF3R
The Hero XF3R concept, introduced at Auto Expo 2016, was the first Indian concept to be fitted with a single-sided swingarm. A launch timeline may still be a year away.
Keeping up with the latest trends, the Hero XF3R was fitted with upside-down fork up front and a monoshock at the rear. The braking department included discs at both ends. Other features included an awkwardly styled upswept dual-barrel exhaust canister and Pirelli Sport Demon tyres.
Hero MotoCorp had said that the Hero XF3R mounts a ‘mid-segment high-performance engine’. That’s actually a 300 cc engine based on the Xtreme 200R’s mill. The output figures were not revealed. The Hero XF3R boasted fuel-injection with Dual Map technology which to us hints selectable riding modes.
The Hero XF3R, if launched, will allow the manufacturer to target the premium motorcycle buyer which otherwise heads to Japanese bikes.
4. Hero Zir
Auto Expo 2014 saw Hero showcase some whacky concepts including the likes of the HX250R and Hastur. However, the most probable of them was the Hero Zir, a European styled maxi-scooter. With the 110 cc and 125 cc scooter portfolio updated, it is now high time that Hero enters the premium 150 cc scooter segment which is now dominated by Aprilia and Vespa. The growing popularity of maxi-scooters makes even more sense for Hero to bring the Zir to the market.
The suspension setup of the Hero Zir includes 35 mm standard telescopic fork up front and a monoshock with adjustable preload at the rear. Braking setup included a disc brake in the front and a drum unit in the rear. It tipped the scales at 139 kg and was fitted with a 130-section rear tyre. Other features included dual projector headlamps, LED winkers and large wheels. The Hero Zir was showcased in two variants, one as a step-through and the other with a flat footboard.
Powering the Hero Zir is a 157.1 cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected mill. The latter was claimed to have smartphone connectivity for displaying engine and riding parameters. Maximum power and maximum torque outputs were pegged at 14.3 PS and 12.7 Nm respectively.
If launched, the Hero Zir will compete with the likes of Aprilia SXR 160 and Vespa’s 150 cc range.
5. Hero Duet-E
The long-awaited Hero Duet-E is finally expected to hit the production lines later this year. It was showcased last at the Delhi Auto Expo 2016 and is expected to be the two-wheeler maker’s first electric product.
Set to be positioned as a family-oriented scooter, the Hero Duet-E will gain LED lighting and possibly an all-digital display, and maybe even an all-colour TFT unit to help it stand apart from the competition. The concept Hero Duet-E boasted of a range of 65 km on a single charge. That’s less than the claimed range of the Bajaj Chetak and TVS iQube which stands at 95 km and 75 km respectively.
Also, the Hero Duet-E has a claimed 0-60 km/h acceleration time of 6.5 seconds. We expect Hero MotoCorp to improve the performance part of the upcoming scooter and make it at par with the competition. Hero’s tie-up with Ather Energy may also play a part in the development of the production Hero Duet-E.