Is Harley’s New Small-Displacement China-Bound Motorcycle a Parts Bin Benelli?
Not a Rebadge Job, but Close
At this point, most folks have heard that Harley-Davidson will focus on the Chinese market to kick off its quest of growing sales in Asia. To help Harley do that, the company will team up with Qianjiang Motorcycle Company. That company owns the brand Benelli. So, is the new Harley motorcycle just a rebadged Benelli motorcycle? Well, according to Asphalt & Rubber, not exactly.
The publication took a closer look at the Benelli motorcycle lineup and at the design sketches from Harley for its upcoming China-only model. The Benelli 302 S has many of the same lines as the upcoming Harley motorcycle appears to. With that said, there are some significant changes to make the motorcycle look more Harley-like.
Then there’s the 338cc engine. As Asphalt & Rubber points out, that’s a kind of random displacement to arrive at. The publication noted that the decision was likely made to make an engine of that size due to the parts available from the Benelli parts bin. You can take the bore and some other parts from the Benelli TRK 502 and the crankshaft from the Tornado 302, and you’ll end up at 338cc.
Now, it’s important to point out that Harley has not confirmed this. The company would never admit that the Harley motorcycle is just a mashup of parts pulled from different Benelli bikes. It really doesn’t matter, though. What will matter is the price and how the bike rides. If it turns out to be a good motorcycle at a reasonable price, then it could be a hit.