Home » This Motorcycle Startup Wants To Bring Some Seriously Cool Motorcycles Into America, Possibly Even A V4

This Motorcycle Startup Wants To Bring Some Seriously Cool Motorcycles Into America, Possibly Even A V4

Benda Motorcycles Ts
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American motorcyclists may soon find a new option in the marketplace, and it’s surprisingly attractive. Chinese startup motorcycle brand Benda wants to bring its motorcycles to America, and the bikes are way cooler than you’d expect. The brand’s flagship motorcycle is powered by a beautiful V4 engine and the firm is working on a turbocharged or supercharged small displacement bike (but no rotaries, sadly. Sadly for me). Perhaps even more wild is the company’s unique styling. Let’s look into what you might be able to buy soon.

If you’ve ever wanted a reason to get into motorcycling, I think now is the best time to zip yourself into a jacket and strap on a helmet because the bikes you can buy today are cool and are only getting better. There’s something for everyone from affordable mini motorcycles to supercharged monsters with enough power to warp reality. I’ve been especially astonished by the motorcycles flowing out of India and China.

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There was once a time when a rider would laugh at the idea of buying a bike built in China. Now, even household names such as Harley-Davidson have motorcycles built in China. The region’s home brands are also doing some creative work of their own. Just take a gander at this bike and tell me you wouldn’t want to try it out.

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Now, what if I told you it has a V4 engine?

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Benda

Americans are unlikely to have ever heard of Benda before. I know I’ve learned about its existence only recently. News of the brand’s arrival in America comes to us from Cycle World. The publication has found that Benda‘s parent company, Hangzhou Saturn Power Technology, has filed documents with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including VIN decoding. These documents suggest an impending arrival in the States, even though Benda has yet to make any announcement regarding expansion into our market.

However, Cycle World‘s NHTSA file digs have been reliable in effectively announcing the debuts of new brands and motorcycles long before official announcements. I hope Benda follows through because its motorcycles are sub-zero levels of cool.

Hangzhou Saturn Power Technology Co., Ltd. was founded in 2016 and is situated in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang, China. As of October, the company says it has 466 employees, about 40 percent of which work in the firm’s engineering department. These engineers developed Benda’s 125cc to 2000cc engine platforms, which go into distinctive motorcycles, ATVs, and side-by-sides.

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In 2020, Benda released its first motorcycle, the Chinchilla 300, above.

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This first motorcycle resembled a Harley-Davidson Sportster or an Indian Scout, but scaled down to a small bike. The Chinchilla 300 is powered by a 298cc V-twin good for 30 HP. In 2021, the Chinchilla 300 was joined by the Rock 300, which had the same engine and similar American cruiser style, but was a tad larger.

If you stopped paying attention here, you would have thought Benda was just another brand making pretty copies of other motorcycles, but with smaller engines. Then, something weird happened.

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Also in 2021, Benda unveiled the LFC 700, and this motorcycle is pretty far out. See that headlight? Yeah, it’s not just a headlight, but a ram air intake! Another light is just above the intake on the fairing. That intake feeds a 676cc inline-four rated for 92 HP. According to Cycle World, these engines were developed by reverse-engineering Honda’s CB650R engine and increasing the stroke.

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That’s perhaps the coolest part of the LFC 700, but the bike’s coolness continues past the front end. It has a lengthy 67.7-inch wheelbase and a girthy 310-section width rear tire. To put that into perspective, the LFC 700 has a wheelbase just over an inch longer than the Triumph Rocket 3, and that bike already has wheels occupying two different counties. Benda’s design for the LFC700 is unique, too, and it’s clearly going for a muscle-machine look. I think the design nails it.

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Also unveiled that year was the LFS 700 (below), which features the same engine, but placed in a futuristic roadster body. A styling element I love with this motorcycle is the number boards at the rear of the seat, and right behind them are a pair of skinny exhaust tips next to slim integrated turn signals. If nothing else, you cannot accuse Benda of stealing the styling of these two bikes from other firms.

Both the LFS 700 and LFC 700 benefit from name-brand components such as Brembo brakes and KYB suspension. Even the entry-level Benda LFC 700 gets stopping power from Nissin. Both bikes have ABS by way of Bosch.

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Interesting Engines

The muscle cruiser and futuristic roadster are interesting enough on styling alone, but Benda hasn’t been afraid to pump up the volume on creating alluring engines. In 2021, the brand announced a pair of V4 powerplants.

The BD453 appears to be of Benda’s own design. It’s a 70-degree V4 with dual overhead cams and 16 valves with an undersquare design. The engine comes in at 496cc and makes 56 HP and 33 lb-ft of torque. The larger engine is based on the same architecture and it’s called the BD476. It’s an 1198cc V4 good for a healthy 152 HP and 89 lb-ft of torque. Did you ever think you’d hear about a Chinese-built motorcycle with more horsepower than some cars? Well, that’s the era we’re entering!

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While V4s aren’t the most common configuration of engine in use in motorcycling, they have been popular in MotoGP and a handful of production motorcycles. Honda began production of V4-powered street motorcycles in the early 1980s and ended late last year. Other brands with V4s in their past or present include Aprilia, Ducati, Norton, Suzuki, and Yamaha. CFMoto is also working on its own V4 design.

Given the fact that Ducati’s V4 makes 197.3 HP with fewer cubes, Benda’s V4s aren’t going to be winning many races. Still, I’m just happy to see manufacturers having fun with engines. Benda’s V4 made its debut this year in the Darkflag 500, another American-style cruiser rated for 53.6 HP. The company says the motorcycle is China’s first production V4 bike.

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Darkflag

At first glance, the Darkflag looks like it was inspired by a Harley or an Indian, but it has some unique touches. For starters, none of the Americans can claim to have a V4-powered cruiser. But also, Benda added some nice attention to detail. The instrument cluster is a charming piece and it’s really neat how the fuel gauge is a weird sort of floating display above the tank.

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I love little details like that. You can even get the Darkflag 500 with a chunky exhaust that looks like the Buster Sword from Final Fantasy VII. At idle, Benda’s V4 engine shuts off the rear cylinders to cut down on heat and fuel consumption, something that Ducat’s V4s already do.

Benda isn’t stopping there. Patent images show that the brand is working on a 300cc engine with a turbo or a supercharger, which sounds exciting.

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Sadly, as Cycle World reports, Benda’s filings with the NHTSA don’t reveal any exact models, just a vast array of styles of machine and a huge number of engines ranging from wee moped engines to stuff over 1200cc. Benda also wants to bring over both two-strokes and four-strokes. As I said before, Benda sells more than just motorcycles and has a line of upcoming ATVs and side-by-sides as well. Check out one of the side-by-sides in the below image.

It sounds like Benda wants to become something like another CFMoto, which sells motorcycles and other powersports products here in America. Of course, these are just regulatory filings and something could end up stopping Benda from following through. I’d love to see some of these bikes here because a wild muscle bike and a V4 cruiser both sound like a ton of fun.

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(Images: Benda)

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Matthew Skwarczek
Matthew Skwarczek
3 months ago

This is genuinely interesting from a design and engineering perspective. And I’m all for more V4s–I hope this company’s fortunes turn out better than Motus’s…

B3n
B3n
3 months ago

I’m not really crazy about these bigger bikes, they look kinda generic.
Unless they have very competitive prices it will take a lot of marketing work to sell an unknown brand that’s also from China.
But…moped engines, a turbo 300cc, and two-strokes you say?
That could be exciting, the moped and smallbore market is still a bit lacking in the US, especially the affordable (sub-$3k) end of the market.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
3 months ago

They look cool and the specs on that 700 are nice, but it’d be nice to see them with like a 6′ tall rider. Like the Honda Vultus looks sweet, wheelbase is just 3″ less, but tall riders look like someone stuck a schooner mast on a dingy.

Sivad Nayrb
Sivad Nayrb
3 months ago

I’ll be content to avoid purchasing Chinese products as much as possible.

Brau Beaton
Brau Beaton
3 months ago

The FLC700 could convince me to go on a Benda and never come back!

El Barto
El Barto
3 months ago

Yeah, so typical Chinese style over form. I agree that these look cool, but good luck with reliability over time. Especially LED lights.

I’ve seen double-cab GWM pick-up trucks in NZ that are less than eight years old with rust bubbling thru the lower door skins. Haven’t seen that on any other vehicles in NZ for decades and no, we don’t use salt on our roads in the winter.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
3 months ago
Reply to  El Barto

Yeah, seems like a lot of (weird) praise for a product that hasn’t even been ridden yet by the writer and doesn’t have any reputation at all to go off of.

El Barto
El Barto
3 months ago

You’re right, these could be totally crap, but we don’t know that for certain. Honestly, that’s why I always want to try every new camper or bike I write about.

That’s a fair enough comment and you’re right – until you test something, it’s all subjective.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
3 months ago

You say it cuts both ways, but there’s only positive support which comes off as a regurgitation of their press releases and photos. It’s basically vaporware at this point (or not much beyond arms length past vaporware) and yet everything in the piece comes off as if they are a well established company. How you can treat this company the same as something like Yamaha, Ducati, Polaris… is just staggering, especially in a market segment that is well known that new/cheap players introduce low quality junk that doesn’t meet traditional standards for motorcycle buyers in North America. It’s the complete lack of any skepticism at all that is worth noting about. You should be well aware that motorcycles are toys in North America, and thus the buying habits of North American motorcyclists is considerably different than other regions. There’s a reason Harley leads the market here, while perfectly fine bikes like CB300Rs don’t sell very well.

Heck, even more established brands like CFMOTO are barely more than extremely low sales volume novelties that struggle with the perception of being lower quality to their competitors.

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
3 months ago

Have to say that is a nice looking ride. Don’t know I could bring myself to buy a new manufacturer’s product until many years go by, but it’s an interesting product.

R Rr
R Rr
3 months ago

Just take a gander at this bike and tell me you wouldn’t want to try it out.

Nope, I don’t ever want to try any forward-control bike, I just feel unnatural and uncomfortable on them

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
3 months ago
Reply to  R Rr

To each their own, I could only ever ride a forward control bike.

A. Barth
A. Barth
3 months ago

Quick note for folks unfamiliar: ‘ben’ in Mandarin is pronounced like ‘bun’, not like the name ‘Ben’.

Mandarin is a tonal language, and the first syllable uses a high, level tone, also called the first tone (i.e. ben1). The second syllable uses a rising tone, also called the second tone (i.e. da2).

A fairly literal translation of 奔达 would be “rush/run/flee, reach (up)”. That’s if you translate one character at a time. If you put them together, Bing translator just renders it as “Penda”, rather than as a longer word or a phrase.

Anyway, these bikes look pretty good. I like that they have a model called the Chinchilla.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
3 months ago

“According to Cycle World, these engines were developed by reverse-engineering Honda’s CB650R engine and increasing the stroke.”

You must have found a different Cycle World story than I did:

“The engine does appear to have a few similarities to Honda’s CB650 four-cylinder, with the same bore and compression ratio, but its castings are unique and the crankshaft’s throw is 2mm longer to give the 680cc capacity.”

https://www.cycleworld.com/story/motorcycle-news/benda-launches-new-lfc-700-and-lfs-700-models/

“If nothing else, you cannot accuse Benda’s new bikes of copying other firms.”

https://media1.tenor.com/m/HiHTLq33lFoAAAAC/umm-no-words.gif

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
3 months ago

Perhaps that’s what you intended but the context wasn’t clear in its original form. No problem. Your revision clarifies your intent.

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
3 months ago

those do look pretty cool. the one reminds me of the V-Rod muscle, which I fell for and now have had one since ’15, I love it.

Paul E
Paul E
3 months ago

I’m waiting for Benda to produce an “Over” model.

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

Spelled “Ova” though

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