A lot of enthusiasts in India had high hopes for the Harley-Davidson X440, but, unfortunately, the bike simply failed to live up to their expectations. What the people wanted was a more affordable and watered-down version of their favourite big bike, but, what they got was a competent package but completely devoid of all Harley-Davidson DNA. However, it seems that the answer to their problems might just have already been on sale in India all along. Called the QJ Motor SRV300, it looks, feels, sounds, and, to some extent, even rides like what a true-blue Harley-Davidson should. Infact, in our opinion, it is the Chinese motorcycle manufacturer’s take on what should have been the ultimate affordable baby cruiser we always wanted. Now, it’s not perfect – but, then, what is? So, let’s find out if the SRV300 is the small-capacity made-for-India cruiser that we always wanted but never knew we already had.
QJ Motor SRV300 Review: Design & Features
Let’s start with the design. A close look at the images on these pages is enough for anyone to realise that it’s hard to deny that it looks like the lovechild of a Harley-Davidson Sportster and Iron 883, with hints of V Rod DNA thrown into the mix. The teardrop-shaped fuel tank, rear fender design, which can be mistaken for a V Rod, and the LED headlight casing – it’s very familiar to that of the X440, thanks to the brand name embossed in the middle – are all reminiscent of the iconic Harley models. In short, I absolutely love it! A cool headlight cowl offers the bike a more streamlined appearance too. It feels like a big bike, especially while riding it, and its presence on the road commands a lot of attention, which means that it’s sure to grab eyeballs wherever it goes.
It comes with a stepped single-piece seat, which is small enough to give you impressions of a bobber. Plus, it gets a host of vibrant colours, which are well complemented by blacked-out bits, like the engine casing, headlight cowl, alloy wheels, and side casing, adding to its overall appearance. Now, while the design of the bike may not be entirely original, unique touches like the floating-type round instrument binnacle and vertically mounted LED tail lamp do add a sense of distinctiveness to the overall design of the SRV300.
In terms of features, apart from the aforementioned full-LED lighting and LCD instrument cluster, which display all the basic information, you also get an adjustable brake lever. While the quality of the switchgear plastics isn’t the best, it’s better than what I had expected. The switchgear is also backlit, ensuring easy usability while riding in the dark. Overall, it is not the most desirable in terms of features, but it does pack in more than what other bikes in QJ Motor’s India range have to offer.
QJ Motor SRV300 Review: Ergonomics
In line with its cruiser aesthetics, the QJ SRV300 also offers typical cruiser ergonomics. You get a seat height of 700mm, which is perfect for even short riders. Add to that a ground clearance of 160mm, kerb weight of 163kg, and high-set handlebars, and what you get is a motorcycle that not only makes long-distance riding easy and relaxing but will also add a sense of style to your overall riding experience. In simple terms, the SRV300 is suitable for both short and tall riders. Plus, unlike a typical Harley or other heavyweight cruisers, its relatively lighter weight makes it agile and easy to manoeuvre.
QJ Motor SRV300 Review: Performance
Now, the bike’s biggest highlight is its 300cc liquid-cooled V-Twin engine, which churns out 30bhp and 26Nm of peak torque. While the numbers may seem surprisingly low on paper, they offer an excellent experience on the road. The unit is very well-tuned, with most of the power and torque appearing in the lower end of the rev range. Consequently, it’s quite easy to get off the line quickly or reach highway cruising speeds in a jiffy. Moreover, if you are a bit too enthusiastic with the throttle, it'll even start lifting its front wheels whilst accelerating from a standstill. The bike feels good to ride both in the city and out on the open highway.
The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox, which is tuned to keep you in one gear for most riding conditions. The combination of the V-twin engine and transmission offers a typical cruiser riding experience. In fact, you can easily manage your entire commute in 3rd or 4th gear. Plus, that exhaust note is particularly impressive. In fact, you will find yourself doing everything possible to hear the engine rumble as loud as possible, whether It’s revving at idle, lazing up the gears at low rpm, or rev-matching with every downshift. It’s fun and addictive, and you’ll probably end up upsetting a cranky old neighbour or two. It’s an absolute blast!
Now, in a typical cruiser fashion, it also has its fair share of vibrations and uneven rumble. At times, you can feel them through most of the components, as if they are under an epileptic seizure. Now, it may be off-putting for some, but for me, it only adds to the overall charm of the bike. That said, I can’t comment on the potential strain they may put on its, well, Chinese-built components. So, don’t blame me for having some reservations about their durability and longevity.
QJ Motor SRV300 Review: Braking & Handling
For braking, you get discs at the front and back, along with dual-channel ABS. However, the brake feel is a bit wooden and disconnected. You always need to grab a handful to stop, and sometimes you are unsure if it really will. I think that the brakes are probably the weakest aspect of the bike, but the good news is that they can be tuned better by the company.
As I mentioned, the QJ motor SRV300 weighs just 163kg, making it feel pretty light not just on the move but also at a standstill. This makes it easy to handle in city traffic and maintain stability on the highway, thanks to its long wheelbase. However, the bike’s light weight does impact its cornering abilities and turns, especially at slow speeds. There is a lot of wallowing and suspension play when it’s tipped into a corner. Nevertheless, the wide handlebar offers ample leverage, compensating for this behaviour to an extent.
Another point to keep in mind is that its handling is relaxed, and it prefers a gentle approach rather than aggressive manoeuvres while navigating tight spaces. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the SRV300’s handling, thanks to its comfortable ride quality, pliant suspension, and light weight.
QJ Motor SRV300 Review: Verdict
In my Harley-Davidson X440 review, I highlighted that it’s a good product on its own but it lacked the essence of a typical Harley. And I think the SRV300 offers exactly what a small-capacity American cruiser, i.e. X440, should have. Its vibrant and butch aesthetics, grunty engine, high-geared transmission, and rumbling exhaust truly capture the essence of an American cruiser, with just the right amount of quirkiness.
Kudos to QJ Motor for developing (knowing or unknowingly) a motorcycle that perfectly mimics a small-capacity American cruiser. I really like its design, feel, and performance. However, it does have areas that could use improvement – the tacky 80s-style instrument cluster, low-quality plastic bits, wooden brake feel and an exorbitant price tag of ₹3.5 lakh (ex-showroom). Still, if you want a 300cc V-Twin cruiser motorcycle that is easy to ride and grabs a lot of attention on the road, and you were disappointed with what the Harley X440 had to offer, you seriously need to consider the SRV300. It's also the only choice you have if you want a sub-500cc V-twin motorcycle.
- QJ Motor SRV300
Engine: : 296cc / Twin-Cylinder / Liquid-Cooled
Power: 30.3bhp @ 9,000rpm
Torque: 26Nm @ 5,00rpm
Price: ₹3.49 Lakh (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)
X-Factor: The SRV 300 is perfect for those who wanted what Harley-Davidson promised with the X440