You may not be familiar with QJ Motor as a brand, but you may be familiar with Benelli and MV Agusta, two firms with which the Chinese manufacturer has formed strategic partnerships. In fact, QJ Motor owns Benelli, and the Chinese company produces all of the Italian brand's motorcycles in-house.
Now, all that being said, we previously talked about QJ Motor’s GS400RR sportbike. Well, it seems that the Chinese company is making some progress, at least with the engine. In a report published by Cycle World, the company recently submitted a set of approval documents for road-going vehicles in China, with a model dubbed the BJ400J, a 400cc-equipped sport-tourer meant for use in the local police force. What’s interesting is that the BJ400J is an evolution of one of Benelli’s Chinese models which shares the same architecture as the 302S, a naked bike available all over the world.
So, what exactly does this mean? Well, Cycle World certainly thinks that this could mean that Benelli’s 302 range of bikes is due for an upgrade—and we certainly agree. With all the major manufacturers gradually upping their displacements, it won’t be surprising if Benelli does the same. We previously mentioned that the GS400RR sportbike could be expected to feature similar performance as the Kawasaki Ninja 400. Well, Cycle World’s story certainly seems to agree with that, as the 302S’ current engine pumps out a respectable 37.5 horsepower. Should displacement be increased as speculated, we’re probably looking at somewhere between 45 to 50 ponies.
What’s even more interesting is the way Benelli’s parallel-twin engines are configured. After doing some digging, I found out that they make use of a zero-degree, or 360-degree crankshaft, meaning both pistons move up and down at the same time. This translates to the mechanical stability of a big single, but with lots of torque from the bottom to mid rev range. Furthermore, it gives the engine a rather unique sound—almost like that of a standard flat-plane crankshaft inline-four.
Needless to say, should Benelli updated the 302S into a “402S” as speculated, it’ll certainly put it in a better place to compete with the likes of Kawasaki, KTM, and CFMoto, all over the world. Launching additional models such as the aforementioned GS400RR couldn’t hurt, too, especially given how popular these small-displacement, beginner-friendly sportbikes are, especially in Europe and Asia.