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30 June 2023
Strongly associated with the bigger capacity end of the market, the team at Harley-Davidson have quietly launched a new 350cc machine for the Chinese market.
The all-new X 350 both tests the market and defies the norm by being made available in a ‘foreign’ market before a ‘domestic’ one.
Inspired by the legendary XR750 of flat tracker fame, the new steed is both damn stylish as well as light enough for unhurried city work. This is a very good idea since China has quite a lot of big cities.
Unlike some of its bigger, better established cousins the X 350 places the rider in the centre of the bike. Not being designed for touring or longer journeys allows for features such as centrally placed foot controls and more neutrally sited handlebars.
The company has captured the flat tracker mood perfectly.
Unlike the inspiring racer, the new bike is made for the real world. To that end, the saddle is deep and comfortable, with pillion pegs making it good for accommodating a passenger.
The power is delivered via a liquid-cooled 353cc engine.
There’s a world of sacrilege going on here. Not only is the relatively new liquid cooling part of the running gear, but the motor is an unprecedented parallel twin.
Even Harley riders who have yet to die will be pre-emptively spinning in their graves!
The new X350 also benefits from a slim profile.
This makes for a bike that’s easy to ride in the city. With a narrow seat and tank holding, managing the bike looks so much easier than riding any other Harley through any sort of heavy traffic.
Having both ends dressed with adjustable suspension also allows the rider to maximise the bike’s performance, while making for a more comfortable riding experience.
As it stands the X 350 isn’t available in any other market yet.
I’d predict that when it is, the Harley people may just capture that coveted ‘youth market’. Watch this space…