Hero Cycles – The Journey of Cycling Heroes

Do you remember in your childhood, how enjoyable the bicycle ride used to be?

The tumble and stumble before you learn to pedal are a part of the childhood fun. Then, those of you, with a fondness for Hindi movies, will also know that bicycles and Bollywood movies have had a very old relationship. As bicycles used to be the major mode of personal transportation in India, till the 1970s, these featured prominently in many movies. Lately, too, we saw Amitabh Bachchan, moving around Kolkata, on a bicycle, in the film Piku. Anushka and Ranveer Singh raced their bicycles on a road in Istanbul in the movie Dil Dhadakne Do.

The credit for bringing about the bicycle revolution in India often goes to Om Prakash Munjal, the founder and co-chairman of Hero Cycles. Also known as the Father of Indian Cycle Industry, OP Munjal passed away on 13rth August 2015, at the age of 86.

O.P.-Munjal Hero Cycles

Here’s the story of Hero Cycles, the leading bicycle manufacturing brand in India, and the world’s largest cycle manufacturer by volume.

Optimistic start in Turbulent times

The start wouldn’t have been easy for Hero Cycle. Partition had brought the Munjal brothers from Pakistan to India. They had shifted their business for producing bicycle spare parts from Kamalia, a small town in Pakistan to Ludhiana, and had to start afresh amidst the turbulence. By 1956, they began manufacturing the key components of bicycles and going forward, started assembling the entire cycle. The then chief minister of Punjab, Pratap Singh Kairon (1901–1965) supported and motivated them in their endeavour. In their early days, they produced 25 cycles per day, amounting to around 639 bicycles in the year 1956.

Over the next few years, the Bicycle Unit started growing in stature and size. By 1975, Hero became the largest manufacturer of bicycles in India.


 The leading Indian brand of bicycles

The year, 1984, saw the collaboration between Hero Group and Honda Motors of Japan, to form Hero Honda Motors, which soon became one of the market leaders in motorcycle sales in India. The collaboration lasted till 2011.

In 1986, Hero Cycles entered the ‘Guinness Books of World Records‘, as the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world, producing around 18,500 cycles a day. With the launch of the brand, Urban Trail, in 2012, Hero Cycles entered the premium bicycle segment.

Can you imagine that with a manufacturing capacity of 7.5 million bicycles per year in its unit in Ludhiana (Punjab), Bihar & Ghaziabad, Hero Cycles has the capacity to produce a cycle in every 9 seconds?

Besides catering to 35% of the domestic demand for cycles, Hero Cycles also exports bicycles to countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Now, in 2015, by buying a majority stake in Avocet Sports, one of the top three distributors of bicycles, e-bikes, bicycle parts and accessories in the UK, Hero Cycles marks its entry into the high-value cycle market in Europe.


Image credit

Through sponsorship of kids exhibitions, cycle rally, Himalayan cycling expedition and other cycling events around the worlds, Hero cycles actively promote cycling, as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Partnering with International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA), for its ‘Cycling Heroes’ campaign aims to encourage people to take up cycling for good health with Bollywood actors as ambassadors.

At present, India is one of the top bicycle manufacturing countries in the world after China. 

Let us hope this eco-friendly mode of transportation, remains in vogue in India, now and in future, as much as it was back in the 70s.


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  • author's avatar

    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle – from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

  • author's avatar

Somali K Chakrabarti

Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle - from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

  • He is truly called the Father of Indian Cycle Industry….Hero was the No.1 brand for many years….still it is a popular one.

    Great to know the story behind the brand.

    RIP Mr. O P Munjal.

  • Sad to know that Om Prakash Munjal the Father of the Indian Cycle Industry passed away on 13 August 2015 .May his noble soul rest in peace in heaven .
    You have given a great story of Hero Cycles, the leading Indian brand for Bicycles .It is fantastic to learn that in Hero Cycles plants a cycle is produced every 9 seconds .We may feel pride that India comes second after China in the manufacture of bicycles .
    Bicycles give freedom and joy and promote health and wellness which no other mode of transport is able to provide .

  • Very illuminating! Although I used his products, didn’t know about the guy, who created them! Great job!

    • Thank you for your kind words Rakesh. I find it interesting to delve into the people and thoughts behind the creation of brands – what inspired them, how they went on about it, and also how we relate to the brands.

  • That was my first cycle… :-)

  • So good to know more about him.
    Sad so many of our nation builders are passing away! :(

  • Undoubtedly the TOP brand in the Bicycle segment of INDIA. Thanks for sharing..

  • Oh! Sad to know he passed away.
    Cycled indeed are more environment friendly. If more people opted to use cycles instead of cars, not only will he pollution go down, but the traffic conditions will improve too!

  • The hero of Hero cycles. Really happy to read about him here. Thanks Somali :)

  • It is nice to read this because Hero had a nice relationship with my childhood :)
    RIP, Father of Indian Cycle Industry.

  • Thank you for giving the history! They opened a university last year as well!

  • Interesting post on Hero Cycles. RIP, Mr.Om Prakash Munjal.

  • Woah! This make same brim with nostalgia! ^_^ So beautifully written dear

  • Thank you Somali, this is an inspirational story and a great touch of nostalgia as well. Who doesn’t remember the famous hero cycles, such a great association for all of us from that era :)

  • wonderful post on a very strong brand which has touched the life of probably every Indian who struggled to get on a set of two wheels.

  • Wow! Guiness book and all? Nice to know that.
    Nice to know that Hero Cycle’s story and also, nice to know that India is still one of the leaders when it comes to manufacturing bicycles.
    Informative post, Somali. :)

  • Great tribute to Mr. Munjal. I really liked this article which shows the transformation from cycle parts manufacturer to the largest cycle manufacturer of the world. Achievement!

    Many thanks for sharing.

  • A Himalayan Expedition that too on a bicycle is an ideal and a very healthy hobby of youngsters.. Right Post of the times, Somali!

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