China’s first V4 motorcycle revealed

New Benda BD500 is the first V4 bike to be made in China_01


Last September we were surprised to see upstart Chinese bike maker Benda reveal not one but two V4 motorcycle engines – an 1198cc version and a 496cc design – and now the first bike to carry one of those motors has appeared in a type-approval filing.

Benda is, of course, the same company that’s launched the crazy LFC700 cruiser – an inline four with a vast 310-section rear tyre and a wheelbase as long as a BMW R18 – and the more sensible LFS700 roadster with the same powerplant in recent months. It’s also developing the VTR-300 Turbo sports bike with a boosted 300cc V-twin.

The Benda BD500 uses the smaller, 496cc engine and according to its approval document makes 53.6hp, a fraction down on the 56hp at 10,000rpm that the company claimed last year for the engine, but close enough.


New Benda BD500 is the first V4 bike to be made in China_02


Other specs for the BD500 include a wet weight of 241kg and a top speed of 118mph, along with a wheelbase of 1575mm – making it around the  same size as a Kawasaki Vulcan S.

The styling is pretty conventional cruiser, which is something of a surprise given how wild Benda’s other creations have been so far, but the blade-like strake jutting out of the top of the fuel tank is an odd touch. It looks a little like the shark-fin antennas used on some cars, so perhaps is connected to the bike’s technology rather than simply a styling affectation.

A single, circular dial is the only visible instrument, but it probably has a multi-function colour LCD screen inside rather than a simple needle.


New Benda BD500 is the first V4 bike to be made in China_03


The bike’s frame appears to be cast alloy, which fits with the technology Benda has adopted on the LFC700, and it has overtones of the Indian Scout in both its construction and the bike’s overall stance and style.

The V4 engine, however, is what really sets it aside, adopting a format that’s barely used on production machines aside from exotica like the Ducati Panigale V4, Multistrada V4 and Streetfighter V4, or the Aprilia Tuono or RSV4.

While this is the smaller-engined model, the V4 engine itself is physically identical to the bigger 1198cc version, so that’s likely to debut in a very similar machine. That big engine promises much more performance, with a claimed 151.5hp at 9500rpm – enough to make it China’s most powerful home-grown motorcycle.

Unlike many Chinese brands, Benda already has a presence in Europe, with type-approval on several models and a dealer network in Spain, so sales here in the UK are a definite possibility in the future.