Harley-Davidson and Hero Motocorp announced a partnership back in 2020 for the distribution of existing Harley motorcycles and the development of a new range of models for the Indian market. We haven’t heard much from that arrangement… until now, when a selection of “spy photos” of a Harley-Davidson-branded motorcycle with a 400-ish cc Single landed in the hands of the Indian press.
EVO India published the photos, spinning a yarn about photos arriving on their doorstep in a brown envelope marked “top secret” and an anonymous note. We’ve run enough of them on Motorcycle.com and seen the feedback from readers scoffing at the “spy photo” trope, but these suspiciously well composed photos with a grainy black and white filter photos were clearly sent out from Hero Motocorp.
Before we get into the photos, here’s what we know about the Harley-Davidson/Hero deal. Hero will serve as the official distributor of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in India, handling sales, service and merchandising across the country in its existing dealer network and brand-exclusive Harley-Davidson dealers. Hero will also be developing “a range of premium motorcycles under the Harley-Davidson brand name,” as part of a licensing agreement.
In other words, the engineering for the motorcycle pictured here is by Hero, with Harley-Davidson possibly providing some input on the styling. In one of the photos, showing the bike from the rear in front of a white wall, you can spot Teofilo Plaza Garcia, Hero Motocorp’s head of design, crouched down in front of the motorcycle. In the shot of the bike on the dyno, we spy someone in a white shirt that is likely Pawan Munjal, Hero’s chief executive officer.
The mystery motorcycle draws inspiration from Harley-Davidson’s air-cooled Sportsters, with the wheels looking nearly identical to the wheels of the Iron 883. The use of twin rear shocks is another nod to the Sportster formula, but up front, the bike sports inverted forks.
The motorcycle appears to be powered by an air- and oil-cooled Single-cylinder engine. The license plate reads “HD 4XX”, which leads us to believe the engine has a displacement in the 400-ish cc range. Hero doesn’t currently have an engine of that size, so it’ll be interesting to know if it’s a brand new design or an evolution of an existing engine. A shot of the round instrument cluster shows a fully digital display, with a tachometer suggesting an 8,000 rpm redline. The oil cooler is mounted vertically on the left side of the engine, with the header pipe occupying the same space on the right side.
A close-up shot of the front wheel confirms the presence of a single ByBre front brake caliper, and an ABS sensor ring. Mumbai-based CEAT supplies what appears to be its tubeless Zoom Cruz tires. The front appears to be an 18-inch tire, while the rear tire is marked as a 140/70-17, with a 66H speed rating indicating a maximum speed of 130 mph.
A single circular headlight sports a horizontal LED position light with “Harley-Davidson” branding, with more LEDs above and below it for the headlight and high beam.
There is still a lot to be revealed, including whether it will be exported outside of India. Earlier this year, Harley-Davidson and QJ Motors introduced the X 350 in a similar partnership, with QJ providing the engineering and Harley handling the styling, and the X 350 is thus far only available for sale in China, with a detuned version brought to the U.S. for Harley-Davidson’s riding academy. Unlike the X 350, a Hero-produced Harley might be a more enticing product for other markets.
We also don’t know the model’s name. We know that Harley-Davidson has previously trademarked the name “48X”, and based on the styling, the name appears to be a better fit for this bike than it does the new Revolution Max-powered Sportsters. Of course, we might just be leaning that way because of the “HD-4XX” code name.
The motorcycle in the photos looks near-production ready, so we suspect Hero and Harley-Davidson will officially reveal it soon. EVO India suggests a late summer reveal, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it comes earlier.
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