It has been almost three years since the iconic American bikemaker Harley-Davidson announced that it is getting in bed with Qinjiang – a Chinese motorcycle company otherwise renowned for parenting modern-day Benelli. Three years have gone by and yet, there seems to be no production-spec motorcycle visible on the horizon. Blame it on the pandemic or Harley rethinking its strategies, the proposed 353cc Harley is still yet to see the light of the day. However, a new set of spy shots has been dropped by a little birdie hailing from our neighbouring country that showcases a new, bigger-than-353cc Harley undergoing what seems to be a dyno test.
If you have eagle eyes, it wouldn’t take a long while to decode the motorcycle it is based on. Virtually every mechanical element of the spied bike is lifted straight off from the Benelli Leoncino 500.
Be it the frame the motorcycle is suspended on, or the 50mm USD fork or the radial brake callipers for that matter, every mechanical aspect hints that it will borrow most of Leoncino 500’s underpinnings. However, the overall styling of the spied motorcycle is undistinguishably Harley. While the Leoncino 500 has scrambler-esque aesthetics, the spied 500cc Harley follows its family’s legacy. The tank is completely redesigned with Bar & Shield badging hinting that this baby Harley is indeed very close to hitting production lines. The rear bodywork is again, designed in a typical Harley fashion with a simple, bobbed fender.
The engine layout reveals that in most probability, this new Harley will be powered by the same 500cc twin used in the Leoncino. It is worth noting here that the Leoncino 500 recently received a minor displacement bump in its home country with the overall cee cees getting juiced up to 549cc. This upward transition has resulted in the overall performance getting spruced up to the 50hp mark while the original recipe is still good enough for 47hp.
Just like the upcoming Harley-Davidson 338R, this bike is very much aimed at the Chinese market with the main ambition to rack up sales. Like or loathe the idea of seeing a Chinese Harley ploughing on our streets but there’s logic to it. We just hope that these upcoming baby Harleys make it to our shores as well.