Benelli will be on a roll this financial year with a host of new offerings lined up for launch. Having introduced the Benelli 302R full faired bike recently, the Italian bike maker plans to launch three new motorcycles including the Leoncino, TRK 502 and an all-new quarter-litre street offering. The last one though has us the most excited. Speaking to Carandbike.com, Motowheels Chairman, Shirish Kulkarni said that a new 300-400 cc street motorcycle is in the offing and will be introduced at the 2018 Auto Expo. The bike is being developed specifically for the Indian market.
Kulkarni said that the quarter-litre street motorcycle in question is being co-developed by Benelli and with inputs from the latter's R&D department. The bike will be manufactured in India with components sourced domestically, unlike the 302R which has parts imported from Italy. The quarter-litre street naked will be powered by a single-cylinder engine. Kulkarni further said that the bike is currently under the homologation and certification process.
Little is known about the upcoming street motorcycle, especially given it will be an India specific motorcycle. It will be interesting though to see if the new offering will borrow design influences from the upcoming TNT 750 GS, a middleweight street motorcycle which in turn borrows cues from the Ducati Monster series. Benelli could also use the Trellis frame from the 302R on its upcoming single-cylinder offering, helping shed weight and make for an agile bike. From what we've learned about Benellis, the upcoming too will get an exciting exhaust note.
Prices can be expected in the vicinity of ₹ 2.4-2.8 lakh (ex-showroom) for the upcoming street naked providing enough breathing space against the entry-level Benelli TNT 25 250 cc street-fighter. Needless to say, Benelli will be taking the fight to the KTM 390 Duke and that should make for an interesting duel.
Benelli currently has 26 dealerships across the country and aims to expand up to 55 by the end of this fiscal. The extended network, Shirish Kulkarni says, will help retail the bike and "is extremely important for a bike as friendly as this one".
Having started its operations in India in 2015, Benelli has found a liking in the domestic market and is aiming to grow further. An India specific motorcycle also stands testimony to the potential the premium motorcycle market has to offer and the partnership is aiming to cash-in on the potential. Revealing at the launch, Kulkarni said Benelli sold 4200 units last year and aims to sell about 6000 in the 2017 calendar year with about 1000-1500 units being contributed by the newly launched 302R.