by Dennis Chung from https://www.motorcycle.com
Streetbike for Asia and a Riding Academy bike for the US
Harley-Davidson held its big 120th anniversary reveal last week, and for the most part, the announcement included the bikes we expected, such as the Nightster Special, and the return of the Breakout with a Milwaukee-Eight 117ci engine. What we also expected to come for 2023 but was not included in the announcement were the X350 and X350RA. Still, despite not being part of the big Jan. 18 announcement, we managed to get our hands on some information confirming more details of the Chinese-built models.
The X350 is the product of Harley-Davidson’s partnership with China’s Qianjiang Motors that was first announced in 2019. After some regulatory delays, the QJ-built X350 is finally close to production as a small-displacement model for Asian markets. The X350 and an X350RA variant appeared in Vehicle Information Number data submitted by QJ to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and as we recently reported, Harley-Davidson included the X350RA in its 2023 model year VIN information.
Following the Jan. 18 announcement, Motorcycle.com has secured a copy of the X350RA’s official owner’s manual, plus a single image of the model, with clear proof it is intended for use for Harley-Davidson’s Riding Academy. We’ve also briefly got a look at the official parts catalog, confirming some of the differences between X350 and X350RA.
The image above briefly appeared on Harley-Davidson’s Service Information Portal, showing a roadster with neutral riding ergonomics and, tellingly, bright orange bars bolted on to either side of the radiator.
The owner’s manual includes an illustration of the X350RA from the rider’s perspective, and it offers another view of the radiator guards. The added protection further confirms our suspicions that the “RA” version of the X350 is intended for the Riding Academy.
The owner’s manual further confirms some specifications of the X350RA. The bike is powered by an eight-valve liquid-cooled Parallel-Twin engine displacing 353cc. The engine isn’t entirely new but a larger version of the engine employed by the QJ-built Benelli 302S. The X350’s 45.2 mm stroke is the same as the Benelli’s, but its 70.5 mm cylinder bore is larger than the 302S’ 65.0 mm. The X350’s 11.9:1 compression ratio is just slightly off the 12:1 ratio of the Benelli 302S.
The X350 reportedly claims an output of 36 hp, but the Harley-Davidson VIN information confirms the X350RA will only claim 23 hp. An executive order issued by the California Air Resources Board further confirms that the RA model has been restricted, as it certifies the X350 and X350RA alongside a “derating removed” version of the RA which would presumably offer its full power output.
The owner’s manual further confirms the X350RA will have a circular instrument module with an analog speedometer and a small digital screen displaying mileage, time or engine speed.
The manual provides instructions for adjusting the damping on the inverted fork and rear shock. Also present are ABS and dual petal-shaped disc brakes, which is a bit of a surprise as many of Harley-Davidson’s larger, more powerful models still only use a single front disc brake.
The X350RA runs on 17-inch wheels, front and back. Pirelli supplies its Angel CT tires with a 110/70-17 up front and a 150/60-17 at the rear. From the parts catalog, we can confirm the non-RA model will have larger tires, with a 120/70-17 up front and 160/60-17 at the rear.
According to the owner’s manual, the X350RA claims a running weight of 440 pounds,with its 3.6-gallon fuel tank at 90% capacity. We expect the non-RA model to come in a bit lighter as it lacks the protective bars. The X350RA also has a 55.5-inch wheelbase, 5.6 inches of ground clearance, and a 30-inch seat height.
We don’t expect to have much longer to wait before Harley-Davidson officially announces the X350 and X350RA. While we thought there was a chance it would have been part of the Jan. 18 announcement, we can see how a small-displacement Chinese-manufactured Riding Academy model would stick out in an event focused on Harley-Davidson’s 120th anniversary. Harley-Davidson likely has a coordinated launch plan with Qianjiang for both the X350 and X350RA