Harley-Davidson's off-shore exploits have hardly been a secret to anybody. The all-American icon has decided to get some help from foreign players in a bid to expand in the Asian market, and indeed, we've seen some of the impressive fruits of this partnership in the form of the X350 and X500 unveiled in China. While these bikes were built in partnership with Chinese motorcycle giant Qianjiang, they're not all Harley has brought to the table.
You're probably aware of Harley's partnership with Indian motorcycle manufacturer Hero MotoCorp. For years, the latter has been an extremely popular brand in the Indian market, as well as in neighboring Asian countries. While the brand has focused primarily on small displacement machines designed for commuting, it's embarking on a new category with the cruiser built in partnership with Harley-Davidson. While the new model isn't scheduled for launch until July 4, 2023, Harley-Davidson India has decided to drop teaser images of the new bike.
It's called the X440, and it follows the same naming convention as its Chinese siblings. Right off the bat, it's clear that this bike has followed the sam styling as the models from Qianjiang. Unlike the larger cruisers in Harley's lineup, the X440 is shorter and smaller, with a more aggressive rake angle. This makes it look less like a cruiser and more like a naked bike. To add to this, the mid controls and relatively tall handlebar should make for quite a neutral rider triangle.
In terms of styling, it's clear to see that this bike is still a Harley. It gets a round LED headlight with the Harley-Davidson logo embossed underneath it. The bodywork is minimalist and rounded, albeit contoured in a modern fashion. On top of that, the bike's alloy wheels are clearly modeled after previous iterations of the Sportster, giving the bike an illusion of size.
When it comes to performance, Harley-Davidson India has yet to spill the beans, but judging from the images alone, we can deduce what this powerplant will be. The engine is clearly a single-cylinder unit, thanks to the single exhaust manifold. There are also lots of cooling fins that look like they serve more of a functional purpose than a styling one, so we can assume that this will be an air and oil-cooled mill. As the name suggests, expect a displacement of 440-ish cubes.
Once launched, this bike will surely go up against some of the more established players in the Indian retro bike segment. Royal Enfield's Classic and Meteor 350, as well as the Jawa 42 Bobber, and Benelli Imperiale 400, will all be given a run for their money.