Indian-owned Hero Cycles is launching its first ever range of British designed, Indian-manufactured e-bikes for Europe this month.
Hero Cycles, the world’s biggest bike maker by volume, has designed the new range at its new £2m Hero Global Design centre in Manchester, which will run the sales and marketing operation for the e-bikes worldwide with its e-commerce partner, Cheshire-based Hut Group.
Hero Cycles says it has kick-started manufacturing of the e-bikes at its factory near New Delhi and the first consignment will hit UK and European bike shops from the end of March. The manufacturer is mainly targeting the European and Indian markets with the new range which will be branded as Insync in Europe and Hero and Lectro in India and the rest of the world.
Sreeram Venkateswaran, CEO of Hero Cycles UK subsidiary Avocet Sports, believes 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: “The EU crackdown on China means there is now a gap in the market for a sensibly priced e-bike in Europe. 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.
“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 and these e-bikes will retail at around £1000 to £1400.”
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 power levels and there is a walk assistance feature, where the speed adjusts to 6mph.
The range comes in a choice of colours and features an insulated shell ensuring that the battery can be left in place, even in extremely cold weather, and it makes the battery difficult to remove, helping to prevent 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, as well as double disc brakes and Kenda’s K-shield puncture-resistant tyres.
Venkateswaran said the new e-bike range has undergone rigorous testing in India and the UK and complies with all EU regulations and safety standards. The range will be sold via dealers and online in the UK and online across the EU through the Insync website.
He added: “There has been a significant shift towards e-bikes, as they grow increasingly popular with riders. We are currently at our most competitive and flexible in terms of our supply chain, which means we can offer our retail customers a terrific bike at a great price. The consumer feedback we have received has been extremely positive as our design looks like a normal bike, without a clunky, heavy battery; the battery is neatly designed within the bike.
“We are excited to see how the range is received by the cycling community and confident it can drive further growth of the Insync brand and our UK operations. 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.”
Hero Cycles acquired Manchester bike company Avocet in 2015. In February, the business announced it was embarking on a major export drive of the Insync brand.