Photos have emerged of the Chinese Qianjiang QJ350, which is believed to serve as the basis for Harley-Davidson’s planned low-capacity twin.
Harley-Davidson announced its partnership with bike manufacturing giant Qianjiang last year to develop an entry-level model for Asian markets.
Qianjiang is the owner of Benelli, and the new platform seen here is expected to also materialise as a Benelli-branded model, most likely the successor to its 302S naked bike.
Images from the Chinese patent office confirm that the QJ350 is designed for Harley-Davidson, showing the words ‘Harley-Davidson Motor Company’ on the left-hand engine cover.
Reports suggest that the baby Harley, codenamed HD350, will use a 353cc parallel-twin that produces 36hp, while the bike is said to weigh in at 176 kilograms (wet).
The new platform will surely be released in Benelli and Qianjiang forms, in their respective markets, however, recent developments at Harley-Davidson has put a question mark over the new model.
Harley-Davidson’s previous boss Matt Levatich developed plans to reach new international segments, and to gain more customers in developing markets with the HD350.
However, Levatich’s replacement Jochen Zeitz has pulled back plans for new product as the company faces difficult times.
Last week, Mr Zeitz updated his turnaround strategy after the company recorded a $US92 million net loss in the second quarter of 2020.
Zeitz had already implemented his ‘Rewire’ campaign in an attempt to save the struggling business, however, Zeitz followed up with his new ‘Hardwire’ strategy, which will see more extreme measures put in place.
Among other changes, Harley-Davidson is expected to reduce its line-up by 30 per cent, and delay the launch of segment-breaking new models like the Pan America adventure bike and Bronx streetfighter.
Spencer has a keen eye for hard news, and does some of his best living on deadline day. He loves more than anything to travel on his motorcycle, and is adamant that Melbourne Bitter is a world-class lager. He also knows how to operate the big computery thing in the office. By night, Spencer plays guitar with Melbourne punk outfit LOUTS.