In one of the first global product reveals at the EICMA Milan Motorcycle Show, Hero MotoCorp, India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, today unveiled the XPulse adventure concept motorcycle. Taking the legacy of the Hero Impulse forward, the XPulse presents a sharper focus on off-road performance with its ground clearance, off-road tyres, wind protection and an accessible seat height.
Pawan Munjal, chairman, MD and CEO, took the covers off the XPulse Concept and said that the company plans to invest in building the culture of motorsports in India. The new XPulse concept, for which the company has not disclosed any technical specifications, aims to provide a glimpse into the company's plans to expand further into bigger engine capacity segments.
The XPulse Concept is an offshoot of Hero's efforts in building the Dakar Rally bike in collaboration with Speedbrain. Hero Motorsports Team Rally, the company's motorsport division, also showcased its plan for the upcoming Dakar Rally 2018.
Speaking at the product reveal, Munjal said: “Hero MotoCorp has, over recent years, rapidly expanded its global footprint and is present in 35 countries with manufacturing facilities in three countries. We are constantly developing concepts for the future, keeping in mind global trends and customer aspirations. I am sure the XPulse adventure concept motorcycle gives you a directional guidance on the path that Hero is going to ride in the future. We created this segment a few years ago and feel it is about time we start conceptualising some new thoughts and ideas in this space. And, in keeping with the rising global stature of brand Hero, we are creating such concepts not just with the Indian user in mind but also with a focus on evolved global markets.”
“We are pleased with our motorsport team which in its debut season made a mark in rallies across continents last year. The team is now ready for Dakar 2018. We are also taking the learning and experience from motorsports to develop new concepts and products for our customers,” added Munjal.
Hero MotoCorp CMD Pawan Munjal with chief technology officer, Dr Markus Braunsperger, with the Dakar Rally motorcycle which has all-terrain capabilities.
Meanwhile, Dr Markus Braunsperger, CTO, Hero MotoCorp, said that the company's R&D is learning from the development of the Dakar rally bike with its all-terrain capabilities. These learnings will be factored in developing all future Hero products.
Although Hero MotoCorp is yet to disclose details of its latest product, sources indicate that the company has developed a dual-purpose motorcycle estimated to be powered by a single-cylinder engine with displacement in the range of 200cc-300cc.
Sources also indicate that the company plans to launch the off-road motorcycle, which is developed at its Jaipur-based R&D centre, not only in India but also across a number of its export markets. In India, Hero’s entry-level off-roader is more likely to appeal to the select class of riders looking for the on-and-off road riding applications, besides the conventional motorcycle customers.
It can be recalled that Hero MotoCorp’s 150cc off-road motorcycle Hero Impulse, which was launched in 2011, was appreciated for its format, upright riding position and comfort. However, according to experts, the Impulse was underpowered as its air-cooled, 150cc motor had only 13bhp of peak power on offer.
Since then Hero MotoCorp is understood to have conducted several market studies and have consulted industry experts to understand the right mix for a product like the Impulse.
Currently, among all adventure motorcycles on sale in the domestic market, Royal Enfield’s 411cc Himalayan stands as the most affordable model with its on-road price-tag of close to Rs 190,000.
It would be interesting to see if Hero MotoCorp’s XPulse, as and when it is launched, will undercut Royal Enfield’s Himalayan in terms of affordability. Hero MotoCorp’s re-entry into the adventure motorcycle format underlines its intent to capitalise on the rising demand for the off-road motorcycle category in India and in other developing economies. From its aggressive global reveal at EICMA, the company has clearly revealed another growth path it plans to take.