Indian-owned Hero Cycles is set to launch its first ever range of British designed, Indian manufactured, electric bikes for Europe in March this year.
Hero Cycles, the world’s biggest bike maker by volume, has kickstarted manufacture at its factory near New Delhi and the first bikes will hit UK and European stores from the end of March. Hero Cycles is mainly targeting the European and Indian markets with its innovative new range which will be branded as Insync in Europe and Hero and Lectro in India. The global e-bike market is already worth $16.34 billion and is set to be worth $23.83 billion by 2025 according to a new report published by Allied Market Research in America.
Hero’s new e-bikes, have all been designed at the company’s new £2m Hero Global Design Centre in Manchester and feature a concealed battery, 30km battery life and walk assistance feature.
Sreeram Venkateswaran, CEO of Hero’s UK subsidiary Avocet Sports, said the new Insync range of e-bikes will ‘fill the gap’ left in the European market for high-quality cost-competitive e-bikes after the European Union announced anti-dumping measures on e-bikes imported from China (see notes to editors).
“The EU crackdown on China means there is now a gap in the market for a sensibly priced e-bike in Europe,” he said. “Hero and Insync can meet that demand as we harness the expertise of our European design team in Manchester with our efficient manufacturing hub in India. Our price range will be more around £1000 to £1400. The e-bike market is now very attractive to Hero Cycles and we see massive potential to build e-bikes for the European market and the rest of the world. The key for us is to provide great quality at the right price point that is affordable for families.”
Mr Venkateswaran said the marketing and sales operation for the e-bikes, will be run from the UK by Hero Cycles and its e-commerce partner the Cheshire business The Hut Group and will see the range sold via dealers and online in the UK and online across the EU.
The bikes have been launched in response to the growing popularity of electric cycles, aimed at getting more people out pedalling as they give riders power assistance should they need it.
Mr Venkateswaran said the new range has undergone rigorous testing in India and the UK and complies with all EU regulations and safety standards.
He said: “There has been a significant shift towards e-bikes, as they grow increasingly popular with riders, and the new Insync range will capitalise on that trend. We are currently at our most competitive and flexible in terms of our supply chain, which means our customers in Europe and India can be assured of a top-quality bike for a competitive price.
“The consumer feedback we have received has been extremely positive as our design makes it look like a normal bike, yet you can still draw power from a battery. We are excited to see how the range is received by the cycling community and confident it can add to the growing success of the Insync brand and the wider Hero Cycles business. In keeping with the rest of the Insync range the e-bikes will be aimed at families looking to improve their fitness, health and well-being through cycling. A growing body of research now shows the considerable mental and physical health benefits of cycling for all ages (see notes to editors).”
The Insync e-bike range includes two models of commuter e-bikes called Townmaster for men and women, a unisex low-step bike called Avanti, a folding bike called Easystep and a leisure mountain bike called Peak.
Riders can choose from three levels power assistance, depending on how much power they need. There is also an added walk assistance feature, where the speed adjusts to 6mph if you wish to walk with the bike.
Hero’s range, which comes in a choice of colours, also features a concealed battery, resulting in a neater looking frame. An insulated shell ensures that the battery can be left in place, even in extremely cold weather, and makes the battery difficult to remove, preventing theft.
The battery has a charge time of around three hours and a range of 30km per charge. The urban bikes have been designed with an integrated head lamp and other integrated features, as well as double disc brakes and Kenda’s innovative K-shield puncture-resistant tyres.
Hero acquired Manchester bike company Avocet in 2015, launching its first new range of Viking bikes in 2018. In February, the business announced it was embarking on a major export drive of the Insync brand.
Notes to editors
- E-bike background
The European Union passed a law imposing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Chinese electric bikes. The decision was announced after a year-long investigation initiated after a complaint from the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association (EBMA) claiming that Chinese-made electric bicycles were being sold at discounted rates which were hurting the European manufacturers business and preventing them from reaping the profits from the booming electric bike market in the region. The investigation by European Commission (EC) concluded that Chinese e-bike manufacturers were gaining huge benefits owing to the state subsidies, lax regulations and accessibility to cheap motors and batteries. As a consequence of the conclusions made by the EC, the association levied duties in the range of 18.8 to 79.3 percent on Chinese electric bikes.
According to Bike Europe China accounted for 73% of the total e-bike imports to Europe in the first half of 2018. The EU legislation came into force in July 2018.
- Health and cycling
An estimated 34,000 incidences of eight life-threatening conditions, including type two diabetes, stroke, breast cancer and depression, would be prevented in seven cities between 2017 and 2040 if cycling increased at rates like those seen since the millennium in London, the transport charity Sustrans has claimed.
Hero Cycles Limited
Hero Cycles Limited was founded in India in 1956. It is the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world by volume producing 19,000 cycles per day and 5.2million per year. This represents one out of every 20 of the world’s bicycles. Hero Cycles has manufacturing units in Ludhiana (Punjab), Bihta (Bihar) & Ghaziabad (UP). It is part of the Hero Motors Company which has revenues of $400million and $1.2billion in assets employing circa 8,000 staff.
The company exports to more than 70 countries through a network of circa 250 suppliers and 2800 dealerships. Its bike range includes road bikes, hybrid bikes, children’s bikes, electric-bikes, mountain bikes, BMX and roadster models. Hero in India also manufactures automobile components like chassis for cars, safety components and transmission for motorcycles.
In August 2015, it acquired British brand Avocet Sports with 51pc stake targeting high-end bicycle market in Europe and now has full ownership. In 2015, it also acquired Firefox Bikes – India’s largest premium bicycle brand with an established presence Pan-India through a network of 160 outlets. In 2016, it acquired a majority stake in Sri Lanka’s leading bicycle manufacturer BSH Ventures, further boosting its manufacturing capacity. As part of major expansion plans across Europe it launched the £2million Hero Cycles Global Design Centre (HGD) in Manchester, UK, in January 2017. The design hub is led by creative minds from across the world including innovators from India, Taiwan and Denmark.
Hero Cycles is ISO9001 & ISO14001 Certified from BVC of UK and recognized by the R&D department by the Govt. of India.