Hero MotoCorp’s premium bike is likely to be powered by a liquid-cooled fuel-injected engine taking the fight directly to KTM Duke 390
In another exclusive report we can reveal the first ever production ready premium motorcycle from Hero MotoCorp. The details about the bike are very scarce as of now but we can confirm that it will play a significant part in the flagship range the leading two-wheeler manufacturer in the domestic market is pondering on.
Despite the blurry spy image, it appears to be a naked bike in the performance bike segment. At the 2016 edition of the Auto Expo, Hero MotoCorp showcased two concepts tipped as future road-going models. One was the fully-faired HX250R and the other was the naked street-fighter XF3R. The spotted picture indicates some commonality with the latter.
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The premium bike has close association with the XF3R concept as can be seen by the dual exhaust system, rear profile and the shape of the fuel tank. The headlamps bear strong resemblance with some of the existing Hero models while the fuel tank is edgy and sharp with the extensions sheltering the indicator strips.
They are neatly aligned into the bodywork at the rear and the street fighter could come adorned with brushed aluminium finish with red accents and black carbon fibre parts as seen on the concept earlier this February in Greater Noida. The side exhaust pipes are mounted high as in the concept and the hexagonal shaped instrument cluster with all digital readings should be carried forward to the production version.
Built on geodesic tubular high strength steel chassis, Hero said the engine was a liquid-cooled four-stroke DOHC four-valve unit at the motoring show and came mated with a six-speed gearbox. This means a new family of performance-based engine is currently under development and it could displace around 400 cc to compete against the likes of KTM Duke 390 and the upcoming Bajaj Pulsar CS400.
The concept model boasted a single-side swing-arm as seen on high-end bikes like Ducati and its production-ready model is more likely to come with dual-channel ABS, USD forks, monoshock rear suspension, ultra sticky tyres, upright riding position, multiple driving modes, split seat for pillion rider and so on. Hero wants to come out of the commuter space and prove itself elsewhere, the XF3R concept derived naked bike could kick start a breakthrough.
Since the departure of Honda, Hero has been criticised for the lack of in-house development but the home-grown brand gave a resilient answer with the launch of locally developed iSmart 110cc bike. EBR were said to be working on as many as 17 products with Hero with more focus on global markets but the partnership didn’t bear much fruit. The Hero HX250R was believed to be one of the models that met with delay in development due to the uncertainty prevailed with the assets of the US marque besides the hydrogen fuel-cell bike iON, electric scooters Leap and SimplEcity and diesel bike RnT.
The self-sustained company, earlier this year, inaugurated the Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) near Jaipur and from which a new product had been confirmed from the ground up in the next three or four years. Hero MotoCorp invested over 850 crores in the facility which employs more than 500 Indian and foreign engineers. It spans across 250 kilometres and has a dedicated real-time track testing with a 16 km long circuit with 25 different surface conditions.