autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

EBR and Hero Prepare Small-Displacement Line-Up for the Future

Erik Buell Racing and its Indian partner Hero are working on a future line-up of small-displacement motorcycles. The info comes from EBR directly, via Gary Pietruszewski, VP of global sales, whom we’ve interviewed at EICMA 2014 in Milan.
Erik Buell Racing logo 1 photo
After Indian motorcycle manufacturer Hero MotoCorp bought a minority stake in Erik Buell Racing mid-summer last year, we knew that many new things were in line from the new alliance. On one hand, EBR had one more financing source to fund development and expand the dealer network around the world. On the other side of the tie-up, Hero would benefit from EBR’s consulting, design and technology, gaining the upper hand in the Indian and Asian markets.It’s a big world full of small bikes out there
In many emerging markets worldwide, quarter-liter motorcycles often pass as “big” bikes, with 350 or 400cc machinery being almost as rare as liter-class machines. Fuel economy, affordability and cheap maintenance are the most important aspects riders in such markets guide themselves when it comes to buying a new machine.

The huge potential of these markets has been ignored until years ago, when the financial turmoil forced many manufacturers to reconsider their business principles. Erik Buell Racing had just come from a rather painful divorce from Harley-Davidson, so finding a new direction was somehow natural.

To some, a maker which used to sell very expensive bikes turning to the small-displacement class may seem like a step back, but this is in fact evolution in its purest form. EBR will continue to deliver top-notch bikes, but is also eyeing the other classes, simply because there is money to be earned there, as well.How small can an EBR bike be?
EBR will not turn into a scooter manufacturer. Still, EBR-branded bikes will become available for new riders in both the traditional and emerging markets. Pietruszewski tells us that the Hastur concept and the all-new Hero HX250R sport bike are very good examples of what we might expect in the future. Surely, the Hastur is a concept, but all the real bikes have started out as concepts, haven’t they?

On the real bikes side, Hero’s new HX250R weapon is looking good. Aggressive shapes, good price, better warranty than what the competition currently offers are already strong selling points… and the bike is not even in dealerships yet.

Pietruszewski mentions that even though the plans for the future generations of motorcycles aren’t laid out completely, the possibilities are quite vast. The tie-up with Hero will allow EBR to choose how a bike is marketed in a certain area. The Hero badge may seem more appropriate in a place, whereas other markets will have a warmer welcome for the EBR emblem.

EBR is even considering cruisers as part of a future line-up. No information was given as to whether these cruisers will be small-displacement machines based on new parallel twin or even single-cylinder engines. Nobody denied firmly that the present 1190cc v-twin will be left outside this wave of new bikes. Surely, we are one foot in supposition realm, but this is in fact telling you about the possibilities Gary Pietruszewski detailed for us.

One thing is certain, however. EBR is already in line with other western manufacturers and is not going to miss the start in the new wave of small displacement motorcycles. BMW has also jumped into the bandwagon and we are expecting small-displacement news from them soon, as well. Read this exclusive interview with BMW Motorrad to learn more about zie Germans’ plans. As for the small-displacement Harleys, watch this space for next week’s editorial.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories