QJ Motor SRC 500 Retro Roadster Review: Likes & Dislikes
The latest sub-500cc retro bike in the Indian market is a mixed bag of emotions
QJ Motor entered the Indian market with a bang, launching four very interesting offerings. However, this review is dedicated to the retro-est bike of the lot, the SRC 500, which has managed to completely surprise us, especially in terms of performance. So let me tell you what I liked, disliked and found “meh” about the bike after a few days of riding it.
Engine & Transmission
Imagine a long weekend, and you want a bike on which you can relax and cruise without hassle. Now pop out of that dream, because the QJ Motor SRC 500 does just that with its smooth 480cc single-cylinder engine. But, but, but… don’t mistake this big single to be lazy or even slow. The motor is actually quite peppy, and excellent for overtakes and city traffic as well.
|30-70 in 3rd gear||5.46 seconds|
|40-80 in 4th gear||7.16 seconds|
One of the most interesting bits on the SRC is its long gear ratios, which are also smooth to shift allowing you to ride around the 100kmph mark at as low as the third gear. And more interestingly, it can maintain 130kmph on the fourth gear with hardly any vibrations. With this, who even needs a sixth gear, am I right?
Complementing the motor are the super-smooth gear shifts. Although, due to the pedal having a long throw, you could get a few misshifts here or there if you don’t move your left foot fully, but that is not such a big issue and can be overcome with daily usage. And yes, the engine and gearbox are pretty smooth and convenient for your daily usage.
It is one of the more attractive looking retro offerings in the country and people checking the bike out at signals would say the same too. I could see the looks of approval for the old-school retro styling each time I passed people on the road. With the white and red colour scheme, the appeal goes up considerably.
Quite surprisingly, the QJ Motor SRC 500 has an incredible fit and finish and build quality. Nothing looks or even feels cheap, and the absence of any rattling body parts only improves the riding experience. Even the switchgear and console are of good quality. While the switchgear and buttons are quite accessible, the console with its basic readouts is just enough. Oh, and it is a circular fully digital unit, which looks pretty classy.
When it comes to things that I like about the bike, ergonomics will be an important bit. It has a relaxed and upright riding posture that makes for a really comfortable riding experience. With a spread-out weight distribution, you don’t really feel the bike’s 205kg kerb weight. This further helps in the agility and manoeuvrability of the bike, especially in the city and traffic. Even on corners and curves, the bike feels pretty light and inspires confidence to push harder.
Now this bike is indeed great for laid-back riding, but the brakes are tuned for just that. If you end up riding spiritedly and need some urgent braking, the hardware might just underwhelm you with its performance. Don’t get me wrong – they aren’t bad – but they do lack ferocity and aren’t too sharp.
Despite the great performance and ergonomics, the ride quality isn’t the best. Why? Primarily because of how the suspension on the SRC 500 is tuned. The telescopic fork is on the softer side, whereas the rear dual shock absorbers are quite stif. This imbalance in the suspension tuning results in the rider being thrown off the seat on sharp bumps. Although, on relatively smaller undulations, it works pretty fine. Even the halogen headlight is not the best, as the throw is quite scattered and not so helpful on poorly lit roads.
Now the biggest pain in my ass (quite literally) was the seat. The seat foam is quite soft, and after just a little while of riding, your butt sinks in and the result – a painful butt. So you keep trying to adjust, which in turn robs you of an overall great riding experience.
For the little time that I got to ride the SRC 500, I was quite in awe of the bike. Honestly, it is the most impressive bike in QJ’s lineup, and with a price tag of Rs 2,79,000 (ex-showroom), it is a good deal too. The only issue that we see in the long run is the brand itself. QJ Motor doesn’t really have much of a foothold in India, and being a new brand, the aftersales service and longevity of the bike are questionable at best. That said, the bike itself managed to charm not just me but the entirety of the bike team, some of us even going as far as to say that this is what the Royal Enfield Classic 500 should have been.