2017 Benelli TRK 502 Rise of the phoenix

Benelli is back with a bang with its all-new learner friendly ad­ven­ture-ori­ented TRK 502.

Motorcycle Monthly - - First Ride - WORDS: Ross Mow­bray PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: Gary Chap­man

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.