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Tuesday 14 February 2023


Harley-Davidson 350 and 500 

The saga of Harley-Davidson's tie-in with China's Qianjiang Group has been ongoing for nearly half a decade, but the project is finally getting off the ground with production licenses granted and two new models approved.

It was back in 2019 that Harley first revealed sketches of a bike, then called the 338R, that was to pioneer the company's link with Qianjiang. Heavily based on the chassis and engine of the Benelli 302S (Benelli is owned by Qianjiang), but with a longer-stroke engine to achieve a 338 cc capacity, it was expected to reach production soon afterwards, but the project hit several problems.


 As well as the coronavirus pandemic, which hit Chinese industry hard, the venture had difficulties in getting the permissions needed from the Chinese government to manufacture bikes.

Now the joint venture - called Zhejiang Jisheng Motor Vehicle Co, Ltd - has been given a manufacturing license and two bikes have been green lit for production. The original 338R has morphed into the 'X350' with the same chassis and styling as seen on the original sketches, but now using a 353 cc version of the Qianjiang parallel twin engine. 

On top of that, the company has type-approved a second model, the X500, based on the same engine and frame used by the Benelli Leoncino 500, but with Harley-Davidson styling.

The approval documents show that the X350, internally called 'HD350-10', makes 27 kW (36 hp), weighs 195 kg wet, with a wheelbase of 1,410 mm, 120/70-17 front and 160/60-17 rear tires, and a top speed of 143 km/h (89 mph). Its wheels, suspension and brakes all appear identical to those used on the Benelli 302S. The X500, meanwhile, manages 35 kW (47 hp), making it an ideal A2-license machine in Europe, with a weight of 207 kg and a wheelbase of 1,450 mm. Both bikes have Bosch 9.1 ABS, but the larger model has radial front brake calipers and much larger discs.

Although the bikes are expected to mainly target Asian markets when they're officially launched, the smaller model already appears to be earmarked for the USA, although according to H-D CEO Jochen Zeitz, they will, initially at least, be used purely as a Dealer Rider Academy training bike and not available for sale. 


A document filed by Harley-Davidson with the US NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), listing production models for 2023, includes the 'Harley-Davidson X350RA'. The document confirms the 353 cc capacity but cites a much lower power figure than the Chinese type-approval document, saying the model only has 23 hp, although this may be a typo or a miscalculation, as its far less than the same engine achieves in other bikes. 

With the X350 essentially confirmed as a 2023 model and the X500 appearing to be hot on its heels, it's likely we'll find out more official news on the bikes in the near future.