Harley-Davidson exploits in the Asian market have been making headlines in recent months. The brand’s partnership with Hero MotoCorp in India has given birth to the X440, a small displacement, single-cylinder model that makes the brand accessible to a wider audience. Meanwhile, over in China, the MoCo has joined forces with prominent manufacturer QJ Motor.
Harley-Davidson and QJ Motor have been working together for quite some time to co-develop a small-displacement range of motorcycles. This came into fruition with the launch of the X350 and X500, two models that are based heavily on existing models in the QJ Motor/ Benelli roster. Up until now, the two small and mid-sized roadsters have been available exclusively in China, with an Australian launch scheduled before the end of 2023. That said, the next country these two bikes will be made available is Japan, where they’re expected to hit the market in October, 2023.
Harley-Davidson ascertains that the X350 and X500 were created as part of the brand’s global strategy. Clearly differentiated from the brand’s models in its home market, the two bikes have engines much smaller by comparison, and ditch the brand’s renowned cruiser styling for a much more standard and naked bike design. Indeed, the X350 bears a lot in common with the Benelli 302S, while the X500 is essentially a restyled Benelli Leoncino 500 – both of which are models produced by QJ Motor in China.
In terms of performance and technology, the Harley-Davidson X350 is powered by a 353cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin engine. The motor is tuned to churn out a claimed 36 horsepower at 9,500 rpm, and 23 pound-feet (31 Newton-meters) of torque at 7,000 rpm. Power is sent to the rear wheel via a six-speed manual gearbox. Meanwhile, the X500 delivers a little extra oomph with a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin engine displacing 500 cubes. It pumps out 47 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 33.9 pound-feet (46 Newton-meters) of torque at 6,000 rpm.
Pricing and availability information about the two new bikes for the Japanese market have yet to be announced, although the bikes are expected to officially launch by October, 2023. We’ll be sure to provide an update once pricing information for the new models becomes available.