Finally, it’s been confirmed that Harley-Davidson is making another move back into the popular LAMS segment with the release of the X350 & X500. And they’re both going to be available from a Harley-Davidson dealer near you from December 2023.
Harley-Davidson has been absent from the LAMS market since they stopped production of the popular Street 500, leaving a gaping hole in the brand’s place in NZ. But now the dealers will be pumped that they’ve got not one but two new models to get learner riders into the H-D fold.
Harley-Davidson joined forces with Chinese manufacturer Qianjiang Motor Group to develop the new machines and give them a foothold into the massive market for smaller capacity models. The Qianjiang Motor Group is the powerhouse behind the popular new Benelli models that have become well-proven in NZ over the past couple of years, so it’s hardly surprising to see the new models from Harley-Davidson feature a similar powerplant.
The two models available are both powered by a parallel twin instead of the V-twin we’re used to seeing from the American manufacturer. And instead of the cruiser stance of the Street 500 and most of H-D’s other models, the X350 and X500 strike a resemblance to the XR1200 naked roadster from 2012, even down to the orange and black colour scheme that was synonymous with the model. But instead of the rawness of the old XR, Harley-Davidson says the new models have been designed to offer a comfortable riding experience that should allow riders to focus on the “joy of riding”. With relaxed ergonomics, compliant suspension and an upright riding position, the new models should be well-suited to new or returning riders.
The X350 is positioned as an urban commuter and for street riding, with the 353cc, DOHC, water-cooled parallel-twin tuned to give a punchy bottom-to-mid-range. 17-inch wheels should offer sweet handling, while the twin front wavy discs not only look cool but should offer decent stopping power. 41mm forks have rebound damping adjustment, while the monoshock, which mounts directly to the swingarm, features preload and rebound adjustment. A low 800mm seat height should make this model popular with those who struggle with towering seat heights, and quality Pirelli Angel GT tyres will make sure the X350 can stay sure-footed on our slippery roads.
The X500 features a distinctively Harley-Davidson look, with a classic Sportster style bobbed rear fender. The 500cc parallel twin should give the X500 decent performance while also being LAMS-approved, and a thick set of 50mm USD forks should take care of the handling when speeds creep up. Again, the bigger of the two features twin wavy discs, with radially-mounted calipers sure to offer decent stopping power. The saddle is 20mm higher than the X350, although at 820mm it’s still low.
“The Harley-Davidson X™350 and Harley-Davidson X™500 join the existing lineup as brand-new instruments of exploration designed to navigate the urban grid with agility,” said Nigel Keough, Managing Director for Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand. “Both motorcycle models are tailored for adventurous riders – new and existing – who are focused on style, performance, and accessibility to the brand.”
As with the rest of the H-D range, there will be a raft of accessory options available for owners to personalise their machines. With pricing revealed as $9,495 NZD for the X350 (Vivid Black, Baja Orange, Atlas Silver Metallic, and White Pearl) and $12,750 NZD for the X™500 ( Vivid Black, Baja Orange, Atlas Silver Metallic, and White Pearl), the affordable nature should leave a bit of cash in the wallet for those all-important add-ons.
Expect models to be in dealers from December 2023.