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  • Sachin Sen

Harley Davidson, and Hero's, All-new X440 to Rival Royal Enfield and Honda CB350

Updated: Jul 12, 2023


Harley Davidson Hero Motocorp X440
Harley Davidson X440

Companies would do what the market demands. And none can ignore the world’s biggest two-wheeler market, India, especially when one wants to grow noticeably. Ringing cash registers are not only important for generating profit, they also help the company to use those earnings for further research and development. Because that’s how you make better motorcycles.


The last few weeks have delivered quite a lot of action in the Indian motorcycle industry. A brand new motorcycle out of the Harley Davidson-Hero Motocorp partnership; their first of many to come. Then, the all-new Triumph Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X.


And though you may like one more than the other, all of them are very, very interesting new launches nonetheless.


Hardwire!!


At the beginning of 2021, Harley Davidson launched its 'Hardwire' campaign which is about re-strategizing its focus in different countries. For India, as part of that campaign, Harley Davidson pulled off its entire motorcycle range before introducing some of its new models here in a phased manner. Also, the American company began its collaboration with India’s Hero Motocorp to jointly develop India-specific motorcycles. Which has led to the all-new X440.


Harley Davidson X440


Harley Davidson Hero Motocorp X440
The X440; design inspiration from Harley Davidson XR1200X

The first motorcycle out of the Harley Davidson-Hero collaboration. And unlike the new Triumph 400s, the X440 has largely been developed by Hero, with constant engineering inputs from Harley Davidson. Of course, the motorcycle will also roll out of the Hero factory here.


It is an interesting dilemma for one of the world’s most famous motorcycle manufacturers, the undisputable master of the cruiser segment, who has only recently entered into the big adventure-motorcycle segment with the Pan America, on how to approach the complicated Indian motorcycle market. While the idea of a 400cc or a 500cc v-twin cruiser sounds interesting, it may not be an affordable option in this performance, but still price-sensitive segment. And a single-cylinder cruiser just doesn’t really has that aspirational appeal that cruisers must carry.


So what did Harley Davidson do? The company looked into its past and took inspiration from the XR1200X to design the first small-capacity roadster for India. Powered by an all-new single-cylinder 440cc, air/oil-cooled, overhead camshaft, 2-valve engine, which produces 27 BHP at 6,000 RPM and 38 NM of torque at 4,000 RPM. These figures, especially at those RPMs, clearly indicate a relaxed power delivery. Furthermore, it’s a long-stroke engine with bore x stroke of 79.6 mm and 88.4 mm, which emphasizes the engine’s torque-rich nature.


Combined with the running weight of 190.5 kg, the motorcycle is designed for a chilled-out riding experience. What this means is that the X440 is targeted more towards the Royal Enfield Classic 350, Meteor 350 (perhaps), and the Honda CB350 H’ness and the RS, and not toward the new Triumph Speed 400 and the Scrambler 400 X.


The starting price is at INR 2,29,000 ex-showroom, Delhi, for the Denim version; it’s INR 2,49,000 for the Vivid version, and the top version S is priced at INR 2,69,000. Although some may argue that the prices are high compared to the more powerful and seemingly more desirable Triumph 400s, I believe that these prices are still good given the brand value Harley Davidson carries. Also, the motorcycle looks quite well-built from various pictures and videos so far.


Harley Davidson Hero Motocorp X440
All-LED lighting and dual-channel ABS. That's it!!

The roadster design is a smart move in my opinion. The motorcycle will be extensively ridden in city traffic and the overall upright riding position, with slightly rear-set foot-pegs, is absolutely suitable in such conditions. And the X440 has decent cycle parts as well; there’s a pair of 43mm KYB upside-down forks at the front, while the rear is managed by twin shock absorbers with 7-step pre-load adjustability.


The lighting is all-LED, just like the new Triumphs, with the headlight having multiple projectors of class-D specification. There’s also a very neat-looking 3.5-inch TFT display showing all kinds of relevant info. As far as safety features are concerned, there’s only the dual-channel ABS working on a 320mm front disc brake and a 240mm rear disc brake, which, I believe, is absolutely fine. There’s no ride by wire or traction control (definitely unnecessary on this motorcycle anyway).


While I’m still to ride the X440, I believe that the S version is the one to go for. As the top version, it gets everything, including the bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones. It is the most premium version of the trio and hence, the most desirable.


I am hoping that I would be able to ride this new Harley Davidson X440 soon enough and share my riding experience. It’s an interesting motorcycle with a long-stroke engine, which is not a Royal Enfield!

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