BENELLI TARGET BMW’S RT
New 1200cc triple engine set to power affordable new tourer
Last year we brought you the first design drawings of Benelli’s forthcoming 1200cc three-cylinder touring bike (far right) and now we’ve got images of the new engine that’s set to power it.
Branded ‘Qjiang’ on the sides in deference to the company’s Chinese owners, Qianjiang, the cam cover of the new motor reveals its real intentions with the word ‘Benelli’ cast into it. And although largely hidden by an oil cooler line, the right hand side of the cylinder casting appears to be marked ‘1200’ – confirming suspicions about the engine’s capacity.
The images show that the new engine carries over the same design thinking as the existing 1130cc Benelli triple, but it doesn’t appear to share any components. The crankcases, cylinder, covers and head castings are all new. As on most triples, there’s clearly a hefty balancer shaft mounted ahead of the crankshaft.
Unlike previous Benelli triples, this one uses a shaft-drive transmission. That’s because it’s to be used initially in a touring bike, and is also likely to appear in a large adventure-style model – mimicking Triumph’s use of a similar shaft-drive, 1200cc triple in both the Trophy and the Explorer models. That means it’s not designed for outright power; instead it will make somewhere around 140bhp with a wide spread of torque.
The Benelli 1200 is one of three major big-bike projects from the company. Before it, we’ll see a 750cc parallel twin – due to be released later this year – and a new 900cc three-cylinder naked.
‘Unlike previous Benelli triples, this new engine uses a shaft-drive final transmission’
All new engine is branded ‘Benelli’ on the cam cover