Harley and Qianjiang Motors have been working together on the Harley-Davidson 338R and 500R, two twin motorcycles that promise to please all speed lovers on two wheels.
Qianjiang is a Chinese company that makes a lot of motorcycles. It owns the Benelli and QJMotor brands and has been putting out new models at an amazing rate over the past few years. It is now launching in European markets.
Now that the Harley-Davidson 338R and 500R are already being made in large numbers, this joint effort should lead to good things.
The Harley-Davidson 338R, which is the smallest bike, uses a parallel-twin engine that is also used in the Benelli 302S and the 350cc and 400cc bikes made by QJMotor.
It is also very similar to the twin engine that powers the 500cc Benelli Leoncino and TRK502, as well as the 550cc MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 5.5.
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In fact, the original 338cc capacity for the Harley can be reached by combining the short stroke of the 300cc version with the big bore of the 500cc version. The engine on the Harley-Davidson 338R is bolted to the same trellis frame as the Benelli 302S and the QJMotor SRK350 and SRK400. The chassis of the Harley-Davidson 500R is the same as that of the Benelli Leoncino 500 and the QJMotor SRV550. The 500R has never been officially announced, but pictures of it in its finished form have been taken during dyno testing in China.
Harley-Davidson has kept quiet about the project for the past two years, but every one of its financial reports has said that the partnership with Qianjiang is still going on and that the company wants to “develop and maintain a productive relationship with Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle Co., Ltd. and release related products in a timely manner.”
Now, it looks like red tape was at least partly to blame for the project’s delay. In 2021, Harley and Qianjiang started a company together called Zhejiang Jisheng Motor Vehicle Co., Ltd. The company’s main goal was to make the small-capacity Harley models, but it wasn’t allowed to make motorcycles until now. With that permit in hand, it looks like there aren’t many things stopping the project from moving forward and small Harleys from being made in China.
You might have thought that these kinds of machines would only be sold in Asia, but there are signs that Harley’s small mods might be sold in more places in the future. Not only do Qianjiang’s machines meet international emission standards, which makes them good for sale all over the world, but the company has also filed paperwork with the NHTSA in the United States (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). to explain how your Vehicle Identification Numbers are made up (VIN). In that filing, he gave an example VIN that started with “1HD”, which is the Worldwide Manufacturer Identification Code for Harley-Davidson.
The same document said that the bike’s engine would be the 353cc twin-cylinder engine that is already used in several QJMotor models, not the 338cc engine that Harley-Davidson had planned. However, details like this could have changed in the three years since the project was first announced.
When it comes to how the bike looks, there’s no doubt about how it will look. Harley-Davidson released sketches of the project when it was announced in 2019, and there have also been design records for the Harley-Davidson 338R that show detailed line drawings of the bike from all sides. They confirm that the Benelli/QJMotor frame and engine are inside a body that is unique to the Harley project and has flat-tracker touches like a big round headlight. Even though there hasn’t been a design record for the 500R yet, spy photos show that its styling is more traditional and cruiser-like.
If the American brand used the same approach as BMW or KTM, these small models could be sold not only in Asia but also in the West. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they come this way.