The story of Eric Buell Racing is a roller coaster tale pretty well known in the two-wheeled world, but for those who haven’t heard it, it basically goes like this. A very talented engineer and bike designer called Eric Buell partnered with Harley Davidson to build American sport bikes to take on the world. The Buell brand was born and rolled out across the HD dealer network. Harley watered down his designs and eventually folded the subsidiary all together just a couple years on. Not being the lay-down-and-die type, Buell founded Eric Buell Racing as a bespoke race bike builder and started manufacturing small runs of exactly the kind of bike he’s been trying to make all along, all to critical acclaim.
Fast forward to 2013 and Eric Buell Racing (or EBR for short) has unveiled its first mass production bike meant for the masses. While that story is inspiring, that’s not what ought to be interesting to scooter fans. In addition to their new line of production sport bikes, EBR has taken on US distribution of Hero MotoCorp scooters.
Hero is likely a new name to most ScooterFile readers, but the Indian company is actually one of the world’s largest manufacturers of two-wheelers on volume. Currently Hero offers two scooter models, the Maestro and the Pleasure, which both feature 109cc engines and typical modern scooter details. It’s the new Hero model that’s of particular interest. Debuted at Auto Expo 2012, the Hero Leap is a serial Hybrid scooter that appears to have been co-developed with the team at EBR, as they hold several of the patents on the hybrid drive technology. As a serial hybrid, the Leap is actually an electric scooter (EV) with a gasoline-powered range extending generator. This is a similar system used in the Chevy Volt or BMW i3.
While certainly very technologically advanced, unfortunately there don’t seem to be any real-world specs available yet for just what kind of performance one could expect from the Leap. We’re hoping for something in the 100cc-200cc range in terms of equivalent power and a top speed of at least 45 mph. That would let the bike be usable in most urban situations and always be able to keep up with the reasonable flow of city traffic. No pricing has been announced as yet either.
EBR/Hero joins Vectrix and BMW in the mainstream of production electric scooters. Yet the Leap is offering something the bigger players can’t currently touch: hybrid range extension. Will this gap measure between gas and electricity help give electric scooters a toe-hold in the marketplace. We’ll soon find out.
As EBR spins up its dealer network, look for Hero scooters alongside its $20,000 production sport bikes. Given EBR’s deep roots in racing, we wouldn’t be surprised if Hero scooters started becoming go-to pit bikes.
Via: Scoot Power