Bike-scooters/ First-drive/ Harley Davidson X440 | First Ride Review | Ground Breaking or Breaking Traditions?

Harley Davidson X440 | First Ride Review | Ground Breaking or Breaking Traditions?

Ground Breaking or Breaking Traditions?

For

Torque, torque and torque!
Agile Handling and Exhaust Note

Against

Should Have Looked and Felt More Special

Exterior

Looks, umm, that could kill?

Certainly not. Harleys have always been flamboyant. They have been all about making a statement, gilded in either shiny chrome or completely murdered out. At the cost of spilling the beans way before than I intended to, the X440 doesn’t pass off as a true-blue Harley. To give you some more context, the X440 does  resemble the XR1200 from certain angles, especially the shape of the fuel tank will instantly remind you of the XR series. Even its front fascia looks good with a round LED headlamp, round indicators and chunky USD forks but when you zoom out a little, and when the other half of the motorcycle starts coming into the picture, the X440 starts looking a little disproportionate. Even though the latest motorcycles from Hero Motocorp’s stable do look aesthetic, I believe the rear end of the X440 was Hero’s doing. Don’t consider it as a ‘critical evaluation’ and pass it off as a mere jab.

In terms of overall fit and finish of the motorcycle, the X440 might justify its sticker price by a fair margin but it should’ve felt a bit more special to do justice to the Harley badge it carries on its fuel tank. The switchgear quality feels  built to last but more attention should have been given to paint quality on the trellis frame. However, in terms of features, it wouldn’t be an overstatement if I say that the X440 has knocked it out of the park. Apart from auto-illuminating LED headlamp, it gets an all-digital instrument cluster which comes loaded to the brim with information. The X440 can be had in three variants with all of them receiving TFT instrument cluster with Bluetooth-connectivity. Apart from the usual connected features, the X440 also comes with navigation, music playback, mobile battery indicator and provision to end/receive calls.

Goes like a Harley

So far in this review, you must have already formed a negative image about the H-D X440, just like every other couch potato on the internet with a completely functioning keyboard and a half-functioning head. Imagine me taking a needle in my hand bursting that little bubble of delusion because the H-D X440 does ride like a Harley. It is powered by an entirely-new 440cc single-cylinder, air/oil-cooled engine with a very basic architecture. It all comes together as soon as you fire the motorcycle up as the rather gawdy-looking exhaust lets out a deep rumble. Not exactly similar to the traditional V-twin rumble but close. And that’s saying something because at the end of the day, it is just a single-cylinder pumping the affairs. I used to believe that the Chinese two-wheeler industry has the best sound engineers but it seems like we also have some of the best at our very own Jaipur, at Hero’s CIT facility. However out of place the exhaust might look, it is a proper thumper with a deep rumble. It wouldn’t be wrong if we say that in terms of outright acoustics, the X440 has the best chorus trapped in its exhaust, under 3 Lakh.

Another typical Harley trait which Hero Motocorp and Harley-Davidson have gotten bang on is how the engine behaves. Harleys have always been renowned for their tarmac-tearing torque, allowing the motorcycle to pull even a freaking freight train. The X440’s engine puts down 27PS but it is not the talking point here. The major star of the show is the 38NM on offer, 80% of which can be tapped as low as 2000rpm. And the motor? It redlines at 6.5k rpm, another typical Harley trait. But this is all about the mere numbers. So how does it translate to real life riding experience? It pulls right from the word go!

As soon as you dump the clutch and feed the engine with some revs, it becomes apparent that this motorcycle’s engine is all about low and mid range grunt and there’s ample of it! It becomes addictive to keep the motorcycle in the mid range and just cruise through. And by its segment’s standards, it is fast too as it crosses the 100kmph mark with effortlessly and goes on to register a top speed north of 135kmph. Not bad for a single-cylinder thumper. One can comfortably cruise at 115km/h all day long. Another thing which remind you of Harleys is the gearing. The X440 breaches past 125km/h in fifth gear itself so the sixth gear is basically overdrive, strictly limited to just cruising on the highway. What is also worth praising is the refinement on offer because X440’s engine is one refined unit as vibrations only creep in after you cross 5k rpm and even after that, they wouldn’t spoil your fun.



TopGear Magazine July 2024