American motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson has joined hands with China's Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle to make its new entry-level model. Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle will manufacture the company’s upcoming product, a 338cc motorcycle, and the product will arrive in China by the end of next year. The launch in the Chinese market will be followed by other Asian markets.
Speaking about the new partnership, Matt Levatich, president and chief executive officer, Harley-Davidson, said:
Harley-Davidson has always been about inspiring riders around the world. Our More Roads plan is all about bringing our brand of freedom to more people, in more places, in more ways. We’re excited about this opportunity to build more Harley riders in China, one of the world’s largest motorcycle markets, by creating new pathways to our brand.
This collaboration is part of "More Roads to Harley-Davidson" growth plan. With the new partnership, the American cruiser brand aims to expand access to the Harley-Davidson brand to more riders. The strategy is intended to boost the sales in the new small-displacement along with traditional Harley-Davidson products.
Along with the announcement of the new partnership, Harley-Davidson also released a sketch of the motorcycle. The upcoming product from the American-Chinese collaboration will be a naked roadster style motorcycle. The illustrations reveal various details, such as the engine layout and hardware specifications of the new product.
Do note that Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle also owns Italian two-wheeler brand, Benelli. The Chinese manufacturer most likely plans to use the several parts from the existing 300 cc product from Benelli, the TNT 300, on the new Harley-Davidson branded motorcycle. As seen in the sketches released by the company, the upcoming 338 cc motorcycle will use a trellis frame. The frame and the swingarm look identical to the units that are used on the Benelli TNT 300. The engine design, rear fender, underbelly exhaust, alloy wheel design, asymmetrically mounted rear monoshock and the braking setup, too, look identical to the Italian naked roadster.
The engine, as seen in the sketches, uses a parallel-twin format and it looks nearly identical to the unit on the TNT 300. We believe that Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle may revise the existing motor from the TNT 300 with a revised bore or longer stroke to achieve a relatively higher displacement. The same engine may also power the BS-VI/Euro-V compliant TNT 300 (TNT 350?).
The current 300 cc liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder engine, for reference, produces 38.26 BHP at 11,500 rpm and 26.5 Nm at 10,000 rpm. The motor on the TNT 300 is known to produce a sport exhaust note that almost mimics an inline 4-cylinder engine’s sound. We expect to hear a similar exhaust sound from the upcoming Harley-Davidson product.
Braking department will include twin, petal-type discs at the front and a single disc at the back while the safety net will consist of dual-channel ABS. Shock absorption hardware will consist of upside-down telescopic forks and an asymmetrically mounted monoshock at the front and rear respectively.
While the underpinnings are similar to the Benelli TNT 300, the styling is entirely different. The front fascia features a round headlight with a brushed silver mask. As revealed in the sketches, the upcoming 338 cc Harley-Davidson will use a full LED headlamp. The TNT 300 uses an LED tail lamp and blinkers, and we expect to see the same hardware on the upcoming Harley-Davidson branded product. Do note that other products in the segment such as the KTM 390 Duke and the Honda CB300R, too, use full LED lighting.
The cockpit will most likely feature a single-pod, fully-digital instrument console to display ride related information. Bluetooth integration is catching up, and it will not be entirely incorrect to see the feature on the upcoming Harley-Davidson roadster. A flat, single-piece handlebar will perform the steering tasks while round rear-view mirrors will add a retro touch to the package.
The fuel tank is seen with a dual-tone finish in the sketches, and we expect the final product to retain the design. The brushed silver tank shrouds will add some muscle to the styling. The saddle, as seen in the sketches, is a single-piece step-up unit. Do note that the TNT 300 features a similar seat layout.
Being a roadster style motorcycle, the upcoming 338 cc product from Harley-Davidson will feature upright and city-friendly ergonomics. The footpegs will be relatively rear-set to add a hint of sportiness to the ergonomics.
The upcoming motorcycle, as mentioned above, will first arrive in the Chinese market by the end of 2020. The India launch details are scarce although we expect to see the product in our market in early- or mid-2021. The vehicle will likely be imported via the CKD route and be locally assembled to keep the price competitive.