A Harley engine without the 'potato-potato' note: blasphemy or welcome respite?
A Harley engine without the 'potato-potato' note: blasphemy or welcome respite? Harley-Davidson 338R

Harley-Davidson 338R spotted in pre-production guise

The parallel-twin engined Harley, a first from the brand, has been built in alliance with Chinese firm Zhejiang Qianjiang

There has been quite a bit of hoopla regarding Harley-Davidson’s smallest-capacity (yet) model, which the US-based brand conceived for a greater foothold in the Asian markets. To that end, Harley-Davidson collaborated with Chinese brand Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycles, which also owns Benelli. Now, we’ve already spoken of how the resultant product would be based (visually) on the Benelli 302S. And now, courtesy an enthusiastic Chinese snapper, we finally know what the finished product will look like!

Though the initial rumours had hinted at a 350cc bike, what we see here is the Harley-Davidson 338R. It uses what is essentially the frame, suspension and wheels from a Benelli 302S but sports revised bodywork (as shared by Harley in the past) along with a reworked engine. This is because the engineers at Benelli have combined the bottom end and crankshaft of the 302R with the pistons and cylinders of the 502, which has led to the 338cc final displacement.

The 338R closely resembles the initial sketch released by Harley-Davidson
The 338R closely resembles the initial sketch released by Harley-DavidsonHarley-Davidson 338R

This growth in capacity will undoubtedly lead to a bump up in performance as well. While the Benelli 302R made 37.7bhp and 26.5Nm, we expect about 41-42bhp and about 30Nm from the 338R. These figures, from a near 175kg bike, mean the Harley-Davidson 338R will slot in, performance-wise, at a step above the TVS Apache RR310 (and its BMW-badged sibling) and might even be a worthy contender to the likes of the KTM 390 Duke, when (or if) it gets to our shores.

Now, this sneak peek is the only bit of info we have about the Harley-Davidson 338R (it has yet to be launched in China, Qianjiang’s home market). However, keeping in mind the rumours of Harley-Davidson mulling a partial rollback of its Indian operations, chances of this bike making it to India are highly unlikely.

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