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  • Writer's pictureThothathri Raman

Hero was made in India !

Literally! Hero is the person who possesses extraordinary ability while being a normal human being like any of us and the vision of a Hero is just that, be it in Hollywood, Bollywood or close at home. No compromises here. Larger than life depiction of a Hero is a passé and it doesn't stay long. Only those Heros that jell with everyday life have an enduring existence. So it is with the cycles and the homespun success of a Hero who has remained as one. We are talking about Hero Cycles here, a name that has become synonymous with the ubiquitous two-wheeler made in India, much before the fancy politicos wanted to label everything in India with the dictat of make in India. No one needed to tell our Heros in the 50s to make in India, it came in their blood .

" My father insisted that the bicycle be designed keeping Indian conditions in mind. It had to be capable of carrying more than two people, plus a heavy load and retail at the lowest possible price, so that it could become the people’s mode of transport. He spoke from firsthand experience – in those early years, all three brothers piled on to a single bicycle to get from their home in Model Town to the shop on Gill Road!" recalls Sunil Kant Munjal about the way Hero cycles was originally designed and sold by the three Munjal brothers with the inspiration given by Brijmohal Lall Munjal the eldest of the three in his 2020 book titled ‘The Making Of Hero’ published by Harper Collins

Scroll, the news network had excerpted some portions of the book in this link The fascinating book available at leading bookstores including the in the Amazon recalls the heroic tale of the Ludhiana based small importers of bi-cycle parts turning out to be one of world's biggest companies manufacturing all manners of two-wheelers starting out with bi-cycles.

The author recalls the moment of launching of the brand almost by a quirk of fate. "While my uncles Dayanand and Om Prakash were packing up to move to Ludhiana, one of their suppliers, a Muslim by the name of Kareem Deen, was preparing to shift to Pakistan. He manufactured bicycle saddles under a brand name he had created himself. Before he left, Karam Deen went to see his friend Om Prakash Munjal. What happened next would be a life-changing moment for our family. Uncle Om Prakash asked Kareem Deen whether the Munjals could use that brand name for their business. He agreed. The gesture was typical of the way businesses were run at the time – on reputation, relationships and goodwill. The worth and value of brands and patents were not appreciated or understood. And so, with nothing more than a casual nod, his brand passed to the Munjals." What followed was a furtive foray into making the first ever home made bi-cycle with the sheer grit of the Hero founders starting the design in a small workshop.

"My father and uncle Om Prakash would squat in the backyard with the artisans, drawing designs of cycle parts on sheets of paper and discussing ways of implementing them. The end product was assembled by hand and then put through multiple functionality tests. Unknowingly, this bottom-up approach created an advantage of quality and consistency" Munjal says.

Incorporated in 1956, Hero Cycles Limited is the largest integrated cycle manufacturer in the world. The company has a manufacturing capacity of 7.5 million bicycles per year, a highly integrated plant in Ludhiana (Punjab) Ghaziabad (UP), and Bihta (Bihar) and a state of the art manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka as well. In addition to the aforesaid, the group has a Design Centre in the UK and also owns UK-based Avocet Sports, HNF based in Germany, and Firefox Bikes in India. While Avocet Sports was Hero Cycles’ first overseas acquisition and marked the company’s entry into the European bicycle market, HNF helped Hero foraying into hi-end Electric Bicycles. Acquisition of Firefox Bikes on the other hand was a strategic move to cement its position in the fast-growing premium bicycling segment in India.

The company is a leader in both the standard and premium segments in India, with an overall market share of nearly 43 percent. The company is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and the most modern machinery producing major bicycle components within its premise under stringent quality parameters complying with all global standards. Hero Cycles has a network of over 250 suppliers and 2800 dealerships in India and exports to various countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

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