Qianjiang Motorcycle’s QJ350 will be the base of several upcoming light Harley-engined models in China
Back in June 2019, news broke out that American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has tied up with China’s Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle (head of Benelli) to develop light, street-focused products for potential Asian markets. It was later confirmed that the first product to come out of Harley’s ‘baby twin’ platform would initially hit the Chinese market. On the other hand, it is too early to comment on an Indian debut.
The ‘smallest ever motorcycle to get a Harley motor’ is a ~350cc inline-twin. It will borrow key components such as suspension, brakes and internal electronics from existing Benelli models (and other badge-engineered Qianjiang products). Harley-Davidson is aiming at a major portfolio overhaul since the wider motorcycle market has greatly diluted from the brand’s typical cruiser range.
Real-life images have emerged
Harley-Davidson’s upcoming twin-cylinder power plant has finally made an appearance in a Qianjiang QJ350 shell, which is essentially a streetfighter or naked sports motorcycle. Upon first glance, it is almost impossible to find the motorcycle’s American roots. However, look closely and one will find “Harley-Davidson Motor Company” cast on the engine’s left side.
It is worth mentioning that Harley-Davidson will introduce its own version of the QJ350, dubbed HD350, at a later stage. The design and styling would most likely go in line with the early renders we have shared before. Sales will be limited to ASEAN markets at the beginning and India might join the list eventually.
Our market is witnessing a growing interest in affordable twin-cylinder middleweights. Furthermore, existing premium single-cylinder motorcycles in the country are almost on the verge of receiving twin-cylinder successors. It is no secret that KTM India is working on a ~500cc twin.
Possible specs and facts
The original Harley-Davidson 338cc motor was derived from Benelli’s tried and tested 300cc inline-twin (not to be confused with a parallel-twin). Bore x stroke layout stood at 69mm x 45.2mm. This was achieved by borrowing cylinders and pistons from Benelli’s bigger 500cc mill. After some key design updates, the displacement was brought up to 353cc.
With a kerb of just over 175kg, the new Qianjiang QJ350 or Benelli TNT350 (speculative name) churns out roughly 35bhp. Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson’s version of the same would be slightly heavier due to the changing in styling, yet will remain the lightest (and cheapest) Harley-Davidson product of the time. The company will not introduce the HD350 in its home market.