Hero Shows Diesel-powered RNT Utility Bike

February 25, 2014
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Hero MotoCorp debuted several interesting designs at the recent Indian Auto Expo, including the production-ready HX 250R and prototype 620cc Hastur, but maybe the most intriguing is the RNT. A diesel-powered utility vehicle sporting a diverse array of accessories, the RNT shared the stage with other alternative fuel designs – including the pre-production version of the Leap electric scooter, as well as a true concept model in the fuel cell-powered iON.


Hero’s RNT is powered by a liquid-cooled, direct-injection diesel. The single-cylinder engine displaces 150cc and can be supplemented by an optional turbocharger. Hero touts the diesel’s torquey nature, with claims of 25 lb-ft peak torque at 1600 rpm with 13.5 peak horsepower at 4000 rpm. Performance data from Hero also include a 70 kmph claimed top speed (43.5 mph) and 0-60 kmph (37 mph) at five seconds.


The RNT will also offer hybrid status via an optional electric hub-mounted motor on the front wheel. Hero claims this electric motor will offer two-wheel drive functionality when used in tandem with the diesel, as well as electric-only capabilities with riders able to shut off the diesel engine.

The hub-mounted motor is not the only surprising electronic addition to the RNT, which also heralds an accessory generator that can pump out 1500 W of electricity. It also features a removable LED front headlamp, which can be utilized as a mobile lighting source away from the bike.

The rolling chassis incorporates a 37mm front fork and adjustable single rear shock. Braking package includes single disc front and rear, with the front sporting what appears to be a three-piston caliper arrangement similar to the HX 250R – another Hero debut at the Auto Expo. ABS sensors are also apparent on the RNT.

Curb weight for the RNT is listed at 300 pounds (136 kg). It includes a fuel load of 1.6 gallons – which should net quite a respectable range from the 150cc diesel. It is unclear whether that weight includes the optional electronic accessories, including the generator and electric hub-mounted motor (the latter of which there are no photographs yet).

Stylewise the RNT has an extremely utilitarian look, very Tote Gote/Rokon-esque if you ask us… It’s a step-thru-ish design, but the six-speed transmission and chain final drive lean more toward a bike designation, as do the 17-inch wheels and 120/70 front and 150/60 rear tire profiles.

Some of the most distinctive features are the broad, flat front fender and rear seat – tailor made for carrying loads. Same goes for the side-racks. This RNT is clearly intended to be a beast of burden.

The practical field applications for the RNT in India as a utility vehicle are numerous. The versatile Hero could serve, potentially, as a portable generator and work vehicle in the country’s still developing rural areas. It also has pretentions as a commuter and utility vehicle in urban areas.

“It’s a multipurpose bike for the rural market, for the small towns and also for the cities,” said Hero CEO Pawan Munjal of the RNT’s intended market during a Google Hangout at the Auto Expo. “You can actually cut off the Diesel power and go into the city on electric power.”

Munjal had earlier stated that the high-volume Indian market is in fact still growing, which has necessitated a need for even more manufacturing capacity for Hero (with its Japanese rivals, namely HMSI, also expanding production). He also cites market saturation in India at 20-25% in urban areas, with 7-10% in rural areas. There’s definite room for this little RNT to make an impact in the Indian two-wheeled market.

As far as the RNT’s status as a production model ready for export, Munjal’s intentions are clear, saying: “Sure enough it’s also going to be targeted at the overseas markets.”

Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal with the RNT – a utility bike powered by a 150cc diesel Single, with an optional turbocharger available. The RNT can also source a hub-mounted electric motor.

Hero RNT Specifications:
Engine: Liquid-cooled, turbocharged, direct-injection diesel Single
Displacement: 150cc
Claimed Peak Horsepower: 13.5 hp @ 4000 rpm
Claimed Peak Torque: 25 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Front Suspension: 37mm telescopic hydraulic forks
Rear Suspension: Swingarm with adjustable hydraulic shock
Front Wheel/Tire: 2.75 X 17 aluminium 120/70-R17 tire
Rear Wheel/Tire: 4 X 17 aluminium 150/60-R17 tire
Front Brakes: Multi-piston caliper, 300mm disc
Rear Brakes: Single-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Battery Main: Lead acid, 13.2 volt, 6 amp/hr, 50 CCA
Headlight Accessory: Lightweight 16 cell Li-ion, 500 CCA, 12 amp/hr Ballistic Performance EVO2, dry cell technology, can be mounted in any position.
Alternator: Electrified upgrade features 1500W of continuous electrical power, 6.5A @ 230V
Fuel Capacity: 1.6 gallons (6 Liters)
Top Speed: 43.5 mph (70 kmph)
Acceleration: 0-60 kmph (37 mph) in 5 Seconds
Length: 79.9 inch (2029mm)
Width: 29.1 inch (739mm)
Height: 42.4 inch (1077mm)
Ground Clearance: 6.6 inch (168mm)
Curb Weight: 300 pounds (136 kg)

* Special thanks for Faisal Khan and Indian motor site, MotorBeam.com, for the photo support.