While Harley Davidson as a brand is more prominently known for its high-end bobbers, the bike manufacturer has also been developing an entry-level bike for masses
In recent times, American bike maker Harley-Davidson’s grip in the market has been on the wane. Since beginning, the premium bike manufacturer has positioned itself as a brand that primarily caters to a niche segment of bikers. However, off late, due to the economic slowdown and various other reasons, Harleys seem to be losing their old-school charm.
While traditional bike enthusiasts would still dig for a Harley, with each day passing new models will leave a bigger hole to the consumer’s pocket. Therefore, in light of recent events, Harley Davidson has been developing an entry-level motorcycle which will be much more affordable than its current line of products and cater to a younger audience.
Dubbed as ‘338R’, this new bike has been the talk of the town for quite some time now. Now, we have got hold of a spied image which is supposed of the final production-spec of the 338R. From the looks of it, the bike is a lightweight naked street racer that will go well with young speed seekers.
The said image has broken cover in many social media apps. It seems that the image has been clicked at the factory site of QJ Motors, the parent company of Benelli, in China. For reference, Harley-Davidson, back in June last year, had announced its plan to develop an entry-level parallel-twin engine bike in partnership with Qianjiang Motors.
With the fuel tank clearly sporting ‘Harley Davidson’ badging and the rear fender showcasing the ‘338R’ branding, reports suggest that it uses the same structure as that of Benelli 302S. If one looks closely at the spy shot, they can clearly view the frame set- mainframe and subframe, suspension, wheels, brakes and even the swing arm to be borrowed from 302S. However, certain changes have been made to the bodywork and the engine will bear slightly more capacity.
The 338R is believed to be powered by a 338cc unit which is good to generate a power of 43 bhp. That’s a jump of 5 bhp from the 300cc unit employed by 302S. The engine of 338R is said to be crafted by combining the crankshaft and bottom end of the 300cc unit of 302S and the pistons and cylinders from the larger unit of 502S. The increase in power is evident due to the 13 percent increase in displacement.
While the American company originally announced the bike with a 338cc unit, it later renamed the prototype as ‘HD350’ suggesting its capacity had been increased further. The final detail on specifications is yet to be revealed whether it will be a 350cc unit or a 338cc unit. Either way, it won’t make much of a difference as far as output is concerned.
This naked street racer has been developed by the company keeping in mind the Asian markets where such bikes have been raging hot. Therefore, it is unlikely to find its place in the US and other Western markets, where Harley is proudly known for its big bikes. The question arises whether this bike will make its way to India or not. With recent reports suggesting Harley Davidson shutting its operations in India by nearly 30 percent, things seem a little tricky right now. However, if it did launch and is priced competitively, it will surely find takers.
The bike was supposed to be officially launched worldwide sometime later this year, however, chances look bleak now since the pandemic has impacted the time frame adversely.