Amidst speculation and chatter about Harley-Davidson's latest Chinese-built roadsters, the X 350 and X 500, the MoCo has finally put all rumors to rest and pulled the covers off the 2023 X 350 in China. It goes without saying that the X 350 is a bike that marks a new milestone for Harley's history. It's their inaugural foray into the sub-500cc segment in the modern era and the first two-wheeler to be crafted by their Chinese partner, QJ Motor.
Behold the X 350, the latest roadster from Harley-Davidson, and the first in collaboration with Chinese motorcycle giant QJ Motor. The bike combines modern and classic elements, with its all-LED headlight and indicators, and alloy wheels lending a contemporary touch. The retro flair is embodied by the round instrument console, mirrors, and headlight shape, while the aerodynamic and brawny radiator shrouds, as well as the flat-track-inspired tail section, exude a distinctive charm. Interestingly, unlike Harley's traditional cruisers, the X 350 is entirely devoid of chrome, further adding to its unconventional, surprisingly sporty appeal.
The X 350 is quite different from the typical Harley motorcycles when it comes to how it feels and rides. You can't really call it a cruiser because it has mid-controls, a low handlebar, and a tall 32-inch seat height that puts the rider in a more neutral position instead of the usual foot-forward, laid-back posture. When you hop on, you'll see a basic digital-analog instrument cluster that reflects the fact that this bike was designed with a budget in mind.
The X 350 is powered by a 353cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine borrowed from previous models in QJ Motor's lineup. Its engine produces 36 horsepower and 22.8 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox with a chain drive. This is another departure from Harley's standard belt-driven systems. The bike also has a 13.5-liter fuel tank, which should provide enough range between fill-ups.
Exclusive to China as of this writing, the X 350 costs roughly $4,793, which is much less than the price of comparable bikes in the 300 to 400cc category. Meanwhile, the X 500, which is expected to be based on the Benelli Leoncino, seems like a better fit for the beginner segment in the U.S. market. For now, however, we'll have to wait for Harley-Davidson to pull the covers off this bike. Per usual, we can expect it to first be released in China, followed by surrounding Asian markets, prior to being sold in the U.S. and Europe.