The QJ Motor SRC 500 is a retro-styled motorcycle based on the Benelli Imperiale 400. We spent a day astride it to bring you a detailed review.
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Apurva Ambep
Hyderabad-based Adishwar Auto Ride India (AARI) recently brought another Chinese brand to the Indian market. In order to offer something to different types of riders, QJ Motor India’s line-up consists of the SRC 250, SRC 500, SRV 300, and SRK 400. The SRC 500 that we have here for this review is the retro cruiser from this line-up. In terms of design, this motorcycle resembles the Benelli Imperiale but gets a few changes to make it stand apart. The bike comes with a round halogen headlight at the front, a 15.5-litre teardrop-shaped fuel-tank, and a single-piece seat. It rides on a 19-inch alloy wheel at the front and an 18-inch alloy one at the rear. One of the elements to increase its overall appeal is the chrome-plated exhaust pipe that runs low and parallel to the ground.
The SRC 500 is available with the option of three dual-tone paint themes: Silver Black, Gold Black, and Red White. It gets a twin-pod full-LCD display, although I do feel that a classic analogue speedometer and tachometer would have suited the character of this bike better.
With a seat height of 800 millimetres, the bike is easily accessible to shorter riders although its kerb weight of 205 kilograms does make it quite heavy to move around and this weight is felt even while riding the motorcycle. During our ride, we felt that the bike’s ground clearance of 155 mm was adequate to tackle our road conditions with ease. The riding position is like that of any traditional cruiser with the rider sitting upright and the foot-pegs set forward for a relaxed rider triangle. While the riding position is nice, the seat is not very comfortable over long distances.
The SRC 500 makes use of a 480-cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine. This motor churns out 25.5 hp at 5,750 rpm, a peak torque of 36 Nm at 4,250 rpm, and is mated to a five-speed gearbox. As I started it up and got going, the first thing that I noticed was the loud thump from the exhaust. The clutch action is on the heavier side and I would have liked a slightly slicker gearbox. The power delivery of this motor is linear and feels best when kept in the mid-range rpm. If revved to the red-line, considerable vibration creeps in at the handlebar, pegs, and seat. It is fairly tractable and could handle doing speeds of around 45 km/h in fifth gear. Overall, this relaxed motor suits the retro character of the motorcycle and is decent for daily commuting.
Suspension duties are handled by a telescopic fork at the front and twin shock-absorbers at the rear. This set-up is on the stiffer side, so riders will have to watch out for bad sections of roads and be even more careful with a pillion rider on board.
As for handling, the bike takes a little effort to lean into a corner but flows through in a stable and precise manner. This also has a lot to do with the good grip offered by the Maxxis tyres. In terms of stopping power, the SRC 500 gets disc brakes at both ends with the assistance of ABS. At low speed, it is easy to bring the bike to a halt but while braking from around 85 km/h, I did feel like the front brake could have had greater bite as it takes a while to get to a stop. This will be a problem when it comes to applying brakes in an emergency.
Priced between Rs 2.69 lakh and Rs 2.79 lakh (ex-showroom), depending on the colour option, the SRC 500 is quite an expensive motorcycle. Considering that there are currently no 500-cc cruisers in the market, it will go up against the likes of the Royal Enfield Classic 350, Benelli Imperiale 400, and the Honda Hness CB350. The bike has good fit-and-finish, proves to be decent for the daily commute, and it surely hogs a lot of attention on the road because of its attractive dual-tone colour schemes. However, this would not make an ideal bike for touring on the highway on account of its stiff suspension set-up and the seat.
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