Harley unveils plans for a small-displacement motorcycle engineered in the US and manufactured in China.
It’s a new dawn for Harley-Davidson, as House Milwaukee officialy unveils the plans for manufacturing a small-displacement motorcycle. And we mean a proper small-displacement machine, touted to be powered by a 338 cc engine.
The project is developed in collaboration with Chinese manufacturer Qiangjiang and will be first released in China, with other SEA markets such as India, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia to follow soon. The new bike is allegedly codenamed Harley-Davidson XR250, with no idea why they skipped using the 338.
Maybe it’s because the Asian markets are more accustomed with this type of “round figure” monikers for small bikes than the actual displacement. Still, we have to mention that a 338 cc motorcycle is considered a rather big one in most of the SEA markets, at least in the segment that moves millions of units each year.
However, Milwaukee hasn’s made any mention of a small displacement motorcycle for the domestic and European markets, at least not at the time of writing. It’s hard to foresee how these two markets would receive a bike made in China and branded by H-D, but if they decide to bring the bike there with the right price, young riders might consider it as a viable option before spending big bucks on larger machines.
Harley’s move has a strong commercial connotation. Their decreasing sales prompt them to consider new markets, so offering an affordable bike imbued with some H-D mojo could be quite a lucrative mood, given the unit sales volumes in South-East Asia. Miwaukee’s plans envision a 50% export growth by 2027, and the new small displacement motorcycles might be just the right fuel for it. And that’s because H-D’s traditional heavyweight line-up clearly can’t drive such a growth.
Wonder what else Harley-Davidson has up their sleeve, so stay tuned.