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The anticipation surrounding the introduction of Harley-Davidson's compact motorcycles, developed in collaboration with the Chinese company Qianjiang Motor (QJ), in the New Zealand market has been put to rest. It has now been confirmed that the Harley-Davidson X350 and X500 models will officially be launched and offered for sale through New Zealand dealerships starting from December 2023.
Nigel Keough, the Managing Director for Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand, expressed that the Harley-Davidson X350 and X500 are innovative additions to the existing lineup, designed as new tools for exploration tailored to effortlessly navigate city landscapes. He emphasized that these motorcycle models are especially crafted for adventure-seeking riders, both those new to the brand and existing enthusiasts, who prioritize a blend of style, performance, and accessibility.
Harley-Davidson encountered challenges in the New Zealand market following the discontinuation of the Street 500 model, which led to the brand's absence in the popular LAMS market. The Street 500 had gained popularity among learner motorcyclists as it allowed them to undergo licensing and then resell the bike for a price close to their initial investment when they were ready for an upgrade.
Recognizing the significance of the entry-level motorcycle category outside of its domestic market, Harley-Davidson joined forces with the Chinese company QJ to develop two new entry-level motorcycles, namely the X350 and X500. These motorcycles exhibit design influences from the established Benelli TNT300 and Leoncino 500 models while incorporating distinct Harley-Davidson design elements. This partnership aimed to ensure reliability, leveraging the positive global reception of the Benelli motorcycles.
As a departure from the expected V-twin engines commonly associated with the Harley-Davidson brand, the X350 and X500 models sport parallel-twin engines. This design choice was influenced by the need to maintain a competitive price point (starting at $9,495 for the X350) while also meeting stringent emissions standards and engaging in the fiercely competitive compact motorcycle market.
Harley-Davidson's efforts to infuse the new models with their distinctive brand characteristics are evident in both styling and performance enhancements present in the X350 and X500, distinguishing them from their Benelli counterparts.
The X350 boasts a larger engine capacity compared to the Benelli counterpart, housing a 353cc DOHC 4-valve liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine engineered to deliver robust mid-range torque. This powerplant is coupled with a six-speed transmission.
Similarly, the X500 showcases a 500cc DOHC 4-valve parallel-twin engine that has been optimized for mid-range performance.
In a departure from traditional Harley-Davidson offerings, the X series motorcycles fit squarely into the naked bike category, characterized by upright ergonomics, 17-inch wheels, and seat heights surpassing 800mm.
Both models feature steel frames, with the X350 featuring an eye-catching trellis frame design that contrasts with the more subdued frame of its larger sibling, the X500. However, some critics have noted that the X500 seems to exhibit design elements that resemble badge engineering.
The Harley-Davidson X350 will be accessible through authorized dealerships in New Zealand starting from December, with a starting Ride Away Price of $9,495. Color options for this model include Vivid Black, Baja Orange, Atlas Silver Metallic, and White Pearl. On the other hand, the Harley-Davidson X500 will be offered at a starting Ride Away Price of $12,750, and it will also be available in Vivid Black, Baja Orange, Atlas Silver Metallic, and White Pearl color options.
#Harley #HD #X350 X500