You could say that European motorcycles are kinda weird. This is largely due to the strict licensing rules in the area, wherein young riders aren’t allowed to hop onto powerful machines like people in the U.S. are allowed to. I mean, if you think about it, it makes sense from a safety standpoint. Having said that, manufacturers have to come up with ways to make motorcycling enticing for young riders, despite taking speed out of the equation.
The result? A plethora of weird and wonderful motorcycles you probably never even thought existed. Sure, naked bikes and sportbikes with tiny 125cc engines have been around for many years now. But 125cc adventure bikes, and even cruisers, are now a thing. The coolest part? Some 125cc cruisers have tiny V-twin engines. Yes, manufacturers are actually making 125cc V-twins to mimic the sound and engine characteristics of bikes with ten times the displacement.
Granted, a tiny 125cc twin-cylinder engine isn’t exactly a novel concept, as Japanese manufactures such as Honda and Yamaha made 125cc V-twin-engined bikes like like the VT 125 Shadow and XV 125 Virago respectively. However, these bikes ceased existing in the mid-2000s. Now, small-displacement V-twins are back, and they’re from none other than China. Coming from two Chinese manufacturers—Benda and Keeway—are two new V-twin powered cruisers aimed squarely at first-timers: the Benda Fox and Keeway V-Cruise.
Interestingly, these two bikes seem to have nearly identical underpinnings. Their bodywork is the same, the frame and laid-back ergonomics are, too. Most importantly, the engine seems to be the same, as well. The only difference seems to be the fact that the Benda is available in Spain and Portugal, while the Keeway is available in Italy. It’s worth noting, however, that these two companies aren’t under the same umbrella. Benda is a brand of Zhejiang Changling Benjuan Locomotive Company, while Keeway, a brand you’re probably more familiar with, is under the Qinajiang group, which is also the parent company of Benelli and QJ Motor.
It isn’t at all unlikely, however, that the two companies have come to some sort of agreement to distribute the same model in different parts of Europe. Regardless, it looks like this pint-sized, V-twin-powered cruiser is destined to make its way to other parts of Europe, too. As for specifics, the engine is a 125cc unit, which means it has approximately 62.5cc of displacement per cylinder. Needlessly complex? Sure. However, it’s a deisgn that’ll provide young riders a close-to-authentic riding experience.
Performance-wise, the engine churns out 14 horsepower and 10 ft-lbs of torque—right at the limit of A1 and equivalent licensing requirements. Furthermore, the cruisers are equipped with a belt final drive, further adding to their American-inspired styling.