Some time ago H-D offered a couple of learner bikes in its Street 500 and 750. Now it returns to the novice area with new X350 and X500 models. The extra good news is that for the first time ever, a new Harley will be available locally that costs under $10,000, the X350 with a ride-away price of $9495. That’s in black, orange, silver or white. The 500 sells for $12,750 ride away and is available in the same colours. Both are made by QJ Motor, Harley’s Chinese production partner.
Celebrating 120 years of H-D existence, the new urban machines are designed for the joy of riding and aim to be comfortable first and foremost. Both are also LAMS legal.
The ergonomics put the rider in an easy-going upright riding position while suspension is tuned for compliant progress over rough roads. Components front and rear are adjustable, the former for rebound, the latter for preload and rebound. The seat is wide and padded for distance riding.
Designed in Milwaukee, the Harley-Davidson X350’s primary aims were for a lightweight and agile package paired with an engine tuned for strong midrange torque.
The X350 is powered by a 353cc DOHC four-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin with output (27kW/31Nm) grounded via a six-speed transmission and chain final drive. It rides on 17-inch front and rear wheels rolling on Maxxis Supermaxx ST tyres (120/70 ZR17 in front, and 160/60-ZR17 at the rear). Up front the X350 has dual disc brakes with petal-style rotors, and ABS is standard. Seat height unladen is 777mm.
The X500 features a Sportster style with a bobbed rear fender like the Forty-Eight, and the new Nightster models. The two-up saddle has a wide, thick cushion for added ride comfort.
Powering the X500 is a 500cc DOHC four-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin, good for 35kW and 46Nm. It too is tuned to produce strong midrange torque, and it is mated to a six-speed transmission. Kerb weight is 208kg vs 195kg for the X350.
Fittings are similar to those on the X350, only the 500 features 50mm inverted fork front suspension (also with adjustable rebound damping), bigger discs with radial-mount calipers and a seat height of 820mm unladen. Both models have LED lighting.
A collection of Harley-Davidson X apparel will also be available, it goes without saying. Expect first arrivals of the H-D newcomers before Christmas.