Benelli with its rich history, established in 1911, which makes Benelli one of the oldest Italian motorcycle manufacturers. We found a surprising ride with the Benelli Leoncino 500.
At first glance the Leoncino looks pretty close to an Italian counter-part, weighing in at 196kg (wet), looks and feels abit heavy when the Leoncino is stationary and while riding slow, you may feel the weight factor, but as you speed up, the weigh actually stabilize the bike, and tackles the corners, weather is sharp or high speed is no longer an issue for small size riders like me. The more you ride the Leoncino, the more it grows on you.
The 502cc 48hp engine give out an unique engine sound which you will never hear in a 500cc 2 cylinder bike. Leoncino actually falls in the Modern Retro category.
During the Benelli Dynamite Day organized by M-Force Holding the official Benelli assembler in Malaysia at the Elite Speedway, we had chance to try out the new TNT135 Limited Edition, RFS150cc and Leoncino 500.
The modern retro Leoncino, we briefly rode it at the launch last year at Penang the launch ground car park, wasn’t enough to get any feel but when got test it at the Elite Speedway, it was a different note. We were really impress with the handling and the smoothness of the Leoncino after a few laps. The single adjustable rear mono shock provided ample compression and rebound to maintain a good grip with standard 17” alloy wheels with 160/60-ZR17 size tyre, in the front upside down suspension with wheel size 120/70-ZR17 delivers ample handling and grip from the front at casual riding speed. (My meaning of casual riding speed is above 60km/h) and with styling and designed at the CentroStile Benelli does deliver an Italian feel even when Benelli is owned by a Chinese firm. Much input in development still remains Italian.
The front ABS brakes feels abit spongy if you try hard braking from high speed but I felt the brakes are good enough for weekend twisty rides.
Price at RM29,678, including GST and excluding road tax, insurance and registration looks good to hit the market.