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Keeway Benda V302C: Road Test Review

12 December 2022, 05:55 PM Suvil Susvirkar

Introduction

Keeway V302C Right Front Three Quarter

Why to buy it?

- Very appealing design

- Enjoyable motor

- Good overall fit and finish

Why avoid it?

- High price tag

- Stiff ride quality

- Has cheaper alternatives

The V-twin-powered cruisers have become more accessible with the arrival of Keeway products. We recently tested the company’s affordable 300cc V-twin-powered motorcycle, the Benda V302C. Now, before we tell you more about this product, let us give you a brief background about its connection with the world’s renowned cruiser motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson.

Keeway V302C Left Side View

In China, Harley-Davidson has partnered with QJ Motor to manufacture entry-level motorcycles for the developing markets. So, will this become Harley-Davidson’s most-affordable product? We have seen partnerships that sell the same product under different brands. The TVS Apache RR 310, for example, becomes the BMW G 310 RR. 

Now, the Keeway Benda V302C, too, has all the right ingredients to become a Harley-Davidson. But will it become a Harley-Davidson is a discussion for the future. Meanwhile, here we explain everything about this new cruiser motorcycle from the Chinese-owned Hungarian manufacturer.

Styling and Quality

Keeway V302C Right Front Three Quarter

One of the biggest and unique selling points of this motorcycle is its styling. It indeed is among the most visually appealing motorcycles in the sub-500cc segment of the Indian market. We have had this motorcycle for almost a week, and it grabbed eyeballs everywhere we took it for a ride. The design comprises a round headlight at the front, a curvy 15-litre fuel tank with knee recesses and tank pads, and fat-profile tyres on both ends.

Keeway V302C

Keeway V302C

  • Displacement298 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)29.1 bhp
  • Kerb Weight167 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 3,89,000

Keeway V302C Side Panel

The motorcycle is available in three colours – all with a glossy finish. The list includes Glossy Grey, Glossy Black, and Glossy Red. The grey paint option is the most affordable one on the list. Meanwhile, the black and red colours are available at a relatively higher price tag. How well does this motorcycle justify the price tag? More on that in the latter part of this review. But the overall build quality is pretty solid and the paint job looks premium. There is, however, an unusually big gap between the side panels and it is quite noticeable. Meanwhile, the tank pads aren’t neatly stuck in place which is a bit of a letdown on an otherwise beautiful-looking motorcycle.

Ergonomics and Comfort

Keeway V302C Left Side View

The suspension hardware on this motorcycle comprises beefy upside-down front forks and twin rear springs and the setup packs a firm tuning. This aids the handling department, and the motorcycle feels sporty when ridden aggressively. The suspension tuning also compliments the engine performance, making the Keeway Benda V302C a fun-to-ride motorcycle. However, the sporty handling comes at the cost of comfort and the rear springs, with their 42mm suspension travel, feel too stiff for comfort. The thin padding on the rider’s seat doesn’t help the comfort department much either and you would be feeling sore in the glute muscles just after an hour on the saddle.

Keeway V302C Bike Seat

Speaking of the saddle, the seat height on the Keeway Benda V302C is among the lowest that we have tested in the recent past. The seat on this cruiser motorcycle is just 690mm tall and at 5’10”, it was effortless for me to place both feet flat on the ground with a comfortable bend in the knees. This makes the motorcycle easily accessible even for shorter riders, say someone who is 5’4” tall. Further, the low seat height also makes it very easy to move the motorcycle while seated on the saddle. The ergonomics are cruiser style and thus you sit with your legs forward. Moreover, the flat handlebar adds a pinch of sportiness to the setup.

Performance and Handling

Keeway V302C Engine From Left

The mechanical specifications of the Keeway Benda V302C include a BS6-compliant 298cc V-twin, liquid-cooled motor that delivers a healthy 29bhp of maximum output at 8,500rpm and 26.5Nm of peak torque at 6,500rpm. This motor packs a good spread of power throughout the rev range and there’s no engine knocking as long as you keep the tachometer above 2,000rpm. However, it starts to pull away cleanly from 3,000rpm with a noticeable step up in performance at 6,000rpm, and it continues to accelerate strongly in the higher engine revs.

Keeway V302C Left Rear Three Quarter

In the sixth gear, this motorcycle can cruise at as low as 40kmph with no engine knocking. Meanwhile, 100kmph comes on the speedometer at just under 6,000rpm whereas 120kmph arrives at 7,000rpm. Now, while the engine packs a commendable performance, the gearbox isn’t the slickest that we have experienced. In fact, the clutch lever feels hard too, and you cannot operate it with a single finger.

Keeway V302C Front Disc Brake

Despite the engine being promising, braking isn’t this motorcycle’s strongest suit. The braking hardware includes single discs on both ends and the setup feels progressive. It does, however, lack the confidence-inspiring bite that will allow you to brake late.

Keeway V302C Left Front Three Quarter

That said, the refinement levels are decent, but not something to write home about. The vibrations are evident from the footpegs at just 5,000rpm onwards and they become more noticeable as the revs climb higher. However, the vibrations have been damped well on the handlebar and the bar-end-mounted rear-view mirrors show a clear image of traffic behind you even at high engine revs. Then, when riding this motorcycle in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the hard clutch lever and a wide turning radius, too, can become cumbersome. Moreover, the hard seat and lack of windblast protection lead to more frequent halts during long rides.

Features and Technology

Keeway V302C Head Light

The feature list on the Benda V302C is premium, but not very comprehensive. Thus, while you get LED lighting all around and a fully-digital instrument cluster, this motorcycle misses Bluetooth connectivity and hence lacks controls for incoming calls, messages, music, or turn-by-turn navigation. The safety net comprises a non-switchable dual-channel ABS.

Keeway V302C Instrument Cluster

Further, the data on the instrument cluster only comprises basic ride data, such as a tachometer, speedometer, odometer, single trip meter, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, and clock. Meanwhile, the headlight delivers a promising performance and illuminates the road efficiently. However, it lacks the throw that would give you the confidence to ride fast in dark conditions.

Fuel Efficiency

Keeway V302C Right Rear Three Quarter

The motorcycle returned a fuel economy of 36.07kmpl in our city test conditions. With its 15-litre fuel tank, the Keeway Benda V302C should deliver a range of 540km between fuel stops. In comparison, its fuel economy is similar to the relatively less-powered Royal Enfield Hunter 350.

Should you buy it?

Keeway V302C Front View

The Keeway Benda V302C looks stylish and it has a good build quality that makes it stand out from the variety of motorcycles in the Indian market. It also packs an enjoyable motor that is very tractable, and you can ride it comfortably in the city and out on the highway. The fun-to-ride handling nature and an accessible seat height make it even more desirable. So, if you’re looking for a stylish motorcycle that will not be your primary transportation, the Keeway ticks all the right boxes.

Keeway V302C Right Side View

However, what works against it are the lack of features and a premium price for a new brand that is trying to establish itself in the Indian market. In fact, the same price tag puts it against well-established players like Royal Enfield and KTM and this will only increase difficulties for this Chinese-owned Hungarian brand. And if the competition from other brands wasn’t enough, the Keeway Benda V302C also faces sibling rivalry from the QJ Motors’ SRV 300. The QJ Motors’ cruiser is essentially the same motorcycle as the V302C, but, in India, it is Rs 40,000 cheaper than the Benda V302C. It will be sold and serviced via the same outlets as Benelli, QJ Motors, and Zontes.

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

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