News/ Industry/ A day with the H-D X440: The Journey, The Making and More!

A day with the H-D X440: The Journey, The Making and More!

The previous year was a glorious one for the Indian motorcycle industry, standing at the forefront was a single-cylinder powered thumper. The prominent part being, the thumper carrying a badge synonymous with large-capacity V-Twin cruisers. The case in consideration here is of the Harley-Davidson X440. When you break traditions and grounds simultaneously, the world takes notice. Same happened with the X440. When the idea of a single-cylinder motorcycle taking birth from the crucial partnership of H-D and Hero Motocorp first floated in thin air, assumptions were ripe that it would be a compromise. During our first ride experience, it turned out to be everything but a compromise. It had our attention and it further spiked when we received an invitation from Harley-Davidson India to witness the making of the X440. 

Our editor, Ramesh sir had never ridden the H-D X440 the way it is meant to be ridden. Same went for me as I had only tasted this delicious recipe in the closed confines of Hero Motocorp’s CIT facility in Jaipur. It wasn’t just going to be a factory visit to Hero Motocorp’s Garden Factory in Neemrana where the X440 is being manufactured, but an experience. It started off with us thumbing the starter of our respective X440s, on a surprisingly chilly morning in Sohna, Haryana. It was going to be a 100km ride on the Delhi-Jaipur highway till Hero’s Neemrana factory. A few kilometers later, me and Ramesh sir followed the roadtrip ritual and took a halt at a Dhaba for a cup of chai. The conversation that happened between us, mostly consisted of accolades for the X440. It felt at home during that sprint. In less than two hours, we arrived at the factory. 

The arrival was soon followed by a few briefs regarding the dos and don’ts inside the factory, including complete forbiddance of professional cameras. For reasons quite understandable. After that, we had an informative and interesting interaction with the people behind the genesis of the X440, with some of them hailing from Milwaukee, Harley’s home turf. It was rather interesting to hear what went down behind such a revolutionizing and to some extent, polarizing decision of making a single-cylinder Harley. That too, exclusively for the Indian market and in joint collaboration with Hero Motocorp. There were also a few candid moments that reflected the chemistry and fusion between two such diverse brands. 

This particular plant is christened with ‘garden factory’ namesake and for a reason because the core idea behind its formation is to maintain highest levels of ecological standards. Since its inauguration in 2014, this plant which spans over 47 acres was opened for the press for the first time. Apart from the Harley-Davidson X440, this plant also caters to the production of Hero’s 100cc motorcycles. Here are some of the interesting elements that we experienced during our visit:

  • Renewable energy: Entire plant structure is oriented diagonally based on sun path,  They have installed 1.2+ MW solar PV modules across the plant.
  • Big Foot technology: This technology enables them to regulate temperature, ensure proper balance of oxygen and CO2 and minimizes dust emission. Big foot is a ductless air conditioning system for the complete shop floor. 
  • Green house: Hydroponics-based green houses on rooftop (vegetable production houses for in-plant community) requires only 2-3% of water, compared to actual farming. 
  • Green wall: Walls with integrated plants produce oxygen for people working inside the factory. Total 20 green walls have  60K+ plants integrated within them.

It was also told to us that 70% of the manufacturing is done through automation, guaranteeing that there’s minimal human error and uncompromised uniformity. The entire shop floor is divided into different sections. Engine assembly, frame assembly, inspection stages and PDI checks to name a few. Harley-Davidson is currently working towards ramping up the production of the X440 to meet the raging demands.

Riding the Harley-Davidson X440 in surroundings where it is meant to be ridden and during the same day, witnessing where and how it is manufactured in the arid region of Rajasthan was surely an experience. It is great to see the coming together of two very different but formidable forces of motorcycling. One drives a revolution and one, the masses. The X440 is surely the fusion that we had expected from the marriage of such brands. Sure, there are still a few areas where it can be a better proposition, but let’s save that for a later day when we rendezvous again. 

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