Harley-Davidson, last year introduced the company’s growth plans called “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” under which the brand planned to introduce smaller displacement 200-500cc motorcycles in collaboration with Chinese motorcycle major Qingjiang which is also the parent company of the Italian motorcycle brand Benelli.
The plans were to launch a more affordable motorcycle for the Indian and other emerging markets. It was earlier rumoured to have an engine capacity of 338cc and be based on the Benelli 302R, which will first go on sale in the Chinese market before being launched in other international markets including India.
Rendered images of the motorcycle also revealed that the Harley-Davidson 353 could use the Benelli 302R chassis and a parallel-twin cylinder engine that would produce 36 BHP of power which is slightly less than the Benelli 302R. Now reports suggest that the engine capacity on the bike could be improved from 338cc to 353cc, derived from the fact that the brand signed on the project ceremony referred to as “HD350 Project” and official Chinese documents that revealed the QJ-350-13 under the QJ Motor brand which is Qingjiang’s arm of high-end motorcycles.
But Harley-Davidson’s plan More Roads to Harley Davidson has now been changed to Rewire by the brand new CEO, but the new plans do not mention any development in the HD350 Project and if things go as per their planned timeline the new 350cc Harley-Davidson could be introduced in the near future.
Apart from the Harley-Davidson 353, QingJiang is also likely to introduce its own iteration built around the same engine a chassis but will offer different styling with completely different bodywork and graphics. The Qingjiang bike is likely to be sold under the QJ Motor branding and could be rebranded as the Benelli 352R in the international market.
Currently, the Harley-Davidson Street 750 is the entry-level model sold in India and the smallest engine in the company’s portfolio is the Street 500 which has an engine displacement of 500cc. However, the Street 500 is not sold in India.