Harley-Davidson announced in June that its smallest, most affordable motorcycle would be powered by a 338cc engine, and now we've got the news that it is finally set to go in production soon. The American manufacturer has teamed up with China's Qianjang Motorcycle for the production of the baby Harley and according to a Bennetts report, representatives of both companies have publicly signed on a new design. Back in June, come sketches were also released giving a glimpse of what to expect from the design and now we hear that the bike will likely be called HD350 as the baby Harley was referred to as the HD350 Project during the signing ceremony.
Qianjiang is also the manufacturer of Benelli motorcycles in China and hence, it is likely the smallest Harley-Davidson ever may come powered by a Benelli parallel twin. Harley announced the 338cc engine capacity earlier this year, suggesting that the bike uses the 45.2mm stroke from the 300cc Benelli 302S and the larger 69mm bore from Benelli’s larger 500cc twin, as used in the TRK 502 and Leoncino 500.
It has also become known that Benelli 302S will be replaced with a 350S with which the Harley could share its engine with.
In fact, the sketches of the possibly called HD350 do show some resemblance to the Benelli 302S with an identical trellis frame. Benelli is a subsidiary of Qianjiang so the little Harley could share more components with the Italian-born motorcycles.
The design has been approved by Harley and Qianjiang but the media hasn't seen the final sketch yet. Expect a Harley-Davidson roadster with a hint of Benelli in the design. The specific timeline has yet to be confirmed but a launch on the local market is expected in late 2020 followed by an introduction in the Indian market in 2021. Currently, the most affordable Harley in India is the Street 750 which retails at Rs 5.34 lakh (ex-showroom). The new HD350 will be more affordable considerably at about Rs 3-3.5 lakh.
As things currently stand, there is no plan to globalise the model and make it available outside of Asia. However, considering that Harley-Davidson's sales have been affected negatively in the US owing also to reasons like affordability for younger buyers, so we don't see why a small displacement Harley won't work in its home market as well.