To ensure affordable pricing, Harley-Davidson X350 and X500 won’t be getting any of the advanced riding aids, as available with larger capacity Harley bikes
With its newest entry-level neo-retro roadsters, Harley-Davidson is all set to slug it out in the burgeoning Chinese auto sector. Scheduled for launch on March 10 as per teasers, the new Harley bikes X350 and X500 have been developed in collaboration with Chinese giant Qianjiang Motorcycle. These bikes will be largely ‘Made in China’ products with Harley branding and some of its signature features. Both will be sold globally. First units have now arrived in the USA.
Harley-Davidson X350, X500 leaked
Ahead of their launch, new details have been revealed about Harley-Davidson X350 and X500. Unlike the V-Twin engine that’s commonly used with most Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the new X350 and X500 bikes are equipped with liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engines. It may not resonate with Harley’s pedigree, but can be useful in terms of achieving a competitive price point for these bikes.
Names of these new Harleys pretty much reveal their displacement, although official specs have not been revealed. Considering QJ Motor’s existing bikes of similar capacity, a reasonable guess would be power output of around 30-35 hp for X350. In comparison, the larger capacity X500 could generate around 50 hp of max power. Both bikes are expected to be equipped with a 6-speed gearbox.
To reduce production costs, Harley-Davidson X350 and X500 share several of the hardware components. Some key highlights include USD forks, offset monoshock rear suspension, dual discs at front and dual-channel ABS.
X350 has petal discs whereas its larger capacity sibling utilizes conventional discs. The bikes have chain drive, which is likely to reduce maintenance cost. Tackling rough conditions will also become easier with a chain drive setup.
Harley-Davidson X350, X500 styling
Both bikes have neo-retro roadster styling, with some elements inspired from Harley-Davidson XR1200. Key features include circular LED headlamp, halogen turn indicators, round rear-view mirrors, classic fuel tank design and underbelly exhaust. Users can expect comfortable rides with ergonomically positioned handlebar and centrally mounted foot pegs.
Harley-Davidson X350 and X500 have a circular semi-digital instrument pod. The display is fairly simple with an analogue speedometer and small rectangular LCD display. The semi-digital setup indicates that the new Harleys won’t be getting advanced connectivity features.
Apart from China, Harley has plans to target the fast-growing middleweight segment in India as well. Here, the American manufacturer has a JV with Hero MotoCorp. The strategy will be largely the same as being used in Chinese market. Bikes from Harley-Hero partnership will primarily rival Royal Enfield and upcoming Bajaj Triumph motorcycles. It will be interesting to see if Harley-Hero bikes can successfully dent Royal Enfield’s market share and cult-like fan following.