QJMotor 701 and 701R: Enter the new parallel universe

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With the demise of the 600cc four-cylinder sportsbike, a chasm has emerged that’s rapidly being filled by new parallel twins. The Yamaha R7 is leading the way but rivals are hot on its heels and two new bikes from Benelli’s sister company QJMotor could spawn Euro-focused versions.

The first pictures and specs of the QJMotor 701 and its higher-spec sibling, the 701R, have emerged and on paper they’re every inch convincing rivals to the R7 – but ones that are likely to be cheaper.

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Both share parts, including QJMotor’s new 693cc parallel twin, DOHC, 8v engine, putting out 75hp to just get an edge over the 72hp Yamaha R7. QJMotors tend to come with keyless ignition, TFT dash and backlit bar controls as standard, too, another point of difference over the more basic Yamaha.

Both the engine and the tubular steel frame it’s mounted in have previously appeared in the QJMotor ‘Chase’ 700, and SRK700, a naked sports model. For the new 701 and 701R the package is wrapped in a sleek, modern and frankly quite attractive fairing.

QJMotor 701 middleweight sportsbike

The proportions are very much in the modern superbike mould, and QJMotor have even added a pair of carbon (or carbon-effect) winglets, but the riding position is quite upright, with clip-ons mounted above the top yoke rather than below.

Both feature identical Nissin brakes and the suspension is likely to come from Marzocchi. The suspension and styling are where the 701R is set aside from the base 701. The sportier model gets gold-coloured forks and a single-sided swingarm at the rear, holding a wider 190-section tyre instead of the 701’s 180.

The 701R appears to take its paintwork ideas from Ducati’s Panigale SP2, combining matt black panels with red highlights and a silver tank. The result is stylish, but also a fraction heavier than the base model – the 701R comes in at 198kg wet, including fuel, while the 701 is 193kg. An R7, for comparison, is 188kg.

Ben Purvis

By Ben Purvis