Honey, I shrunk the Harley.
There’s been talk of Harley-Davidson downsizing for a few months now. As the American manufacturer entrusts part of its production to China and increases its presence on the Asian markets, part of the plan includes the introduction of small-displacement bikes. That’s the short version in case you haven’t been following. It was already confirmed that the “baby” Harley would be offered with a displacement of 338cc. The model is now ready to hit the production line.
Harley-Davidson and its Chinese partner Qianjiang have signed off on the design of the HD350 Project—the new model’s working name. The two companies came together for a ceremonial “Design Freeze Signing Ceremony” which translates to “we all agree on the design so let’s move along”. The small Harley-brand bike is now heading to the factory to begin production.
While the design was approved by the two partners, it wasn’t shared with the media. We have yet to see the look the production version of the bike will have. The renders that were shared suggested the bike will share a frame with the Benelli 302S.
After all, Quianjiang is the same company that oversees the production of the Benelli motorcycles so there are bound to be certain crossovers. In fact, the 338cc twin engine that will power the HD350 is, in fact, a Benelli engine. It was also announced that the 302S would be bumped up to a 350S. Coincidence? I think not.
The specific timeline has yet to be confirmed but a launch on the local market is expected in late 2020 followed by an introduction on the Indian market for 2021. As things currently stand, there is no plan to globalize the model and make it available outside of Asia. That being said, if the American market is open to it, I don’t see why a small-displacement Harley couldn’t be a hit here as well.