Critics wasted little time to frown at Hero when they parted with longstanding Japanese partner and global heavyweight, Honda. Hero stood their ground to become Hero MotoCorp in 2011, as Honda went their own way, confident they were on firm enough footing not to need an Indian partner. It’s been a hard fought battle since, as the giants clashed for the coveted prize of market supremacy.
Hero’s new Chairman, Pawan Munjal has shown quiet, yet steely resolve as he steers his company towards independent R&D capability. Losing Honda hasn’t affected Hero’s solid footing with consistently robust motorcycle sales, and the products not suffering any loss of quality or performance. Hero has however lost ground on one key front; the fast growing scooter market where they’ve had a limited presence.
In step the Maestro Edge and Duet, Hero’s first completely in-house developed models. Are the Maestro Edge and Duet able enough to take on the might of well entrenched rivals? Our test ride has your answers.
The Maestro Edge and Duet scooters are pleasantly styled, and well proportioned. Where the Edge is a sportier variant of the existing Maestro, and makes a sharper, more masculine looking scooter, the Duet is a more conservative Hero, with relatively rounder, softer lines. Both look contemporary, and come with modern touches including LED tail lights. The Maestro Edge looks muscular and stylish seen from ahead, with a nicely sculpted, sporty looking front mudguard. The Duet meanwhile comes with a more shapely, really distinctive rear. Just above their tail-lights, both scooters provide rear fuel-filler pods, opened with a twist of their ignition-keys, allowing for filling-up without getting off at petrol pumps.
Likewise, the Maestro Edge and Duet under-seat bays are unlocked via the ignition.
Both new Hero scooters provide an up-market feel, and are feature packed. The instruments bays are easy to read, with smaller digital displays and prominently set speedometers. Fuel gauges are available on both the Maestro Edge and Duet. Palm grips and levers are top-quality and nice to the touch, with a rear brake lock clamp in place to anchor the scooters when stationary on cambered surfaces. While the Duet has good quality switchgear, the Maestro Edge offers more premium switches that feel really swell. Pass lights are in place, operated by pressing the high and low beam toggle button. Although the Duet mirrors aren’t ideally shaped, and don’t adjust or stay in place as readily as we’d have liked, the Maestro Edge comes with well shaped, totally hassle free mirrors.
In addition to their under-seat bays, the Maestro Edge and Duet provide the option of adding lockable storage bins in front, although keep in mind fitting these does hamper leg space. Bag hooks are smartly placed around both Hero’s flat foot-wells. Under their seats, both scoots come with illuminated bays that pack in USB 3.0 ports, as can be used to charge cell phones.
The Maestro Edge provides smarter textured seat fabric, and an attractive silencer that’s rare on Indian scooters. Similarly, it holds an ‘edge’ with smarter alloy rims. Both new Hero scoots come with alloy pillion footrests. Little knobs located at the seat pivot region can be used to clamp your helmet in place when parked, only accessible after the seat opens.
There’s good attention-to-detail on the Maestro Edge and Duet, with a build-to-last, good quality feel apparent during our test ride session. The Duet comes with a metal body, this adding a few kilos of flab over the Maestro Edge.