By Byron Wilson, Associate Editor

The Indian company is coming stateside

Hero MotoCorp became the largest two-wheeled manufacturer in 2001, based off annual unit sales, a position the Indian manufacturer holds to this day. In 2012 the company established a strategic partnership with American firm Erik Buell Racing in the AMA Pro Road Racing SuperBike class. In the summer of 2013, Hero further cemented its partnership by purchasing a minority stake in EBR (49.2%), a 25 million dollar investment. The backing helped EBR get a second motorcycle, the 1190RX (revealed at the AIMExpo) on deck for public release, and now EBR is helping Hero break into a new market, the United States.

The announcement of Hero’s plan was made in conjunction with the unveiling of the 1190RX, and consumers can expect to see Hero motorcycles in the States mid-2014. EBR will be the exclusive distributor of Hero motorcycles in America.

“The actual EBR collaboration with Hero MotoCorp began in late 2011, when we were contracted to deliver a concept hybrid scooter for Hero in record time for the January 2012 Delhi show,” said EBR founder Erik Buell during a video address to gathered EBR dealers and media. “In early 2012, EBR next entered a long term strategic partnership to provide technical expertise and engineering services for Hero, the world’s largest producer of two-wheeled vehicles. Hero, a longtime supporter of sports in India, also became a sponsor of our race team in the AMA Pro Road Racing Championship. Since then, the alliance has grown stronger, culminating in Hero MotoCorp purchasing a minority share in EBR this past summer.”

“I am delighted to announce today that EBR will be distributing Hero motorcycles to the United States and Canada on an exclusive basis starting summer of 2014. We recently had a great event in India to celebrate our 50 millionth motorcycle, and Erik was there with me to enjoy that event, both as a friend and as the huge fan of motorcycling that he is,” said Hero MotoCorp Managing Director and CEO Pawan Munjal. “Both EBR and Hero believe that the combination of the world’s leading manufacturer of two wheelers and one of the world’s leading innovators is a very powerful team, and we are excited about the possibilities.”

Hero brought four models to display in the EBR booth at AIMExpo, all of which were equipped with air-cooled, four-stroke Singles: the Karizma ZMR at 223cc; the Hunk at 149.2cc; the HF-Deluxe at 97.2cc; and the Pleasure, a scooter at 102cc. There are 19 total models listed in the Hero MotoCorp product portfolio though, so whether these four will make the cut for American markets remains to be seen.