Bikers and Italian bike enthusiasts rejoice, Benelli have unveiled not one, but two 500-cc twin-cylinder offerings in the TRK 502 and the Leoncino, as well as the much-awaited Tornado 302.
We had reported earlier that Benelli were preparing a fresh assault with a faired version of the TnT 300 and an all new 500-cc engine, and at EICMA, they’ve unveiled what many of us have been waiting for.
First, the TRK 502 is an adventure tourer (adventourer?) is one of the world’s first (more) compact enduro machines. It’s not small, measuring 2,180 mm long and 912 mm wide with a seat height of 815 mm and a ground clearance of 230 mm. The last two can be raised a further 10 mm. The tank is also a touring-friendly 20 litres.
Under the knuckle-guards and wind-screen bearing mean exterior is a steel-tube trestle chassis with 50-mm USD forks up front, offering a usable 145 mm of travel, with a preload-adjustable monoshock with a 45-mm stroke at the rear. The wheels and tyres are, surprisingly or not, road-biased as standard, with 17″ alloy wheels wrapped in 120/70 R17 front and 160/60 R17 rear rubber. Optionally, off-beat tourers can choose the 19″ spoke front with a 110/80 R19 and 17″ spoke rear with 150/70 R17. The brakes are numbers that truly make us smile: twin floating 320-mm discs with four-pot callipers up front, 260-mm disc with a twin-piston callipers at the rear, ABS standard. And, finally, it weighs 210 kg. Right.
Handling all that mass is the all-new 500 motor is a liquid-cooled, parallel-twin, DOHC eight-valve unit displacing 499.6 cc with a 69-mm bore and 66.8-mm stroke. It produces (an A2-licence compliant) 35 kW (47.5 PS) at 8,500 RPM with a useful 45 Nm of torque at just 4,500 RPM. The engine is Euro 4-compliant. A six-speed gearbox will handle transmission duties.
The second 500-cc model, employing the same engine and getting the very same numbers is a scrambler called the Leoncino.
Behind the LED-infused headlamp and turn indicators, bad-ass stance complete with knobblies, and that rather attractive to say the least paint scheme, the Leoncino sits on a steel tube frame encapsulating the 500-cc twin-cylinder motor, with the shapely tank holding 15 litres. The Leoncino isn’t too large, but the ribbed seat is 815 mm high, and it has a 185-mm ground clearance. Of course, the 170-kg weight is a big plus. It also gets the same brakes, complete with standard ABS. The wheels and tyres are (the TRK optional?) 19″ at the front with 110/80 rubber and 17″ at the rear with a 150/70-17. Let’s hope we see it here with a price-tag that doesn’t make our eyes water. Going by Benelli’s rather competitive pricing, we don’t think that’s going to be a problem.
Finally, the faired Tornado (not naked) twin. The TnT 300 gets clothed in an aerodynamic fairing concealing its 300-cc twin making 35.4 PS at a screaming 12,000 RPM with 27 Nm coming in at a still-high 9,000 RPM. Of course, if the motor offered in India is the same as the one in the TnT, then the numbers read 38 PS at 11,500 RPM and 26.5 Nm at 10,000 RPM.
Numbers aside, the Tornado looks gorgeous. It’s the essential faired supersport from a company that pride itself on the first Tornado, the 900, from 14 years ago which also happens to be one of the favourites of yours truly. The twin-headlamps and longer twin-muffler make it quite a sharp looker to say the least. Expect a slightly higher price-tag for the Tornado 302 (or 300, should DSK Benelli choose to name it otherwise.) when it’s launched here.
Story: Jim Gorde