It is extremely tough to start this article without using words like Great, Legendary and Iconic. But then, Benelli is all of it and then and infact a bit more. Coming into existence more than a century ago in 1911, it is one of the oldest Motorcycle Companies in the world. From the humble beginnings in a garage, established by a widow, Teresa Benelli for her 6 sons, Benelli presented their first motorcycle in 1911. While their first in-house engine came out in 1920, which was a 6 cylinder 2 –Stroke 75cc, adapted to a bicycle frame. In 1921, Benelli launched their first motorcycle with their own engine of 98cc.
In a War torn Italy, Benelli opened up again in 1949 and started off selling lower capacity motorcycles in the range of 98cc – 125cc lightweight segment, which were instant hits, back in the time. Benelli competed with the likes of the Ducati and Moto Guzzi in the segment. In 1969, Benelli introduced the Benelli Tornado 650, a vertical twin designed primarily for sale in Great Britain and the US. The Tornado earned a reputation for reliability and high performance; it was capable of 57 HP @ 7400-rpm good enough for 117 mph.
Tonino Benelli, the youngest of the 6 sons of the Benelli Family, was the undisputed protagonist of the early racing successes. With an extraordinary natural talent for riding, he began a rewarding career that confirmed his exceptional technical skill and innovation within the company. In the saddle of a Benelli 175, Tonino won the title of Italian Champion in 1927, 1928 and 1930, riding the SOHC version, and in 1931 with the DOHC version. The numerous victories in the European World Championship were a prelude to one of the most sought after successes of all motorcycle producers, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, at that time the most important race in the world. Benelli also won the Moto GP 250cc Championship in 1950 and 1969 and it won the constructors title for the same years.
In 1995, revival of the brand with such glorious history became a real possibility when Andrea Merloni took charge. The results were fast in coming with the launch of the Tornado Tre 900 super sport bike in 2002 and the launch of the TNT, the roadster. Former Australian Superbike champion Peter Goddard signed with Benelli in 2001 to accelerate the development of the Tornado Tre 900.
Benelli is now part of the Motor Group Qianjiang, which is a corporation located in Wenling, Southeast China. Benelli Q.J. is located in Pesaro, where the previous proprietors based the facilities, keeping the whole workforce previously working at Benelli S.p.A.
DSK group after working up a spectacular Joint Venture with the Hyosung, is bringing Benelli to our shores, the oldest of the Italian Exotic Motorcycle Manufacturers. For the few who are not aware of what Benelli has in store for us, please have a look at the following portfolio of Benelli:
It is a spirited entry level 300 cc twin Motorcycle producing 36.7 PS and 26 NM of torque and with such chiselled, neat looks, it surely looks like a character out of a Sci-fi Movie.
BN 600 GT
Middle Weight Sport Tourers are the best Motorcycles of our country, for they are fast, comfortable, have decent ground clearance and protect us from wind blasts with their tall windscreens. It has an in-line 4 cylinder engine producing 80.5 bhp and 56 nm and will go head to head with the Kawasaki Ninja 650r and the Hyosung GT 650r.
BN 600 R
The naked street version of the 600 GT, this will be a delight to all who love the naked’s, having the power of the GT with lesser weight and a handle geometry to suit the hooligan in you, it is sure to spice up any riders dreams. It will compete with the Hyosung GT 650 N and the upcoming Kawasaki ER-6n.
Younger sibling of the Incredibly Gorgeous TNT 1130, the 899 is just what a street Naked should be, sublime performance, stunning to look at and absolute gem of a handler. The TNT 899 has it all, and with expected CKD route, it might just be priced to take your breath away in awe.
What can we say about this motorcycle, launched way back in 2004, it still looks as if this beauty of a Motorcycle belongs to the future. Possibly, one of the best ever incarnations of the naked motorcycle theme, a massively powerful motor allied to a funky design and capable chassis makes the Benelli TNT effortlessly good at wheelies and general A-road honing. The Benelli TNT is probably the most ‘out there’ motorcycle money can buy.
Benelli Tre K 1130
It may be ironic that the best bike this Italian firm, which is steeped in racing history, has built isn’t a superbike, but the Benelli Tre K is a superb, Multistrada-esque, do-anything, all-purpose street motorcycle and it really is very, very good.