The Chinese social media is abuzz with the spy shot of the Harley-Davidson 338R, the first ever sub-500 cc Harley-Davidson model, which is specifically meant for emerging markets in Asia. But with Harley's Rewire strategy in play, there may be a possibility, however remote, of the brand axing the model altogether. Unless, Harley is confident that the HD 338R will rake in good numbers for the company. Earlier, the company said that almost 30 per cent of the new models could be axed and the focus will be on traditional, high-volumes models, especially in Western countries. Reports suggest that Harley-Davidson may quit the Indian market as well and if that happens, then of course the HD 338R will not be coming to India.
Coming back to the Harley-Davidson 338R, we earlier told you that it will based on the Benelli 302S. The spyshot reveals that the chassis, brakes, suspension and even the wheels are sourced from the 302S. The 338R lettering at the rear suggests that motorcycle gets a 338 cc capacity. It is likely that H-D combined the bottom-end crankshaft of the Benelli 302 engine and the piston and cylinders of the bigger Benelli 502 twin engine. With a bore of 69 mm and stroke of 45.2 mm, the capacity equals 338 cc, give or take. Expect the power output to be around 42 bhp or so. It does come as a surprise because, Benelli's parent company QuanJiang recently type-approved a new 353 cc engine and it was spotted on the QJ 350-13, complete with 'Harley-Davidson' lettering on the engine cover. We expected the same 353 cc engine on the Harley-Davidson 338R, but nonetheless, it will not make a substantial difference in terms of power and torque output.
The photo of the bike reveals that the model is production ready or very close to being ready for production. The styling is minimalist, with the exposed frame and engine. The grey colour scheme looks good on the Harley-Davidson 338R motorcycle too. Expect the weight of the motorcycle to be around 185 kg, which is also the weight of the Benelli 302S.
Harley-Davidson dealerships in China have already started the promotions of the motorcycle. The original plan was to introduce the model earlier in the year, by say, June or July 2020. But the coming of the Coronavirus pandemic pushed the launch ahead by a few months. Harley-Davidson is likely to launch the motorcycle this year itself, at least in China.