Here's a tasty selection of images of Benelli's latest offering
With the launch of the Leoncino, Benelli has offered Indian buyers a more affordable method to get their hands on its 500cc parallel-twin motor platform. Priced at Rs 4.79 lakh (ex-showroom India), the scrambler undercuts the TRK 502 by Rs 30,000. We recently took a short spin on the Leoncino and were pretty impressed with the scrambler. And in case you have missed it, you can read all about the bike here. However, here's a delicious set of imagery of Benelli's urban scrambler.
If there was a list of motorcycles for the hipster biker, the Leoncino would definitely be on it. The chunky forks and wide handlebars resemble those of the Harley-Davidson Street-Rod, while the Leoncino’s overall shape will remind you of the Ducati Scrambler.
The fuel tank slopes downwards to meet the seat in a teardrop-like shape which does look rather elegant. Paint finish is certainly the best that we’ve seen on any Benelli motorcycle, and it gives the Leoncino a premium feel.
Then there is an overdose of black. The tubular steel frame, the tubular steel swingarm, the chunky suspension units, alloy rims and the engine are doused in black. All these black bits give this otherwise cute design a slightly sinister look.
The 785mm seat height and the bike’s narrow width allow riders of all heights to get their feet on the ground without any issues. The wide handlebars do provide loads of leverage to turn the bike, but their sheer width might make them a stretch to reach for riders with shorter limbs, especially when turning the handlebar fully to either side.
There is enough room to move around in the seat and even larger riders won’t complain about a lack of space. What they might complain about though is that the rider’s seat might feel a little hard for long journeys.
The Leoncino features LED lighting all around - headlight, taillight as well as the indicators. The tail-lamp in particular looks smashing. However, when it comes to illumination, the LED headlamp does not do a great job of lighting the road.
Benelli has kitted the Leoncino with a fully-digital LCD instrument cluster. The layout is neatly spread out with the data easily readable in all light conditions. The amount of data is quite limited as you do not get a distance-to-empty readout or mileage calculator.
This is the same engine that’s also found on the TRK 502 adventure tourer. Engine output remains unchanged but Benelli has changed the sprocket sizes, giving the Leoncino shorter final ratios.
Roll on the throttle hard and the Leoncino surges forward with a spring in its step. In isolation, the acceleration test results suggest that the Leoncino is a reasonably quick motorcycle.
Out on the highway, this motor is capable of sustaining 120kmph in sixth gear all day with the tacho indicating 6000rpm. It has the potential to do speeds in excess of 150kmph but the lack of any wind protection might deter you from carrying such speeds too often.
Gear shifts on the Leoncino are slick. However, there was a lot of play in the shifter linkages on our test bike, and that required much more movement of the gear lever when shifting up. And because of this, while upshifting from first to second gear, we would often end up mis-shifting into neutral.
Thankfully, this cub has the roar synonymous with Benelli motorcycles. It is loud and growls upwards of 4000rpm.
Out of all the modern Benellis that we have tested, the Leoncino is hands-down the most fun-to-ride bike of them all. Some of the components feel a bit over engineered, such as the wider-than-necessary tyres or the massive 50mm front fork. While these might have been more of aesthetic choices on Benelli’s part, they do a really great job of making the bike feel composed when changing directions.
Coming to ride quality, at slow speeds, the rear shock does feel a bit stiff on the Leoncino. Ride over bad roads, and you’re sure to feel every thud in your path. The front is more forgiving, soaking in the small stuff. But once the speed goes up, the ride improves and the suspension smoothens out most road imperfections.
The Leoncino possess some heavy duty braking equipment. It puts the kit to good use as the Leoncino is a quick stopper. It stops nearly 2.5m shorter than the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 from 100kmph and in the same test, it traverses 3.5m lesser than the TRK 502.
The Leoncino is a very likeable motorcycle. It looks great, sounds better and rides even better. The stiff slow speed ride will take a bit of getting used to, but it is certainly the best Benelli on sale in India right now. And that makes its asking price of Rs 4.79 lakh really sweet.