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Tuesday 26 September 2023


European styling and American engineering
By Ben Purvis

The X-Wedge was originally developed in the heyday of the volume custom bike building era by S&S Cycle, and originally launched in 2007 as a 56.25-degree off-the-shelf turn-key option for proto-OEM brands and custom bike builders.

Fast forward 15 plus years to a much-changed world, and September 2023 saw the return of the X-Wedge brand with an initial five model range unveiled by Chongqing Huansong Industrial Group - better known in Western markets for the HiSun brand of ATVs and side-by-side four-wheelers that it offers globally. 

We scooped the plans for a new range of Chinese-made cruisers using the X-Wedge engine earlier this year, but at that time what wasn't known was that Huansong had bought the whole X-Wedge project and would be building the engines in-house.

The three-cam, fuel-injected V-twin was first seen in 117 ci form but rapidly grew to 121 ci, the same size that the new X-Wedge branded models use. That's around 2,000 cc, which is why the four Chinese-made machines in the X-Wedge line-up use that number in their names. 

All the new bikes have been styled in Europe by Kiska Design, the same company that's responsible for the appearance of most KTMs in recent years as well as many CFMoto designs. Indeed, Kiska is owned by the PIERER Mobility parent company that owns KTM.

The first is the Ranger RX2000, a Fat Boy-style cruiser with alloy wheels, plenty of chrome and conventional looks that is aimed squarely at attracting Harley-Davidson customers. In China, it's a plan that might work well; there's a strong market for cruisers there and Harley-Davidsons are aspirational machines, way out of reach for most riders. 

Although prices for the new X-Wedge models haven't been announced, and nor have performance figures, the engine shouldn't be short of power and the Chinese manufacturing should keep costs down.

Alongside the Ranger, X-Wedge has launched the Rover RL2000 as a full-dress tourer built around the same main components. Wearing full luggage and a bar-mounted fairing, it's a direct competitor for the Harley Ultra Limited, and is stacked with tech including a large, 7-inch touchscreen display.

'X-Wedge cruiser brand'

The same front-end design and top case also feature on X-Wedge's trike model, the Vanguard VT2000, which very obviously takes aim at the Harley Tri Glide Ultra.

At this point, the X-Wedge range starts to veer away from direct Harley-Davidson rivalry, as the Voyager VS2000, which is essentially the Ranger RX2000 with a traditional sidecar bolted on the right-hand side. That makes it a three-seater and adds a distinct appeal of its own. Sidecars might seem outdated in the Western world, but in China they remain popular; the Changjiang CJ750 was a definer for the Chinese sidecar market, built there for decades as a copy of the Soviet Dnepr M-72 - itself a descendant of the pre-war BMW R-71.

The final of the five models in this first X-Wedge range iteration is distinct from the rest, not only in its style and layout but also its engine. It's the Walker WR1000, and as the name suggests it has a 1,000 cc engine. 

Walker WR1000

The 976 cc, liquid-cooled V-twin borrowed from the largest of HiSun's ATVs, connected to a CVT transmission with an electromechanical reverse gear, and, in the Walker WR1000, it powers a reverse trike (two wheels at the front and one at the rear). It's clearly developed to rival Can-Am's Spyder and Ryker models and, potentially, the Polaris Slingshot line.

At the moment, X-Wedge's plans outside China remain a mystery, but given the global presence of the HiSun ATV brand owned by the same parent company, and an established McKinney, Texas based US operation already established, there's a good chance they'll be exported once production is up to full speed.