2017 Benelli TRK 502 Rise of the phoenix
Benelli is back with a bang with its all-new learner friendly adventure-oriented TRK 502.
The TRK 502 is the first in Benelli’s new range of middleweight machines using the same 499cc, liquid-cooled, eight-valve parallel-twin engine. It’s a fantastic engine that offers smooth power straight from the off. Thumb the starter, and it booms immediately into life, settling to a (slightly high) 1400rpm idle while delivering a muted but menacing throb.
The A2 licence-friendly engine pulls from 2000rpm to the 10,400rpm redline in twist-and-go style that requires minimal use of the sixspeed gearbox – making it perfect for learners. Admittedly acceleration can be a little leisurely, but it does weigh in at a relatively hefty 213kg dry. It’s also got a 20 litre fuel tank that Benelli reckons will deliver an impressive 300 mile range. The speeds it’s capable of are more than adequate for most commuting situations; it’ll sit comfortably at 65-75mph, and if you really push it, you’ll be able to get up to 100mph – though not especially quickly, so you’ll need to plan overtakes well in advance.
Gear changes are smooth and efficient. The suspension is good too, a little soft, but it offers a comfortable ride. The front features inverted forks, and the rear has a single telescopic oil-damped coil spring. They can feel a little spongy under heavy braking, but that’s the sacrifice you make for comfort on pothole laden roads.
For stopping, you’ve got ABS assisted twin 320mm discs up front with twin-piston calipers, and at the rear a single 260mm disc. They’re quite progressive, and need quite a bit of pressure if you want to stop in a hurry. The wheels are both 17in, but there’s talk of Benelli introducing a more off-road oriented TRK 502 with a larger 19in front wheel.
The current model does, however, allow you to switch off the ABS if you fancy getting stuck into some off-road.
It’s got a decent size, non-adjustable screen which did a good job of keeping the worst of the wind off me at speed – and a big fairing, and heavy duty crash protection to tuck behind too. There’s an easy to read dash, with an analogue tacho and digital speedo, with water temperature, clock, mileage, fuel gauge, a couple of trips and a gear indicator. All the lights are LED, and provide ample visibility at night. The seat is sunk into the bike, giving an almost cruiser style feel on first impressions – the pegs are a little further forward than average, and the bars can be a little bit of a reach.
It does offer a great deal of comfort though, and allows you to soak up the miles in a relatively relaxed riding position. There’s a USB socket mounted on the left side of the fairing near the handlebar, which is great for charging a sat-nav, but sadly there’s no pocket to tuck stuff away in. The test bike also came with a couple of Givi metal cases mounted, which sadly aren’t standard equipment on the bike. They cost a shade over £400 from Benelli’s range of aftermarket accessories.
In short, the TRK 502 is an affordable, accessible adventure tourer, with a big bike look and feel. It’s not made for speed, but if you’re looking for an old-school, learnerfriendly machine on a budget, that’s capable of tackling some serious miles – then it’s worth a test ride.