Harley-Davidson always had its struggles in keeping a stronger foothold with the Asian market. However, new sketches of its entry-level motorcycle started surfacing online giving us more detail about how Harley-Davidson’s forthcoming 338R could now stand a better chance.
Plans of Harley-Davidson releasing a new entry-level motorcycle has been shrouded in mystery ever since the idea was brought about by Matt Levatich, the company’s former president and CEO. The motorcycle proposed was the Harley-Davidson 338R, which was dubbed as the ‘baby Harley’. Yet, as Harley-Davidson has been facing quite a tumultuous year so far, Jochen Zeitz took over the company’s top post last July replacing Matt Levatich. He now braces the company for an overhaul under his new ‘Rewire’ strategy. Since then, further talks about the 338R has been shrouded in mystery without anybody knowing if the bike would actually come into fruition.
With the new sketches that have just emerged, we’re now beginning to get a better picture of the bike’s future and how it’s look is gonna turn out. The 338R doesn’t exactly fit the mold of a typical Harly-Davidson when compared to its bigger siblings. Yet, its overall design silhouette is inspired by flat-track racers that the brand is known to be used for. With classic-looking round headlights, a more compact fuel tank, lower and flatter seat with a sharp tail end, the 338R has a more distinguished American look when compared to its Chinese counterparts. Despite using the same frame and chassis, it still has a more minimalist silhouette with its exposed frame and subtle details when compared to the QJ350 and the Benelli 302S.
It’s highly unlikely that the Thailand-built 338R will be offered in the USA. At the moment, it seems that the 338R will remain exclusively sold within the Asian market, an area that Harley-Davidson needs to dip into in order to try to gain a stronger foothold with. Whether it receives a lukewarm, or acclaimed response from the 250-400cc segment is yet to be seen. With no official announcement yet of its launch date and price point, it will be interesting to see if the Harley-Davidson badge still carries with it enough premium to justify its price difference from the QJ350 and Benelli 302S. In any case, it’s still a sigh of relief for Harley-Davidson fans to see that the 338R is still going ahead as planned.