For decades, inline-four mills ruled the sportbike world. More recently, parallel-twin powerplants have become the weapon of choice due to their tractable yet potent power delivery. From the Ninja 400 to the Aprilia RS 660 to Yamaha’s new YZF-R7, twins are shaping today’s sportbike market.
That fact isn’t lost on QJ Motors, as the Chinese manufacture prepares to unleash its own 550cc sportbike in the coming months. The upcoming motorcycle has already been spotted on the road with street-legal equipment such as indicators, mirrors, and a license hanger. For that reason, many speculate that QJ Motors’ sister brand, Benelli, could offer a similar model for the European market in the near future.
Under the Zhejiang Qianjiang umbrella, QJ Motors and Benelli platforms already share frames and engines. Those borrowing ways continue with the new Supersport 550. Benelli lends its Leoncino 500 frame and side-mounted rear shock to the middleweight sportbike, but QJ Motors opts for an alloy swingarm in lieu of the tubular steel unit. KYB suspension and Brembo brakes commonly found on QJ Motors and Benellis also make an appearance on the 550 twin.
Its updated mill also resembles the Leoncino’s engine architecture as well, hinting that the Chinese firm bumped the volume to 550cc for additional performance. If Benelli does adopt its stablemate's new platform, many expect that its version to boast the same capacity. On top of QJ Motors’ sportbike ambitions, the brand is developing a retro naked model of its own.
Unlike the current Leoncino, however, the new throwback model would share the same premium parts with its Supersport 550. If that’s the case, we could see Benelli upgrade its componentry as well. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for Benelli and QJ Motors to confirm the details of all future models, but it is exciting to see more manufacturers producing parallel-twin sportbikes to meet the current demand.