Benelli TRK 502
Benelli, under Chinese ownership since 2005, now has a 500cc parallel twin engine platform that does service in several guises; the Leoncino, a traditional looking city slicker, the TRK 502, and soon, the TRK 502 X, which is an Adventure-aimed machine based on the standard TRK 502.
It’s that middle model that is the subject of our test, and to position it, the TRK 502 is a learner-approved 500 with the styling cues of a GS BMW or Ducati Multistrada, with considerably less power. And considerably less price. For just $8,870 ride way, this motorcycle represents incredible value for money, and within reason, delivers pretty much all that is required for the average rider. OK, it’s no powerhouse, but the engine is flexible, happy to rev to 9,000, and it handles very well. Amazingly, the TRK weighs 235kg, which is 28kg more than the Leoncino, and that’s all down to the extra gear that’s been added in the adventure style; steel structure to hold the screen and top bodywork, higher-rise handlebars beefier rear end and luggage rack and so on. However I never found this weight to be a problem, and although initially a bit curious if the 800mm seat height would be comfortable for my 185cm build, I had no qualms after a 200km ride. On this ride I was accompanied by several 700/800cc bikes and I had no trouble keeping up.
Chassis-wise, the trellis frame looks impressive, as does the beefy front end with 50mm upside down forks with 145mm travel that would not seem out of place on a bike of twice the capacity. Front suspension is nonadjustable and the rear centrally- mounted shock has adjustment for the spring pre-load only. The brakes are very high specification with twin 320mm discs, but in no way fierce, do their job well, and for a learner rider, would be very easy to live with. The ABS system can be switched off if you fancy a bit of off-roading. I was impressed with the dash, which is well set out, with a digital speedo and analogue tacho, fuel gauge and clock and the usual indicator lights – all easy to read. There’s a 15V USB charging point near the dash for a GPS or phone. The screen is not adjustable but it seems to be in the right position for me. The bike handles very well, and the standard Pirelli Demon tyres have a hand in this. The only thing I was not keen on are the footrests which have fat, flat rubbers and feel a bit vague.
I do the Sydney to Phillip Island ride fairly regularly and I would have no problem doing the trip on the Benelli. Out on the open road it buzzes along at legal speeds very happily, and the 20 litre tank capacity also means you can do a very long stretch – Benelli say up to 400km (and my ride supports this) – before refuelling is necessary.
Overall, I think the TRK 502 is a surprisingly versatile mid-capacity tourer, that also happens to be LAMS approved.
ABOVE AND BELOW Rider and passenger seats are plush and comfortable.
Finish and attention to detail are first class.
Standard rear rack accepts Givi luggage. Fat 50mm forks with twin 320 discs on the front end.