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In conversation with Marcus Braunsperger on the 2018 Hero Dakar bike

Speaking to Dr Markus Braunsperger, the Chief Technology Officer of Hero MotoCorp about the updates to the 2018 Hero Speedbrain Dakar bike

Sirish: So, Markus what’s new on the Dakar bike?
Markus: Actually it’s a complete re-design of the package, keeping the drivetrain and suspension the same. The main focus was on reducing the weight and volumes, significantly adding a side tank on both sides. So the bike still carries 30 litres, but having it much more close to the centre of gravity. Then there was the redesigning in terms of ergonomics, so that the rider really feels confident riding this at high speed, let’s say over long periods of time so he should not struggle with the bike. Then second or third focus was looking at the front cowl, with transparency, where the whole layout was focused so that the rider is able to look right In front of his front wheel in the technical demanding stages so that you really can maneuver around the bike and these were more or less the points we focused on.

S: The engine is the same as last year?
M: Engine is the same and so are the drivetrain and chassis. Major rework has been the whole body concept as well as the front, the bike gives us some orientation on the future design strategy as well. So it’s not just about to go into racing with something that looks strange. It is fully dedicated to perform. At some point, we have to deliver, we have to have a basis and connect for our on-road bikes for what we are doing on the technologies on the speed and performance front as well

S: Is it intentional to make it look very mean, very aggressive?
M: By nature it’s a tool to perform from this perspective the design is focused only on function. Probably this is the reason why it’s not ornamented. Because ornamentation doesn’t make it faster, so it’s only focused on the ability to deliver a high performance.

S: How much lighter has it been from the earlier bike?
M: Actually it has similar weight because you carry the same amount of water and fuel it has to carry, so from that perspective it’s only marginal, but bike weighs close to 140 kilograms in dry conditions.


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Aatish Mishra

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