Benelli TRK 502 & 502X Review
Bike Tested: Benelli TRK 502 & 502X; Road Test No. 1068; Test Location: Chikmagalur, Karnataka
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 6,40,700/- (Benelli TRK 502), Rs. 6,92,360/- (Benelli TRK 502X)
The Benelli TRK 502 can take you places that look beautiful while the TRK 502X can take you through the unexplored path!
Exactly 3 years ago Benelli showcased a series of motorcycles at the IBW, one of which was the TRK 502. Almost everyone visiting the Benelli stall was intrigued by the TRK and the only question everyone had was when is it coming. After a small break, Benelli is back and they’ve launched not one but two TRK motorcycles, the 502 and the 502X. We travelled to the coffee land of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, to check out what these motorcycles have for us. Was it an adventure, touring, a mix of both or just something else?
Motor Quest: The TRK series of Benelli consists of adventure-tourer motorcycles and come mated to either a 250cc or a 500cc motor. Benelli recently launched the TRK 502 in India along with the 502X. While the 502 is a road-biased tourer, the 502X comes with bigger tyres and has more off-road capabilities.
Styling - A quick glance and the TRK will have your attention. Both the 502 and 502X are quite big and put out a lot of road presence. The bike is really bulky and quite muscular, yet the design is subjective as some might not like it that much. Some might even say that it looks quite similar to the Ducati Multistrada and it does! The massive faring proportions, front beak, high-raised windscreen visor and the exposed trellis frame make it look quite purposeful. Both the bikes get halogen headlamps while there are LEDs in the DRL, indicator and taillight.
The 502 gets a belly exhaust while the 502X comes around with a swept-up exhaust giving it more off-road character. This also makes way for a main-stand which the 502 does not get. There are a lot of tubular bits around which have some purpose or the other. The swingarm is also made up of a tubular structure which omits the box section cost-saving design. While the 502 gets 17-inch alloy wheels both at the front and the rear, the 502X gets spoked wheels with a 19-inch front wheel and a 17-inch wheel at the rear. Both the motorcycles get a split-seat setup and while they stand next to each other, the overall difference is quite noticeable.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear - Both the bikes get an analogue-digital instrument cluster but the console is quite basic. The tachometer is analogue while everything is put inside the digital LCD. It displays the necessary information like the odometer, twin trip meters, speedometer, fuel gauge, engine temperature, gear position indicator and a clock. However, with the toggle of a button, you can switch between miles and kilometres. There is a set of tell-tale lights which covers the digital area. The switchgear quality is decent and there's a piano black finish on the buttons. Apart from the regular switches, both the bikes get a switchable ABS button on the left and a hazard switch on the right.
Ergonomics - The seating posture is upright and the footpegs are slightly front-set making it quite comfortable. The TRK 502 has a seat height of 800 mm which is easily accessible by all kind of riders. I was able to flat-foot on the TRK 502, but the 502X has a seat height which is 40 mm taller. The increase in height is just 30 mm but the seat is almost 10 mm thicker adding on some extra height and cushioning. The seats are quite comfortable and the pillion would just love to be onboard. However, with the panniers, getting on and off is a little bit of a hassle for the rider as well as the pillion. Mirrors are quite useful on both the bikes but the visor upfront isn't crystal clear and it doesn't really help the rider see through it in off-road conditions.
Performance - Powered by a 500cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine, the TRK 502 produces 47.5 PS of power at 8500 RPM and 46 Nm of torque at 6000 RPM. The throttle response is decent enough while the powerband is all in the top-end. There is a good low-end to stutter around but the motor lacks a mid-range punch. Between 4000-6500 RPM, the power just dips and the revs build up quite slowly on a rolling throttle. Although, the bike reaches the ton in the third gear itself and can cruise at 100 km/hr on the top gear at 5500 RPM. The 502 can achieve a top speed of 170 km/hr while the 502X can do up to 162 km/hr. There is a difference as the 502X has two extra teeth on the larger sprocket for better off-road. One can achieve up to 27 km/l but if pushed hard and fast, the mileage drops down to 20 km/l.
The exhaust note from the parallel-twin is mind-blowing, sounds like an inline-4
The clutch weighs up nicely but does not hurt the palms in an on-off riding situation. Gear shifts are quite crisp, however, clutchless shifts are not recommended. At idle and below the powerband, the motor feels quite smooth but as the revs build up vibrations start kicking in. Post 6000 RPM the rider can feel the buzz on the footpegs, seat and the handlebar. There is no harshness what-so-ever and neither is there any kind of unwanted noise coming in. The exhaust note is just brilliant while the one on the 502X is slightly louder too. The engine might not be an extreme performer but it has a jaw-dropping note to it.
Riding Dynamics - Both the 502 and the 502X translate the difference in the dynamics very well. The bikes are feedback rich while the road going 502 stays much more planted on tarmac and tips in to corner really well. The 235 kgs of gross weight does help the motorcycle hold its line well. While the same case is for the 502X in off-road situations, it feels slightly heavy but in control most of the times. The thick 50 mm front inverted telescopic forks are stiffly sprung while the rear monoshock has rebound adjustments. One can play around with the suspension settings and can get the perfect ride for any situation. The ergonomics have it right and are very comfortable for touring duties. However, the tank might bother to a few as it hits the inner thigh if anyone is standing up while riding.
The TRK might be heavy but the dynamics are feedback rich and the bike responds well to to the rider's inputs
The TRK 502 is equipped with Pirelli rubber while the 502X gets dual-purpose Metzeler rubber. The tyres on the 502 are thicker and perfect for tarmac and touring purpose while the Metzelers are slightly thinner and do well for good or bad roads. However, they tend to lose grip if the road gets really bad. Equipped with dual-channel switchable ABS, the 502 gets regular radial discs and calipers. While the 502X gets petal discs and floating callipers, both the bikes get same-sized discs and calipers. Under heavy braking neither of the two nose dive and the feedback from the brakes is commendable. It takes effort to stop these heavy bikes and the brakes do their job well.
Verdict – The Benelli TRK 502 is a road going tourer in its pure sense while the 502X adds to some off-road capabilities. It is not a pure off-roader, it is just an addition of hardware which will help it get through where the 502 might get stuck. For the price and the road presence these motorcycles have, they are quite appealing while the exhaust note is just a cherry on the cake. The only thing that would bother owners is the weight and the dependability for after-sales. The headlight might not be the best but an adventure tourer is a canvas that can take on things as per the need. Benelli is finally back with 2 beautiful motorcycles and if touring is the priority, the TRK 502 gives it all.
* Massive road presence which leads to a lot of attention
* Riding dynamics are perfect, the handling is feedback rich
* Quite affordable, gives the other parallel-twins tough rivalry
What’s Not So Cool
* Gets a very basic instrument cluster
* Headlight illumination isn't the best
* Engine performance could have been more punchy
Benelli TRK 502 Specifications
* Engine: 500cc, Parallel-Twin, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 8-Valves
* Power: 47.5 PS @ 8500 RPM
* Torque: 46 Nm @ 6000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-Speed
* Top Speed: 180 km/hr (502)
* Top Speed: 172 km/hr (502X)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Fuel Consumption: 18-25 km/l
* Frame: Tubular Trellis Frame
* Suspension: Inverted Telescopic Forks (Front), Adjustable Mono Shock (Rear)
* Tyres: 120/70/17 (Front), 160/60/17 (Rear), Pirelli (502)
* Tyres: 110/80/19 (Front), 150/70/17 (Rear), Metzeler (502X)
* Brakes: 320 mm Dual Disc (Front), 260 mm Disc (Rear), Dual-Channel Switchable ABS
Benelli TRK 502 Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 2200 mm x 915 mm x 1450 mm (502)
* Length x Width x Height: 2220 mm x 915 mm x 1480 mm (502X)
* Wheelbase: 1505 mm
* Seat Height: 800 mm (502)
* Seat Height: 840 mm (502X)
* Ground Clearance: 190 mm (502)
* Ground Clearance: 220 mm (502X)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 20-litres
* Kerb weight: 235 kgs
Benelli TRK 502
Benelli TRK 502 Review
Powered by a 500cc, parallel-twin motor, the TRK 502 and 502X are the latest middle-weight offerings from Benelli in India. The TRK 502 is road-biased tourer while the 502X adds some adventure elements with dual-purpose tyres and better ground clearance. The motor produces 47.5 PS of power and 46 Nm of torque while having a very linear power delivery. Both the motorcycles weigh close to 235 kgs which makes them quite heavy for a middle-weight proposition. Yet, they have the road presence of a bigger litre-class adventure tourer. While Benelli’s after-sales network isn’t as good as rivals, the bikes are cheaper by a significant margin.