Harley-Davidson has officially signed off on the plans for its new made-in-China 350, meaning you can expect production to start soon.
Announced back in June, the Chinese-manufactured bike is Harley-Davidson’s way of manufacturing an inexpensive motorcycle for overseas markets (so far, we haven’t been told it’s going to be available in North America). It’s going to be manufactured by Qianjang (sometimes spelled Chang Jiang), a company with many years of experience building motorcycles. Qianjang already builds the Benelli 302, and it’s expected the Harley-Davidson will be very similar—a liquid-cooled 300-class parallel twin engine in a naked roadster-style package, with steel trellis frame.
However, we’ve seen no confirmation of that. For now, Harley-Davidson is playing its cards very close to the vest, with no spy shots or other sneaky peeks at the new machine ahead of its launch. All we’ve got is the original visual rendering, and no guarantee that that’s what the finished product will look like. However, it’s worth noting that rendering shows a bike that’s obviously based on the Benelli 302.
Harley-Davidson hasn’t even officially named the machine yet, simply calling it the HD350 Project. And, we’ve seen no pricing indication, nor any real specs.
When the machines are ready for sale, they’ll be available in China first, then other Asian markets. This should all happen very quickly, if it’s Benelli-based; we’d be surprised if it wasn’t in showrooms by mid-winter. The major potential hang-up is issues with production quality. Harley-Davidson says it will oversee this machine’s production just as carefully as its other models, which could mean delays if there are quality control issues that need to be corrected.