The year 2019 has been pretty exciting for the Italian motorcycle brand Benelli as they have been on a launching spree in India. After the Benelli TRK 502 and 502X, the brand was not too late to introduce the Benelli Leoncino 500 and a Leoncino 250 which use the same engine from the TRK 502 and the TNT 250 respectively.
Benelli sure wants to get a stronghold of the Indian automotive market and this is why they have now launched the Benelli Imperiale 400, a modern-retro motorcycle from the house of the Italian two-wheeler maker.
The Benelli Imperiale 400 comes as a modern interpretation of the MotoBi models which Benelli used to produce in the 1950s. A first look at the motorcycle and you are sure to find many similarities with a few motorcycles in this segment. There are several chrome elements on the motorcycle which definitely lend it a character to it. The Imperiale 400 sports a round headlamp as well as round indicators and an oval-shaped taillamp. Like on most of the motorcycles we see these days, you do not get any LED lighting on offer. The twin-pod analogue-digital instrument cluster displays all information, tell-tale lights and also gets small digital panels for the trip, time, odometer, gear and fuel-level display.
The motorcycle looks quite impressive given the 12-litre teardrop-shaped tank. It gets a lot of black treatment as well on the engine as well as the side panels, silencer as well as the front and rear mudguards with black split seats with colour contrast stitching. Overall, it is a handsome looking motorcycle which reflects the retro out loud.
Powering the Imperiale 400 is an air-cooled, 374cc, fuel-injected SOHC engine which makes about 21 PS of peak power and 29 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox. Now coming to the ride quality, the Imperiale 400 offers a good rideability both on and off the pavement, thanks to the relaxed seating position and the 19-inch 100 section front and 18-inch 130 section rear tyres shod on spoke wheels. The suspension duties are taken care of by 41mm telescopic forks at the front and twin shock absorbers at the rear with preload-adjustability. Braking department gets a 300mm disc at the front and a 240mm disc at the rear along with dual-channel ABS as a standard offering.
Coming to the ride quality, the rear suspension feels a bit stiff, especially at slow speeds but surprisingly handles Indian road conditions quite well. It is happy to cruise all-day at speeds up to 100km/hr without even breaking a sweat. Heating on the motorcycle is not really evident. At 205 kgs, it is slightly heavy, but you would feel the weight only when parking or in traffic doing dead speeds. Take it off the pavement and you will be surprised how well it holds on to the off-road patches despite having less ground clearance. The TVS tyres seemed to offer a firm grip even when being pushed.
The Benelli Imperiale 400 rivals the likes of the Royal Enfield Classic 350, the Jawa variants. Priced at Rs. 1.69 lakhs (ex-showroom), the Imperiale 400 is a strong contender in this segment for the price it is being offered for. What you get are solid build quality and a 3-year unlimited-kilometre warranty. The company is also offering free services for the first two years which makes it an even more interesting proposition for someone who is looking to buy a retro-themed motorcycle which can do touring as well as occasional rough terrains.
Engine – 374cc,Four-stroke, Fuel-injected, SOHC, Air-cooled
Power – 21 PS @ 5500 rpm
Torque – 29 Nm @4500 rpm
Transmission – 5-Speed