Not long ago the idea of a four-cylinder sportbike made in China would have seemed laughable, but over the last couple of years several such machines have reached production. Now, China’s fastest-growing bike brand, QJMotor, is on the verge of launching a brand-new 800cc machine.
The SRK 800RR carries the company’s third four-cylinder engine. The first was the SRK 600RR, China’s first homegrown four-cylinder bike, launched in 2020 using an engine originally designed by Benelli (another arm of the Qianjiang Group that owns QJMotor.) QJMotor has already teased one new four-cylinder engine this year, a 600cc V-4 to power a new muscle-cruiser model. The 800RR, seen for the first time in this leaked image, will add yet another four-cylinder option when it gets an official unveiling—currently scheduled for the third quarter of 2023. It will be followed by a fourth four-cylinder, the 1000RR superbike, powered by an MV Agusta–designed engine.
Despite sharing a family look with the latest, face-lifted version of the SRK 600RR, the SRK 800RR is a totally different machine, built around a new engine. Like several rival Chinese bikes that have appeared over the last few months, it takes several, ahem, cues from the design of Honda’s CBR650R. The four-cylinder engine’s overall layout and 67mm bore are the same as the CB650R, but it has a longer stroke, around 55.2mm, to achieve an actual capacity of 778cc.
From the single image that appeared alongside the 800RR’s type-approval certification in China, the frame also appears to be closely cribbed from the CBR650R. If that’s the case, it’s made of pressed steel despite the appearance of an aluminum twin-spar design. That impression is backed up by the bike’s dimensions, including a 57-inch wheelbase that’s identical to that of the CBR650R.
However, despite the similarities, it’s not a direct Honda rip-off. The engine’s 778cc capacity is thanks to a much longer stroke than the CBR650R. That’s not easily achieved, and QJMotor patents show that the four-cylinder engine is substantially different to the Honda design despite sharing the same overall layout of components. More capacity means more power, and the type approval shows that the 800RR peaks at 101 hp, around 7 hp more than the CBR650R manages from its 649cc four.
Like several other models in the QJMotor range, the bike’s equipment includes name-brand parts like Brembo radial four-pot calipers, with ABS, and the suspension is almost certain to be Marzocchi-branded. In 2021 Qianjiang and Marzocchi set up a joint venture to manufacture Marzocchi components in China, so it makes sense to adopt the same components for QJMotor machines.
Other key specifications of the bike, revealed on the type approval, include its curb weight with fuel, which comes in at 456 pounds. The top speed is rated at 137 mph, which seems quite a conservative estimate. The wheel and tire combination are listed as 120/70ZR-17 at the front and 180/55ZR-17 at the rear.
The 800RR’s future outside China will only become clear after it’s officially launched in the third quarter of this year, but QJMotor bikes are now being imported to the USA, with a selection of models from 135cc singles to 754cc twins available. So when it’s in production, there’s a good chance the SRK 800RR will come to these shores.
Visually, the bike certainly ticks the right boxes, matching current sportbike trends with headlights framed by air intakes on the nose, multifaceted winglets on the side fairings and a stubby, high tail. It’s a style that clearly echoes the look seen on styling models for the yet-to-be-launched QJMotor 1000RR, which leaked earlier this year.
That machine is heavily derived from MV Agusta parts, following a deal between Qianjiang and MV to give the Chinese firm access to MV’s 1,000cc four-cylinder engine. According to QJMotor’s new model launch plan, the 1000RR is scheduled to be officially revealed at the end of 2023.