The latest addition to the Benelli stable might come as something of a surprise to many motorcyclists, with it being totally at odds with the three cylinder superbikes and touring machines that have come before it. But the 502c actually has rather a lot in common with the side of Benelli’s product that is less well-known in the UK.
After the company were taken over by the Chinese company, Qianjiang, a few years ago, the focus has moved away from top-of-the-market sports bikes and super-trailies, and more towards practical, mid-capacity commuter bikes and scooters. The new 500c is, with little doubt, the most radical of the new bikes in terms of style, yet uses the same powerplant as a number of other models in the rejuvenated Benelli line-up, with the double overhead cam, four valves per cylinder water-cooled lump producing a A2 licence compliant 47bhp.
The engine isn’t an ugly unit, and has pride of the place in the Leoncino, yet is almost totally tucked out of sight on the 502c, with numerous plastic panels in and around the steel trellis frame. The frame, and long, swooping fuel tank over the top, give a hump-backed style very similar to a large-capacity muscle bike produced by another Italian company (no names mentioned), and Benelli clearly have followed this style with the aggressive-looking headlight and tail unit with the twin, vertically-mounted tail lights.
Visually, the specification matches the style, with multi-spoked aluminium wheels, upside-down forks and radially-mounted calipers and tubular asymmetrical swinging arm, yet the price, at £5,499 is acceptable to even the deepest of pockets.
A smooth power delivery, punchy bottom end and the huge 21 litre fuel tank suggest superb commuting abilities, while the bucket seat and surprisingly amenable ergonomics allow for longer distances, with a delightfully neutral steering and motorway cruising abilities.
For the full launch report, pick up the August issue of Motorcycle Monthly. For more information on how to get hold of one, click HERE.