Delivering on its promise of
launching the most affordable mass user bicycle at just Rs 1999 just three
months after Pankaj M Munjal had set the target for Hero Cycles in April, the
market leader unveiled its all new Roadster – aptly titled ‘Sarthi’, at
Designed at Hero Global Design
Center at Manchester, UK, this next generation roadster boasts of a hi-tech
trapezium frame that has front tyres built larger in diameter than the rear
ones, allowing a lower center of gravity, better stability and a game-changing
30% extra load-bearing capacity.
The Roadster market in India
has remained stagnant for the last five years and even the 1% CAGR growth that
it has managed to witness was sustained chiefly by government policies that
enabled free bicycle distribution schemes. Bicycles have remained the face of
rural life and find employment in achieving mobility, accessing livelihoods, education,
recreational activities, opportunities and prosperity for communities at the
bottom of the pyramid. These users include villagers, milkmen, vendors, daily
laborers, farmers and other workers. Very often, they require a personal
vehicle to transport bundles of wares over dirt trails and dreary distances to
reach markets and distant consumers.
“A bicycle gives an
opportunity to the poorest of the poor to commute, carry heavy loads and earn a
livelihood. The new Sarthi gives them an easier ride experience and extra load
carrying capacity that requires low maintenance, is affordably priced and comes
from a reliable brand. This measure falls in line with the government’s efforts
to double rural incomes by 2022, empower people through access to skill development
opportunities and help eradicate poverty”, says Pankaj Munjal.
Significantly, there has been
no innovation in roadster design in the last 100 years and those earning less
than the World Bank mandated poverty line of USD 1.90 a day cannot even afford
the Rs 3500 to Rs 5000 price tag for these bicycles. It is estimated that the
number of such people touches 32 crore.
The design for the Hero’s
game-changing Roadster is inspired by motor vehicles such as the classic Royal
Enfield. The difference in wheel size between the front and rear tyres allows a
lower focal point from which the weight of the body may be assumed to act and
hence obtain greater stability. The rider will find it easier to keep his
balance and achieve the best sitting position. The front fork has the same
shape as that of a Mountain Terrain Bike (MTB). Transmission efficiency has
been increased by 2% for easier pedaling. Even when heavy loads are put on the
back, there is a 6% reduction in the likelihood of a roll-over. There is an oversized
rear reflector for greater visibility and reflectors on the spokes as per ISO
norms, steel mud-guards and studier rims and spokes.
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