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‘Baby’ Harley-Davidson 338R revealed in finer detail ahead of reveal

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New drawings of the forthcoming Harley-Davidson 338R - or what is being dubbed the ‘baby Harley’ - have emerged revealing more details and more of what we can expect from the entry-level model when it hits the road in the coming weeks.

The machine has been in a shroud of mystery over the last few months after its future appeared threatened by the sweeping changes being brought in by new helmsman Jochen Zeitz, who took over as CEO in July.

However, while we’re beginning to get an idea of where Harley-Davidson will scale back its operations - having revealed this week it is exiting the Indian market and is set to axe the Sportster range from its European line-up - steady unofficial droplets of info recently have confirmed the 338R is going ahead as planned.

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While we have caught a glimpse of the Harley-Davidson 338R in the metal after spy shots originating from China began circulating last month, these colouring book-esque drawings reveal more intricate detail than we have seen as yet.

Ironically, given Zeitz’s vow to focus more on H-D’s core businesses and what it does best (ie. big, boomy cruisers), though the 338R doesn’t exactly fit the Harley-Davidson mould, it pretty much fits every other small-to-mid naked motorcycle mould, not least its own sister offerings the Benelli 302S and the Qianjiang QJ350, which made its public debut only last week (below).

Inspired by flat-tracks, the 338R is lower and flatter towards the rear end , while the fuel appears more compact from the outset. Overall, the 338R is more minimalist than its siblings with its exposed frame and subtle detailing to differentiate it from the QJ350 and the 302S.

Will the Harley-Davidson 338R be sold in Europe?

The 338R is, for now, at least set to remain within the confines of Asia where a dash of badge engineering doesn’t go amiss as manufacturers compete for sales in the crucial 250-400cc displacement range.

It’s an area Harley needs to dip into to justify its presence in Asia and drum up some much needed volume without going to the expense of developing a new model from scratch.

Though the 338R  is likely to be the cheapest Harley on sale anywhere in the world, it will be interesting to see how Harley positions it price-wise, especially compared with its siblings… does the name carry enough clout to justify a premium over the QJ and Benelli, for instance.

While the Thailand-built 338R is unlikely to be offered alongside your average Road Glides and Fat Bobs in the USA, it might find some love in Europe, not least because to give the range some depth and a convincing entry point to a brand that has been criticised for some ambitious pricing in recent times.

It may not be the most exciting model to have emerged with the H-D badge but the 338R  is certainly one of the most interesting...
 

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