The journey West begins.
The small cruiser market earned a new contender when Royal Enfield rolled out the Meteor 350 in November, 2020. While the new Enfield is poised to challenge the Honda Rebel 300’s supremacy, China’s Benda Motorcycles fancies a good tussle as well. Parent company Zhejiang Changling Binjiang established Zhejiang Zhongnan Motorcycle in 1994 before rebranding to Benda in 2012.
More recently, the company has presented some very interesting concepts, including a Diavel lookalike with a CBR650-derived engine and a turbocharged 300cc sportbike. Now, the Chinese brand is taking the show West by launching its BD300 Sporty in the Italian market.
Gallery: 2021 Benda BD300 Sporty
Powered by a liquid-cooled, 298cc V-twin, the small-capacity cruiser meets Euro 5 emissions standards. Four valves per cylinder help the BD300 generate 30 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 19.2 lb-ft of torque. The little four-stroke mates to a six-speed gearbox, helping the Benda achieve a 93-mph top speed.
A tubular steel frame cradles that Euro 5-compliant V-twin and six-speed transmission and a USD fork and dual rear shocks suspend the whole package. Benda reports dry weight as 375 pounds, but that figure will go up when the 4-gallon gas tank is topped off. On the styling front, the BD300 favors a classic cruiser silhouette, but a digital gauge and LED lighting modernize the retro character.
Benda will offer the new Sporty in red, gray, and black liveries. Retailing for €5,450 ($6,530 USD), the BD300 comes in at a higher price point than the Honda and Royal Enfield cruisers. However, neither the Meteor 350 nor Rebel 300 can claim 30 horsepower. With all three small-capacity cruisers featuring different strengths, we look forward to the segment heating up in the coming years.