My goodness; the best article about motorcycles I have ever read. So in-depth, so all-encompassing; a tour deforce piece. Gizmag was already high on my reading list, but now it is TOP. This kind of intelligent coverage and insightful reportage s very hard to find. Thank you sirs.
Very good read Mike. Thanks for the update. Look forward to seeing how Hero do in the marketplace d'-)
Kenneth Palmestål
In this great article I specially noticed this sentence: "but a high revving racing v-twin is a spectacular sounding engine, and sound is a key part of the experience for the rider." When they finish the UX design for the silent vehicles SimplECity, ion and LEAP maybe they consider this and include nice electronic engine sounds like SoundRacer EVEESS.
Regarding Motorcycle Sound in the future:
Many would enjoy the "stealth" mode offered by eVehicles especially late at night, choosing to use the horn/electric loudspeaker when necessary to make their presents known as in projecting a revving engine ID to attract attention! Just like mobile phones have an unlimited number of ring tones, I look for future eVehicles to all have their own iRev sound...
As for me, make mine a 427 Cobra "Thumper" with plenty of Bass...
Suman M Subramanian
Thank you for the additional detail on the Hero-EBR partnership, and the impressive results already clearly in progress. One really has to give credit where credit is due, to Pawan Munjal, for partnering with the right people to innovate and grow: Magneti Marelli, Engines Engineering, AVL, and especially EBR. Talk about a win-win for both EBR and Hero - a match made in Heaven! As a long-time fan of Buell ingenuity, I am really excited to see Hero's and EBR's future products in dealerships and on the road.
Excellent Article. Thank you!
Grant Crandall
Finally, a great motorcycle article on a Hero &Erik Buell. Well done.
Love the upside-down-pistolgrip handlebars on the 'futuristic prototype'- they're like those on Suzuki's old 'futuristic prototype' Falcorustyco.
I think their compactness would give a nice concentrated precise feeling of control, like the handlebars on BMW's old R100RS and 650S did. Bring out the tactile nature of motorcycling.
But it's pretty funny that they should talk of innovation when offering these aerodynamic barn doors- just throw an aero-body over any of these things and say hello to the REAL 'transportation solution'.
A Gupta
Warning - this is a long read written somebody who has used Hero's products - be prepared to be bored to tears !
Living in India, I've used both Honda as well as Hero Honda (now Hero Motors) bikes. I've experienced first hand the atrocious quality of OEM Hero parts compared with those of Honda. While a sample size of one (me!) will always be open to question, let me add that I used the Hero Honda bike (a Karizma. now sold) for over 180000km, and am presently using a Honda (CBR250R), which has run about 90,000km.
The only major NON ROUTINE maintenance on the Honda till date has been a broken rocker arm roller pin. I'm still on the original clutch plates. OTOH, in the same distance, I've had to change the block piston crank kit thrice, and the clutch 6 times on the Hero manufactured bike, in addition to numerous (and grossly overpriced) body panels which simply broke due to their poor design and without any accident. The bigger engined 250 Honda is also at least 20% more frugal than it's 223cc Hero counterpart while churning out 50% more power.
Hero Honda sold solely because of the Honda name and all kinds of ridiculous pricing was blamed on Honda - they made money hand over fist, off the captive Indian consumer (high duties made it impossible for him to purchase anything made outside) without bothering to invest a cent on new technology which is why they immediately ran offshore looking for it once Honda got rid of them.
This long rant is to help you understand what comes next.
I don't believe a company which has behaved like a highway bandit can suddenly develop a thirst for excellence. They are showing us these bikes (dare I say mostly concepts with exaggerated performance specifications), NONE of which are on sale till date, not because they care much about providing the consumer something better, but because they have to SURVIVE. In fact, Honda views Bajaj as a much bigger threat to market share than anything from Hero.
While the article is well researched, too much credibility has been given to manufacturer provided information. The Hastur promotional video put up by Hero sounds suspiciously unlike a parallel twin (which the bike is). Besides, an 80 bhp naked bike that does 240kph?
The HX250R weighing 139 kg, with a trellis frame similar to the Honda 250R, a water cooled engine, very similar spec brakes and a BIG, HEAVY underseat exhaust - where have they saved almost 20kg? These are just two examples.
Lets see when all this vaporware hits the market. At least then we will know the true specifications and how these measure up. Going by their past record and parts quality, I'd be very surprised if they fulfil their fancy claims.
Joe Goebel
Is the Ion a functional bike? Prototype can mean different things, but i'm particularly interested in the Lithium Air battery being used. IF this is a real Li Air battery being tested and anywhere close to the energy density described, this is huge for not only motor bikes and cars, but electric aircraft as well. would love to know more about this.......