News: Hero Motorcycles Start Stop Tech

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Hero Motorcycles Start Stop Tech

India’s Hero MotoCorp, which is planning on entering the U.S. market in the near future, has just launched a small capacity motorcycle featuring what it calls idle-start-stop (ISS) technology that it may introduce on all of its bikes if it proves successful.

The recently debuted Hero Splendor iSmart motorcycle, which has a 100cc four-stroke air-cooled engine and is sold in the Asian markets, features technology that Hero has called i3S that automatically turns off the bike’s engine after a brief period of idling, such as at an intersection or in stop-start traffic.

Hero’s system restarts the engine when the rider simply squeezes the clutch. For some time similar set-ups have been available in the automotive world on hybrid cars  (Toyota Prius for example) but it has never been used extensively on motorcycles.

Hero Motorcycles Start Stop Tech

The company says that the i3S technology has been designed primarily to help to save fuel, but it does require the bike’s battery to be in good condition to work properly. If it’s not, i3s, according to Hero can be simply deactivated if the battery is weak or not working properly.

Mr. Anil Dua, Sr. Vice President (Marketing & Sales), Hero MotoCorp said, “We think i3S will transform the market. We have applied for a patent for this technology, which may be later extended to several other models in our line-up.”

Hero Motorcycles Start Stop Tech

Last summer Hero MotoCorp bought a 49% stake, worth $25 million, in Erik Buell Racing LLC. At the end of last year, Buell announced a new distribution base for its European markets in Alkmaar, Holland. This was also done to help support Buell’s participation in the 2014 FIM World Superbike Championship with its riders Geoff May and Aaron Yates.

This coincides with Hero’s plans to expand its distribution of its motorcycles outside of Asia and the company has said it plans to start selling Hero motorcycles in the U.S. later this year with the aim of attracting younger riders or commuters looking for less expensive bikes.

  • daveinva

    I get why this is an idea given how cars are incorporating this tech, but this sounds like a terrible idea for a bike. Unless the engine turns over *instantly* once the rider squeezes the clutch, you’re still risking a slight delay, no? When I’m at an intersection, worried about rear-enders coming my way, I don’t want to lose *any* time if I need to pull forward to save my skin.

    • Justin McClintock

      Well, based on the article, it should only take effect if the bike is idling, but in neutral. If you’re idling in neutral, it’s probably already too late to be worrying about the car coming up behind you. If you’re still in gear with the clutch in, this shouldn’t really do anything.

      That said, if I’m wrong, then yes they’re idiots. And either way, I’m still not sure I’d want it on any of my bikes.

  • John

    This seems like the dumbet idea ever for a motorcycle. If there comes a day when a motorcycle is successfully hybrided and only uses the gas engine for recharging, then yeah. Is motorcycle fuel mileage really that big of a problem?

    • Tom Gabriele

      Why not try to improve if improvement is possible? Saying that motorcycles are fuel-efficient enough is like saying that superbikes are fast enough. Sure they are, but why not keep pushing the envelope?

      Also, in countries where average income is much lower and gas is much more expensive (not to mention traffic), this might make a real difference. Besides, Hero admits it’s just a trial to see what it’s like in the real world.

    • BigHank53

      Probably air quality is a bigger driver than economy. Lots of Indian cities can have half the traffic composed of scooters and little motorcycles, and they get stuck in traffic jams just like the cars do.

      • Mark D

        Not to mention urban air quality in developing countries is a serious health issue. Those small bikes may get great mileage, but with relatively high compression ratios, air cooling, carburetors, and no catalytic converters, their exhaust actually produces more harmful gasses than your average Civic over the same distance.

  • Kr Tong

    Now guys who stall out at intersections have an excuse.

    Makes a lot of sense for a hot place like India where you could be stuck in slow moving traffic for a long time. Around here you’re told to keep an eye on your mirrors for cars that dont see you and leave it in gear in case you need to make a quick evasion.

    • hunkyleepickle

      Thank you. Its amazing to me that the majority of guys just stop in neutral and enjoy the scenery, check themselves in a window, or smile at the babe in the convertible beside them. Call me paranoid, but i’m in first gear with my head on a swivel at every stop. I’ve seen way too many ugly rear enders to leave myself vulnerable.

      • Davidabl2

        …until that first car behind you is safely stopped behind you. And not stopped at just 1ft. behind your rear wheel.

    • Modest Husqvarna

      This is another reason filtering should be legal everywhere. I can honestly give a damn about lane splitting. But we need filtering laws all over the USA NOW.

  • atomicalex

    The RoW market is not like the US. This is a great idea, and it will be popular in the EU as well as APAC. I love that Hero is jumping around with all of these neat new ideas. We like to bitch that no one does anything new. Here is Hero doing something new. I will put money on this being an EU market option on BMW next year.

    • Zanpa

      More and more scooters have this option as well.

    • MrDefo

      I agree. American motorcyclists are extremely fearful of new and different ways of approaching their bike design.
      Since I am ignorant of the technology, I am sure there is a means to compensate for the amount of battery power being used up by contstantly stopping and starting the engine in heavy traffic. But that is a question that should be addressed. Perhaps the idea is that in start-and-stop traffic one would keep it in gear?

  • Ayabe

    The best types of these systems I’ve experienced in cars were from BMW and MB – in both cases it wasn’t seamless nor instant.

    No thanks.

    • Zanpa

      I have driven one car with it (Peugeot 208) and it was seamless and instant.

  • Nathan Haley

    In stop-start traffic this could potentially empty your battery charge pretty quickly.

    • Justin McClintock

      Only if you let it. Keep it in gear with the clutch pulled in and it likely won’t do a thing. Put it in neutral for it to take effect.

      • Nathan Haley

        so I’m going to be bothered to put it into neutral but I can’t be bothered to hit the killswitch?

        on any other bike we call it an issue – “bike dies whenever I put it in neutral”

        also – for safety, when waiting in traffic bikers should stay in first gear in case they need to get out of the way of a potential rear-ender.

        • Justin McClintock

          Couple of things. This will start the bike back up with less effort than hitting the kill switch (again) and starting it, plus you don’t have to think about it at all. Additionally, this isn’t for right when you pull up. It’s for when you’re sitting halfway through a line of cars that’s gonna take several minutes to get through a light/intersection/jam and isn’t moving anytime soon. When you’ve got a line of cars parked 5 deep behind you, there’s really no point in leaving it in gear.

          I’m not necessarily advocating the system, but I do see it’s practical application. That said, if I regularly rode in conditions like that….I wouldn’t bother riding. I’d take the bus and let somebody else deal with it.

    • eviladrian

      It’s never been a problem with the Honda system, which monitors battery charge and won’t stop the engine if it’s low.
      I’m not sure if I’d trust Hero’s engineers to be as clever as Honda’s though ;-)

  • Bill

    I live in the UK my Honda scooter SH125 has the idle stop. Works just fine it’s not a issue. Most of the cars we have driven have it also. It takes 2 days to get used to it.
    FYI idle stop on this bike will only kick in if shift into neutral when you stop.

  • Nemosufu Namecheck

    I love that motorcycle companies are finally trying to bring bikes up to speed with car technology. Its obvious that some people will not like this, but bikes need to catch up.

    I had this tech on my Audi station wagon in Germany in 2009 and it worked perfectly, was very responsive, and save me fuel and wear and tear. if this keeps my legs from getting cooked by my engine in rush hour gridlock I’ll take two!

  • Tiberiuswise

    I have this in my car and it makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure it would sell on a bike though. At least not here in the only country that matters. We buy pigs that get 30 MPG. The thought of buying anything tiny, like a 650, is inconceivable.

  • William Connor

    So it restarts when the rider squeezes the clutch? Great, so now I have to sit at every light in neutral, or will it shut off when I am squeezing the clutch and then I have to release and re-squeeze? What does that do to my reaction time when a car is coming up behind me at a light and I have to get rolling. Efficiency I get, at the cost of safety not so much.

    • Zanpa

      It activates (stops the engine) when you’re in neutral, clutch lever out, at idle. If you touch the clutch lever from neutral to put it in gear it restarts. So if you keep it in gear with the clutch lever in, it won’t stop.

      • William Connor

        So for people who leave their bike in gear at a stop, so they can accelerate away from danger, this technology will not be helpful or used. It would certainly make better sense to have this based on the throttle being closed for a period of time and then start up again when you open the throttle. Cars don’t require neutral to work so why should bikes be different.

        • Justin McClintock

          Well, you wouldn’t necessarily want it to work if you were leaving it in gear for safety reasons. Despite it supposedly being “instant”, it’s not. So if you’re leaving it in gear because you want to be able to get out of the way, you don’t want the engine stopped either. It’s really for more for when you’re stuck in a long line of stationary traffic. The kind of situation that would make you question the value of being on a bike to begin with (in my opinion).

          • William Connor

            Kind of my point. It has no use on a motorcycle in it’s current configuration, just adds complexity and cost.

            • Justin McClintock

              In the US, I would agree. But it’s notjust for the US.

  • Jose Barreira

    I think this is a good idea. But, insted of keep doing this and inventing that, motorcycles companyies should understand that the future is electric.

  • Rokster

    If this became law it could mean the end of Harley. I mean, isn’t the point of the whole thing to idle it and rev it at every opportunity?