Chinese motorcycle manufacturers are certainly putting in the hours in elevating their product portfolios. From small-displacement, commuter-focused knockoffs, made-in-China bikes have significantly improved their quality, and have even begun competing in the global segment—for just a handful of manufacturers, that is.
Qianjiang, the Chinese two-wheeler behemoth that distributes motorcycles under the QJ Motor brand in China is reportedly working on a new parallel-twin engine. You may be familiar with Qianjiang as the parent company of Benelli, a company with Italian origins. Incidentally, QJ Motor is also a strategic partner to the likes of MV Agusta and Harley-Davidson. The new parallel-twin engine is now known as QJ288MW, according to patent documents filed by Qianjiang. It is notably different from previously known designs, which had 754cc of displacement in various Benelli models and 693cc in various China-specific versions.
The two-cylinder configuration and design are clearly inspired by the KTM LC8 parallel-twin engine, which is used in many models such as the 790 and 890all of which available in the global market. Now, whether or not the inner workings of the new engine have been cloned from KTM is still unknown. What we do know, however, is that fellow Chinese manufacturer CFMoto currently produces these engines for KTM. In fact, a derivation of the LC8 is found in its newest adventure bike, the 800MT.
All that being said, it's clear that QJ Motor is upping its displacement game in a bid to compete in the highly popular 800cc to 900cc segment, a subcategory that's shaping up to be the new middleweight standard. Previously, 650cc to 700cc machines were considered middleweights. Should this new engine come to power Benelli-branded machines, we could expect to see bikes like a TRK 900, or even a Leoncino 900 launch in time for the 2023 model year.