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Late last year we got a small taste of Harley-Davidson’s new LAMS offerings on a short closed circuit. Now we’ve tested the smaller of the two siblings – the X350 – on the road.

The X range is a big deal for Harley-Davidson. When the old LAMS-compliant Street 500 was available in Australia between 2015 and 2020, it regularly fought for best-selling spot in the Harley-Davidson line-up with the brand’s popular Breakout, and so the new X350 and X500 models couldn’t come soon enough.

Making a return to the budget-price entry-level market is a no brainer for Harley-Davidson, not just for the immediate sales volume, but also to retain those buyers as they progress from their provisional licences to full licences, hopefully going on to buy larger capacity and more expensive models in the years to come. And when I say budget-price, I mean it. At $8495 ride away, the X350 is by far the most affordable new Harley on the market, undercutting the also-new X500 by $3k. After that, it’s a massive step up to the $21,495 Nightster, all the way up to the $60k-plus CVO Road Glide. The X350 is also keenly priced against several competitors from other marques (see breakout).

So, if the X350’s intended function is to attract new riders to the Harley brand, it seems odd that it’s so different to any Harley-branded bike before it. The X350 is no laidback, raked-out cruiser like the Street 500 kind of was and, in fact, it doesn’t even run a V-twin engine, a format synonymous with Harley-Davidsons. Instead, the X350 is a sporty little number with looks kind of like a cross between a flat-tracker and a modern nakedbike, and a high-revving parallel-twin engine.

How high revving? The 353cc twin is howling at over 11,000rpm when the rev limiter cuts in, and thanks to low gearing it gets up there quickly. 

Peak power and torque is a claimed 27kW (36hp) at 9500rpm and 31Nm at 7000rpm respectively, so there’s no need to go the full, er, hog and rev it all the way to redline in every gear to get the most out of the twin. In fact, the engine feels like it makes decent torque from low enough in the rev range that you can poke around in sixth gear at 60km/h without the need for a downshift; having said that, the tacho is already displaying 3900rpm at that speed in top. 

By the time you get up to highways speeds the little twin starts to feel quite busy and is spinning away at 6500rpm in top gear at 100 clicks. The engine could probably handle slightly taller gearing and if freeway runs and open roads were on the agenda, I think a sprocket change would be in order. In fact, first gear is so low that second gear starts are a doddle.

The 353cc parallel twin likes to rev

Although the low gearing means you can hang on to tall gears much of the time, if you do want to work your way through the ratios the gearbox offers buttery smooth shifts, both up and down, and the clutch is light and progressive. Neutral is also easy to find.

The riding position is a bit strange compared to many nakedbikes in that you sit quite upright but the ’pegs are a long way back, which has you leaning forward into the relatively high-mounted and not-so-wide handlebar. This rider triangle makes the X350 feel quite compact, and I reckon some taller riders might even find it a bit cramped, although my mate who helped out with photography for this test – and who towers over me – didn’t have any complaints about the riding position.

With a 195kg kerb weight the X350 is far from the lightest bike in the segment, but it still feels light and nimble; it is easy to throw into corners and reacts quickly to changes of direction, no doubt aided by the sporty chassis geometry – 24.8° rake, 94.4mm trail and relatively short 1410mm wheelbase. 

Riding position is upright but the footpegs are a long way back

You can really throw the X350 around in the corners and with the ’pegs set so high and so far back, there’s plenty of ground clearance, but your toes will be pointing down at the road, so you’ll want to get them up on the ’pegs if you don’t want to drag them on the blacktop. While nimble, the X350 is far from nervous; it feels stable when cranked over, inspiring plenty of confidence in novice and experienced riders alike.

Brake feel was a little disappointing, perhaps because I rode the X350 back-to-back with its X500 sibling. While the larger of the two X bikes gets radial-mounted front calipers, the X350 has axial-mounted four-piston calipers and twin 260mm wave discs, while there’s a single 240mm wave disc at the rear with a single-piston caliper. What initially felt like decent braking performance at low speeds soon felt lacking when slowing from higher speeds. Feel at the lever isn’t great and you really need to squeeze hard to slow with any amount of enthusiasm. The rear brake is likewise adequate rather than outstanding, although the ABS is well calibrated for both dry and damp roads, while span-adjustable brake and clutch levers are a nice touch on an $8.5k bike.

Brake feel isn’t great but it’s adequate

Befitting the X350’s sporty character, the suspension is on the firm side, but it still offers good compliance over crappy surfaces. Fork dive is well controlled when braking and there’s enough suspension travel at the rear to soak up big hits. There’s rebound adjustment on the 41mm USD fork, and rebound and preload adjustment on the monoshock, although you’ll have to dig out the c-spanner if you want to tweak the rear preload.

H-D says the styling was influenced by the XR750 flat tracker

The Maxxis Supermaxx ST rubber – a 120/70ZR17 up front and a 160/60ZR17 at the rear – offers decent grip in both dry and damp conditions, and is more than a match for the performance on offer. I felt the rear tyre get a little loose at times when cornering hard in the wet, but considering there’s no traction control it did well to hook up out of slippery corners. 

The 777mm-high seat is narrow where it needs to be so all but the shortest of shorties will be able to reach the ground easily enough. The seat kicks up at the back which provides good support when trying to drag race traffic from the lights, but it means there’s not a lot of space if you want to slide your butt back. The pillion seat offers reasonable accommodation but no grab handles, which makes tying down luggage tricky.

On test the X350 used 5.2L/100km so you should get around 250km out of the 13.5-litre fuel tank; not a huge touring range but I reckon you’d want to stretch your legs by about then anyway.

Easy to read analogue speedo but LCD inset is small

Instruments are about as basic as they get on the X350, with an easy-to-read analogue speedo but a hard-to-read LCD for everything else. You can only display one bit of info on the tiny LCD at a time, and choices are limited to odo, two trips, a clock and tacho. There’s LED lighting all around, including a trick looking DRL that incorporates the Harley-Davison logo. 

Although there are a few plasticky bits on the X350 (such as the headlight housing) overall fit and finish looks good. The paint finish on the bodywork is great, the welds on the steel tube frame and swingarm are tidy, the suspension components don’t look cheap, the exhaust system is nicely finished and engine plumbing and wiring is well concealed. Overall I reckon it’s a damn fine looking bike.

It might not look like a traditional Harley but there’s no mistaking the X350 for anything else thanks to the big ‘Harley-Davidson X’ emblazoned down either side of the fuel tank. Finished in Dynamic Orange the testbike certainly piqued plenty of interest from those walking by. It will be interesting to see if it – and its X500 sibling – can match the sales success of the Street 500.  



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Capacity 353cc
Type Parallel-twin, DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Bore & stroke 70.5mm x 45.2mm
Compression ratio 11.9:1
Cooling Liquid
Fueling EFI
Transmission Six-speed
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Final drive Chain

Power 27kW (35hp) @ 9500rpm (claimed)
Torque 31Nm @ 7000rpm (claimed)
Top speed 143km/h (claimed)
Fuel consumption 5.2L/100km (measured)

Rider aids NA
Rider modes NA

Frame material Tubular steel
Frame type Trellis
Rake 24.8°
Trail 91.4mm
Wheelbase 1410mm

Type Not given
Front: 41mm USD fork, adjustable rebound, travel not given
Rear: Monoshock, adjustable preload and rebound, travel not given

Wheels Cast aluminium
Front: 17 x 3.5  Rear: 17 x 4.5
Tyres Pirelli Angel GT
Front: 120/70-ZR17 Rear: 160/60-ZR17

Front: Twin 260mm discs, four-piston calipers, ABS
Rear: 240mm  disc, single-piston caliper, ABS

Weight 195kg (kerb, claimed)
Seat height 777mm
Width 785mm
Height 1110mm
Length 2110mm
Ground clearance 143mm
Fuel capacity 13.5L

Servicing First: 1000km
Minor: 7000km
Major: 13,000km
Warranty Two years,
unlimited kilometres

Price $8495 ride away
Colour options Dramatic Black, Dynamic Orange, Supersonic Silver, Pearl White