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Posts Tagged ‘Shanghai’

“Harley-jiang” 338cc

A ‘false friend’ (‘faux amis’ in French) is a word in two languages that on the face of it sounds or looks alike, but which does not share the same meaning or which may even mean the opposite.

When you communicate with people from other countries in another language than your own, you need to consider both cultural and language differences if you want to engage in a good, honest and accurate dialogue.

Speaking of another language…

Press reports have circulated since June that Harley-Davidson is working with the Quianjiang (QJ) motor group to introduce its ultra-affordable (parallel-twin) motorcycle for the Chinese market. According to this article, both motorcycle manufactures have approved the final design of the motorcycle by ‘signing off’ publicly.  The new motorcycle is a parallel-twin streetbike, which is currently expected to launched in the Chinese market by the end of 2020.

For motorcyclists of a certain age, parallel-twin sport bikes are synonymous with British iron of the ’70s. Ride one down the street and watch as babies point and smile, dogs chase joyfully, angsty teens fight the curling in the corners of their mouths, old biker types in leather nod with appreciation.

But, I’ve digressed…

The manufacturing and production of the motorcycle will be done by Qianjiang, a motorcycle-building giant in China. Since 2016 it’s been owned by automotive behemoth Geely, which sells cars under its own name but also owns more familiar western brands Volvo and Lotus as well as the upcoming car firm Lynk&Co. Qianjiang itself sells motorcycles under brands including Keeway, Generic, KSR-Moto and, Benelli.

The Italian-branded part of this equation is most relevant.  While true motorcycle enthusiasts will recognize the Italian roots associated with the Benelli brand, the company is no longer authentically Italian.  Since 2005 Benelli has been a part of the Qjianjiang (QJ) motor group, the largest capacity manufacturer of motorcycles in China. Qjianjiang produces over 1.2M vehicles per year at its super modern factory in Wenling, about 250 miles from Shanghai. With over 14,000 employees, the factory is as big as many cities.  Benelli is one of the oldest Italian motorcycle brands, now Chinese-made machines. The motorcycle company once manufactured acclaimed shotguns, although that part of the business is now a separate company.

According to this post: A modern Benelli will offer you poor build quality, vibrations, a finish that’s below what anyone would expect of a modern motorcycle, and depending on the model, you can also get a motorcycle with bad power to weight ratio and less than inspiring handling. “What a great way to spend our hard-earned money…”

The design of the joint “Harley-jiang” 338cc parallel-twin engine motorcycle is heavily inspired (inspired = essentially a parts-bin special slapped together to meet demand) by the Benelli 302S. The current thinking is to borrow parts so the motorcycle development can be accelerated.  The motorcycle shares the trellis frame, motor, swing-arm, suspension and braking components with the Benelli 302S.  A trellis frame connects the steering head to the swing-arm pivot as directly as possible using metal tube arranged in triangulated reinforcement. Using lattice girder principles, a trellis frame is typically constructed of round or oval section metal tubular segments that are welded or brazed together.  I think Ducati when I hear trellis frame!  Also, in using the crankshaft from the Benelli 302S, with a stroke of 45.2mm, and the pistons and cylinders of the TRK and Leoncino 500cc engine – which uses a 69mm bore – you get the 338cc.

Harley-Davidson’s “More Roads” plan is all about bringing it’s brand of freedom to more people around the world.  That marketing strategy/message seems naive and incredibly ironic given the human rights abuses in China and the “police state” in Hong Kong!  I’m unclear how the Chinese Harley-Davidson inspired motorcycle maverick ― Stickin’ It to the Man ― will square given everything is completely controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

In connecting the title of this post back to China; “There are few things worse than mistaking an enemy for a friend.” ― Wayne Gerard Trotman

If you want to observe first-hand a commercial website in disarray visit Benelli.

Photo rendering courtesy of Harley-Davidson

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U.S. Ambassador to China - Jon Huntsman

In a heady display of “feel the vib” and “look at me” doing that pursuit of freedom gig, the political poster child for human rights, dares onlookers of the patriotic possibility and the fact it’s not just something special for the American people as he rides his signature Harley-Davidson RoadKing Classic through the streets of Shanghai.

Some might even call him showing off a bit since urban incomes average about $2,200 a year in Beijing where the bikes sell for $12K to $37K.  Harley-Davidson opened its first store in China in April 2006 and the allure of its citizen’s growing spending power means the motor company is unwavering in its commitment to extract dollars from the world’s most sought-after-market… who cares if in Beijing and Shanghai, motorcycles are largely banned from most major streets and highways.

In fact, Shanghai stopped accepting motorcycle registrations back in 2002 so, I wonder how Mr. Huntsman got that motorcycle registered?  Was it shipped over or did he buy it there?  In a country well know for reproducing (“copy”) everything, unlicensed Harleys have been smuggled in to the country for years so his would likely go unnoticed. Details, details…Don’t bore me with the details.

The mandarin speaking Mr. Huntsman will resign as U.S. Ambassador to China on April 30th and according to Politico reports he might make a run for the Republican nomination in 2012.  Adding fodder to this speculation is the fact he’s booked for a speaking engagement in New Hampshire in May shortly after his return.

Interestingly, if a deal can’t be made and the government shuts down in less than 30 hours due to what looks like near-fatal-distrust of the two parties… I wonder how Mr. Huntsman will get back to the U.S. — charge it?!

UPDATE: June 21, 2011 – Mr. Huntsman enters the 2012 Presidential race.  Reuters report HERE.

Photo courtesy of AP.

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