Earlier this month, India’s Hero motorcycles introduced its RNT diesel motorcycle to the world. Powered by a 150 cc turbocharged diesel, the high-utility bike promised a high-MPG, biofuel-capable future to millions (if not billions) of people in southeast Asia … and all we could do, stateside, was wonder: Would we ever be able to get our hands on an RNT?
With this week’s big announcement that Hero’s 2013 bid to buy a major stake in Erik Buell Racing is a done deal coming on the heels of October’s news that Buell would be distributing Hero’s bikes through its own dealerships, it looks like like the answer to that question is a definitive “probably”.
Other interesting tidbits of information came out in the official press release in addition to Hero’s 49% purchase of Erik Buell Racing. Most notable among these were the revelation that the RNT diesel motorcycle concept was a joint-development project between Hero and Buell, as were a hybrid scooter and an all-electric commuter. If they see production- and Buell’s efforts to patent the technologies involved last year implies that they will– expect to see the first Hero products to land in all 60 of Buell’s committed US dealerships sometime in late 2014.
FROM ERIK BUELL RACING
Delhi, India – With a series of remarkable new launches, from youth-oriented 100cc motorbikes to a 620cc middleweight streetfighter and futuristic concepts, Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer by volume, made a strong impact at this year’s Delhi Auto Expo. Auto Expo 2014 – the Motor Show was held at the Expo Mart in Greater Noida, about 40 km (24 mi.) north of the Indian capital of Delhi.
With all the Indian and multinational manufacturers putting up massive displays at the biggest automotive show of the Indian subcontinent, the Auto Expo was expected to draw well over a million visitors by the time it ended on February 11.
The collaboration between Hero and Erik Buell Racing (EBR) stood out loud and clear at the Hero pavilion with the EBR 1190RS and the brand new 1190RX sport bikes being displayed on marquee pedestals. A slew of products developed jointly by the engineers of Hero and EBR generated massive interest from media and drew huge crowds to the Hero pavilion. The presence of Team Hero racers Geoff May and Aaron Yates added to the excitement.
Hero MotoCorp’s Managing Director and CEO Pawan Munjal addressed the media through a series of press conferences, starting from January 29, profoundly setting the tone to make it Hero’s show at the Expo. Munjal summed up the Hero vision when he said, “Being the global leader in two-wheelers, we have been challenging the routine and the conventional. Our new motto is to drive change through path-breaking innovations. With our finger on the pulse of the youth, we are therefore developing products that will cater to customers around the world, both in the near- and long- term. We have now successfully developed an ecosystem of technology research and development that is designed to think beyond the obvious and deliver future-ready mobility solutions.”
In addition to the Hastur, other new products jointly developed by EBR and Hero which were displayed at Auto Expo 2014 included a 250cc sportbike called the HX250R, a diesel concept bike called RNT, a pre-production version of India’s first electric-serial-hybrid scooter called the Leap, the all-electric Hero “ion”, the electric Hero SimplEcity with removable battery pack, Hero’s flagship 100cc Splendor Pro Classic and the Hero Passion Pro TR with off-pavement ride capabilities.