The BN 302 and BN 600 will be first of the 5 major products to be launched in the country and will come in via the CKD route to keep prices competitive.
Earlier today, DSK and Benelli officially announced its partnership that will see the Italian manufacturer retail its range of high performance and mass market motorcycles in the country in the near future. Having showcased five of its motorcycles today, we take a look at these new offerings that will soon enter the battleground to grab a chunk in the premium end of the Indian two-wheeler market. With the company’s roots dating to over a century old, Benelli surely has some interesting offerings that will appeal to quite a few in the Indian market.
Starting with what will be its most popular offering in the country, the Benelli BN 302 will be one of the first bikes to be launched by the manufacturer. Launched internationally in late 2013, the BN 302 is underpinned by a Trellis frame and offers a striking design inspired from the bigger BN 600 while also giving that bigger bike feel. Powering the street-fighter is a 300cc parallel-twin engine with fuel injection that produces 37 PS of power at 11,500 RPM and 27.1 Nm of torque at 9000 RPM, paired to a 6-speed transmission.
Suspension duties are performed by 41 mm inverted hydraulic-damping front forks and a single shock absorber mounted on to the right side at the rear. Stopping power comes from twin 260 mm discs at the front and a single 240 mm disc brake set-up at the rear. Only available in a naked version, the BN 302 definitely packs in the punch needed in this segment and Benelli could develop a full-faired version at a later stage. With the customer spoilt for choice, the manufacturer will have to price the BN 302 very attractively against the likes of the KTM Duke 390, Suzuki Inazuma and the newly launched Kawasaki Z250 in the segment. A price tag of around Rs. 2.6 lakhs (ex-showroom) is expected for the BN 302.
Next up is the elder sibling Benelli BN 600 series that is offered in two versions namely BN 600 GT and BN 600 I street-fighter. The BN 600 I carries an aggressively styled body with the 4-cylinders popping out beautifully, while the BN 600 GT gets a front fairing to make the model more touring friendly. Powering both the versions is the same 650cc 4-cylinder 4-stroke, 16-valve, liquid-cooled, DOHC engine. On the naked BN 600 I, the motor produces 82 PS of power at 11,500 RPM and 52 Nm of torque at 10,500 RPM, while on the BN 600 GT the engine has been tuned to offer 82 PS at 11,000 RPM and 55 Nm of torque at 8000 RPM. Both the models come paired to a 6-speed gearbox.
Based on a Trellis frame, the Benelli BN 600 twins get 50 mm upside-down forks at the front and a aluminium single shock absorber at the rear. Stopping power comes from Brembo sourced twin 320 mm floating discs at the front and a single 240 mm disc brake at the rear. The bikes get 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 120/70 and 180/55 tyres at the front and rear respectively. The BN 600 range will be competing with a range of options including the Kawasaki Ninja 650 and ER-6n as well as the Hyosung GT650N and 650R in the segment. With priced expected to be competitive, the BN 600 range could start at Rs. 6 lakhs (ex-showroom).
Benelli will be bringing the models via the CKD route that will help the company price its range more competitively. DSK will set-up independent showrooms for Benelli with 8 scheduled to be operational by January 2015 out of the 20 outlets planned to open across the country by end of next year. Competing in the premium end, Benelli will first launch 5 high performance motorcycles before moving on to more mass market offerings including scooters.