TO THE exciting world of the Indian motorcycle press, where the main websites are posting rumours about a new tie-up between Ducati and New Delhi-based Hero Motorcycles. The plan would be for Hero to produce a low-cost entry-level 300-class bike which Ducati would use as a gateway bike for Europe and North America while servicing the developing markets of SE Asia.
It's not exactly rocket surgery to think up such a scheme of course: BMW has done exactly this with Indian firm TVS to produce its G310 range. And while Hero used to have a tie-up with Honda to make bikes, that finished some time ago, so they could do with a new partnership. Ducati could use a smaller bike for new markets, and is already a big name in India. Finally, Hero was one of the names in the frame as potential purchasers of Ducati when VW was thinking about seling it recently.
There's little in the way of hard facts or quotes in the stories out there, but we might hear more at the big bike shows in Cologne and Milan later this year.
Ducati currently has the 400cc Sixty2 Scrambler as its entry-level machine, though that is a bit of a compromise, with a V-twin motor being expensive, heavy and generally sub-optimal for small capacity budget bikes. Expect any 300cc motor to appear in a Monster/Scrambler form first, together with a mini-Multistrada.
Could we get a titchy Panigale-a-like sporty machine like the sporty TVS Apache version of BMW's G310 (above)? To be honest, Ducati would probably nix the notion of a small-bore Pani unless it was a real performer. A high-revving desmodromic version of the basic single-cylinder 300, making 50hp in a 135kg chassis? Going back to Ducati's roots in high-performance desmo singles from the 1960s? Now, that would be very exciting indeed.
* h/t to https://www.bikewale.com