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China’s first V4 is getting closer with three Benda V4 bikes appearing in design drawings on the company's website

Last year upstart Chinese brand Benda – hot off the launch of two 700cc inline-four models – unveiled the nation’s first V4 motorcycle engines in the form of a large 1198cc version and smaller 496cc design.

The engines, which are externally identical, have vastly different capacities. The larger version is an 1198cc unit, capable of a claimed 113kW at 9500rpm and 121Nm at 7500rpm. The smaller version is less than half the size, coming in at 496cc and making 42kW at 10,000rpm and 45Nm at 8000rpm.

Both share the same DOHC, 16-valve, water-cooled design, with a 70-degree V-angle and 11.5:1 compression ratio, and although the firm has yet to confirm it, the dimensions of the pair suggest a 1000cc version is also in the pipeline. That’s what you get if you use the bigger engine’s 76mm bore with the smaller motor’s 55.2mm stroke.

Now the bikes that might be first to use those engines have been revealed in snatched glimpses of drawings seen in videos on the company’s own social media in China showing three variations on a Ducati Diavel-style muscle cruiser.

Although one of the bikes carries the name ‘V800’ on the side, not matching either of the proposed V4 engine capacities, that drawing is dated 2017, suggesting it was a very early proposal, potentially before the engines’ technical details had been established. It’s also possible that the bikes in the drawings are intended to use an as-yet-unseen V-twin engine rather than the V4 motors – the side-on images could show twins or fours – but since Benda hasn’t announced any plans for a V-twin larger than its existing 300cc cruiser, the V4 appears to be a stronger contender.

Going on the specifications released when Benda showed its V4 engines last year, the most powerful 1198cc version is due to make 113kW at 9500rpm, while the smaller 496cc version is rated at 42kW.

The styling drawings give a clue to the firm’s plans but aren’t likely to be completely accurate. They all feature a 90-degree engine, for instance, while the V4 is intended to have a narrower 70-degree V-angle.

Benda V4

Ben Purvis