Skip to main content
Tag

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

What We Know About the 2023 Harley-Davidson X350 and X350RA

By General Posts

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

MRF Update: Transportation Funding Unlocked

By General Posts

This week the House and Senate are tackling a self-imposed deadline to pass funding legislation before government departments and agencies run out of money. To avoid a government shutdown, a large omnibus spending bill is being voted on that will fund government operations through the end of September. Importantly for transportation related projects and programs, the omnibus bill unlocks billions of dollars in funding that Washington red tape has delayed.

Lawmakers and transportation officials have been warning for months that full implementation of the $1.5 trillion infrastructure law, which was enacted in November, isn’t possible because government funding is constrained at 2021 levels. So, while the money is actually in the accounts and ready to be spent, transportation agencies are locked out of using a large percentage of the money until this second piece of legislation is enacted.

Only in Washington, D.C. does it take two bills, five months apart, to achieve your policy objectives!

Lawmakers Focus on Tesla
Recently Tesla has come under criticism for its Autopilot and Full-Self Driving (FSD) features, which critics say give the impression to drivers that the vehicles are capable of hands-off operation. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened two investigations into Tesla’s autopilot system and the automaker has launched nearly a dozen recalls in the U.S. Many of those recalls are related to over-the-air updates which allows Tesla to tweak and change its software remotely.

Last month, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter to Tesla seeking answers to a series of questions regarding its technology. Included in the letter were questions regarding safety programming, issues related to phantom braking and driver monitoring capabilities.

Tesla responded to the letter last week saying in part, “Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD Capability features enhance the ability of our customers to drive safer than the average driver in the U.S.,”

Senators Blumenthal and Markey seemed less than impressed with Tesla’s response to their questions. In a joint statement they said Tesla’s response was “just more evasion and deflection from Tesla. Despite its troubling safety track record and deadly crashes, the company seemingly wants to carry on with business as usual.”

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has long been concerned that safety standards for self-driving and autonomous vehicle technology are inadequate. All motorcyclists should remember that these vehicles are on our roadways right now. Remain vigilant while riding, as the operators and perhaps even the manufacturers are not fully aware of what this technology can and cannot do.

To read the initial letter sent to Tesla click here.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.
Visit Website at: http://mrf.org

National Roadway Safety Strategy Announced

By General Posts

Thursday afternoon, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced a new national road safety campaign. The plan, known as the “National Roadway Safety Strategy,” comes in response to increased year over year fatalities on our nation’s roadways. In 2020, an estimated 38,680 people died as a result of a motor vehicle crash. Of those, approximately 9% were motorcyclists’ fatalities.

What is most alarming about the increase in fatalities, is that the total number of miles traveled on our roads decreased during the pandemic. Americans traveled 13.2% less miles in 2020 than we did in 2019, but we saw a 7.2% increase in deaths.

The preliminary numbers for the first 6 months of 2021 are also troublesome. From January through the end of June 2021 an estimated 20,160 people died in crashes. That is the largest number of projected deaths in that time frame since 2006.

To combat this trend the plan outlines five key objectives:

  • Safer People: Encourage safe, responsible behavior by people who use our roads and create conditions that prioritize their ability to reach their destination unharmed.
  • Safer Roads: Design roadway environments to mitigate human mistakes and account for injury tolerances, to encourage safer behaviors, and to facilitate safe travel by the most users.
  • Safer Vehicles: Expand the availability of vehicle systems and features that help to prevent crashes and minimize the impact of crashes on both occupants and non-occupants.
  • Safer Speeds: Promote safer speeds in all roadway environments through a combination of thoughtful, context-appropriate roadway design, targeted education, and outreach campaigns, and enforcement.
  • Post-Crash Care: Enhance the survivability of crashes through expedient access to emergency medical care, while creating a safe working environment for vital first responders and preventing secondary crashes through robust traffic incident management practices.

The recently passed infrastructure bill has components and funding to help achieve some of these goals. For example, $14 billion in new funding was specifically allocated for road safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also announced plans this week to increase the data it collects on crashes. The agency wants to boost the number of crashes investigated and add additional studies that examine crashes involving medium-duty trucks, pedestrians, and workers who are hit on the road.

We at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation are encouraged to see that the U.S. Department of Transportation is taking a complete view of traffic safety, incorporating multiple factors to make our roadways safer. We also remain committed to the theory of crash avoidance, as a crash that doesn’t happen is always safer than one that does.

To get more detail and read the 41 page report click here.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.
See website at: http://mrf.org/

MRF update: Highway Bill Passes – a Year Late

By General Posts

November 5, 2021

Highway Bill Passes… a Year Late

After a 13-month delay and enactment of three separate extensions, Congress finally passed a surface transportation reauthorization bill. This bill, sometimes called the highway bill or the infrastructure bill, has been a hotly debated topic in D.C. for several years. Once signed by the President, the bill will reauthorize many highway programs, provide funding for road and bridge construction and replace the previous highway bill passed in 2015, known as the FAST Act.

Just a week ago, Congress gave itself a third extension running into December. Yet election victories by Republican candidates, especially a win by the GOP in the Virginia governor’s race, seems to have spooked Democrats, and motivated passage of a bill that has been awaiting a vote since the summer.

For the last two years, the House of Representatives and Senate have battled over transportation priorities and funding levels. In both 2020 and 2021, the House of Representatives passed versions of their highway bill, only to be rebuffed by the Senate. Under pressure from President Biden, the Senate finally acted, passing in August a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. This action by the Senate, effectively forced the House to accept the Senate version of the bill or continue to pass short term extensions of current law.

However, pressure from the left wing of the Democratic party delayed a vote on the Senate’s infrastructure bill until an unconnected piece of legislation, referred to as the “human infrastructure bill,” was agreed to. That bill, called “Build Back Better,” had an original price tag of $3.5 trillion and effectively held the infrastructure bill hostage. After months of debate, and Tuesday’s election results, House Democrats agreed to vote on a smaller Build Back Better bill later in the month, opening the door to a final vote on the infrastructure bill.

At 11:27pm Friday night, the House agreed to the Senate’s bill and passed a $1.2 trillion 5-year highway bill, known as the INVEST ACT. The final vote in the House was 228 to 206, with 13 Republicans voting in favor and 6 Democrats voting against.

BENEFITS TO BIKERS

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.

Visit MRF Website at: https://mrf.org/

NHTSA Report on Tesla Crashes

By General Posts

MRF Flash Alert – Tesla Crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wrote, in a document released Monday, that it has identified 11 crashes since 2018 in which a Tesla vehicle using the company’s driver assistance system, struck one or more vehicles involved in an emergency response situation. Four of those crashes occurred in 2021.

NHTSA now plans on studying the Advanced Driver Assistance System, otherwise known as “autopilot,” in the nearly 765,000 Tesla vehicles produced between 2014 and 2021.

For several years, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), in cooperation with our state motorcyclist rights partners, have warned of the need for increased oversight of this new technology. Allowing vehicles to be deployed on our nation’s roadways, that cannot adequately detect and respond to all roadway users, is dangerous. Regulators and auto manufacturers should work together to ensure tragic crashes, like the ones found in this report, never happen again.

To read the brief report from NHTSA on the Tesla crashes click here.

About MRF: http://mrf.org

Harley-Davidson recalls over 31,000 motorcycles

By General Posts

by Rich Kirchen from https://www.bizjournals.com

Harley-Davidson voluntarily recalls over 31,000 motorcycles over potential headlamp failure

Harley-Davidson Motor Co. said it is voluntarily conducting a safety recall involving the headlamp shields on certain model year 2019 through 2021 Sportster models.

The recall includes over 31,000 Harley-Davidson Sportsters on which the headlights could fail, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents reported on autoblog.com. The recall also includes fewer than 1,000 headlight assemblies possibly sold as replacement parts on the Sportster from 2005 to 2019, the Softail and Dyna from 2005 to 2017 and the V-Rod from 2005 to 2011.

“This is a voluntary recall announced by Harley-Davidson in the interest of our customers’ safety and satisfaction with our motorcycles,” a Harley-Davidson spokesperson told the Milwaukee Business Journal Wednesday via email. “The service will be performed at no cost to customers.”

Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) said it will begin notifying customers on or about Wednesday. Customers with the motorcycles should contact an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer to schedule an appointment for the service, the company said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents reviewed by autoblog.com state that the headlight assembly on the vehicles has a shield over the headlight bulb. That bulb shield can cause the bulb itself to get hot in the wrong areas and potentially develop a hole and burn out the filaments inside, making the light useless.

There have been no reports of crashes or injuries related to this issue, according to NHTSA documents.

The entire motorcycle isn’t being recalled; it is the headlamp shield that is actually being voluntarily recalled, the company spokesperson said.

The company’s solution involves replacing the shield in these headlight assemblies to ensure the issue doesn’t come up, autoblog.com said.