The Harley-Davidson X 500 is the latest machine from Harley-Davidson and their Chinese partner, QJ Motors. After the release of the smaller X 350, this bike wasn’t a surprise coming, but it’s got a number of people paying attention already.
So, what can you expect from the latest instalment from two motor giants?
The Bikes It Comes After
The X 350 launched with much anticipation, and the X 500 followed the same lines. Appearance-wise, it looks very similar (if not the same) to the X 350 – an open-cased rugged retro style that is incredibly popular at the moment. The X 500 is available in three colours –orange, silver, and black. Though frankly, if you want to show off this bike, why would you go with anything other than vibrant orange? The features also look the same as the X 350 – which is quite basic. Hopefully, there are a few improvements that can’t be seen from the specs and the marketing materials, but smartphone connectivity and even a fuel gauge appear to be missing. However, the switches are decently chunky and clunky, always satisfying and reassuring when riding, and all the lights are LED. It also appears to come with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) as standard. Overall, when compared to the X 350, the X 500 has better performance and (as would be expected) more power – it’s definitely a step up all around.
The other bike to consider is the Benelli Leoncino 500, another QJ Motors offering. The new Harley-Davidson X 500 is extremely similar to this model, and it’s highly likely that the collaboration took this decent bike from one partner and reworked it with the other. That’s not necessarily bad – the Benelli Leoncino 500 is a solid bike with a great engine, solid frame, and efficient exhaust. As a base, you can’t go far wrong.
But What of the Bike Itself?
Regarding the bike itself, we’re obviously waiting for the proper reviews to see what this machine is like to ride. However, the engine produces 47 horsepower and packs a punch to get that excitement every motorbike rider is looking for. However, this doesn’t seem to be just a roadster to enjoy on the weekends. Harley-Davidson claims that the X 500 can get 48.45 miles per gallon –slightly better than the much smaller X 350. This efficiency means it’s a contender for an everyday bike, not just something fun for the weekend. If you’re used to Harley-Davidson bikes, the ride on this one might feel a little different as the seat height is on the tall side for their normal bikes – you can still get 46-49 lean angles, though.
We don’t know how much the X 500 will cost, and it is only available in China, just like the X 350. An interesting decision, given that the power and presence of the X 500 would be much more appealing to an American or European audience. However, given that it’s based on the Benelli Leoncino 500, it has a 33.9 lb-ft at 6000 rpm and 46.9 hp at 8500 rpm – this would make the X 500 A2 license compliant, just as the Leoncino is. So, it’s all set up if Harley-Davidson eventually decides to bring it to the European market.
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