QJ Motor, the Chinese motorcycle manufacturer that just so happens to be the parent company of Benelli, has been flexing its muscles when it comes to rolling out new models for multiple markets. In recent months, QJ Motor released the SRT700 adventure bike, and the QJ7000D electric sportbike—both of which are almost certainly bound for the international market under Benelli badging.
To add to the company’s ever-growing list of models, two retro-style bikes were recently unveiled in the Chongqing Motor Show from September 17 to 20, 2021. QJ Motor’s newest hotshots come to us in the form of a middleweight neo-retro naked bike christened the Yi 550, and a low-displacement, 300cc cruiser dubbed the Flash 300S. Granted, these names seem very much like your discount online shopping cart bikes, but hey, we don’t come up with the names—or designs—of these machines.
For starters, the QJ Motor Flash 300S, which is supposedly the Chinese company’s interpretation of a “real American cruiser,” seems to fall short—both in terms of scale and performance. Its tiny little 296cc V-twin pumps out a measly 31 ponies, and the bike is obviously a scaled-down cruiser—presumably to suit the smaller, svelter builds of the Asian populous. Overall, the Flash 300S does boast classic cruiser lines, albeit leaning towards a more modern design approach, as evidenced by its inverted front fork and full-LED headlight. As far as pricing goes, QJ has pegged the Flash 300S at the equivalent of around $3,500 USD.
Moving up the food chain, the Yi 550 is QJ Motor’s interpretation of a neo-retro roadster. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but this bike’s fuel tank, saddle, and tail remind me very much of the BMW R nineT. From a performance standpoint, however, it doesn’t even come close to the hipster Bavarian roadster. Although up in performance as against the Flash 300S, the $5,300 USD-equivalent Yi 550 draws power from a 549cc parallel-twin motor—a 50cc jump from the current-generation Leoncino 500. It’s up in power, too, now churning out 48 ponies at 7,500 rpm. This inevitably begs the question: could this be the next generation Lion Cub of Pesaro?