Benelli has entered the mid-size cruiser market, and put together a mighty tidy package. They’ve been a little ostentatious with their styling, with more than a subtle line or two of design inspiration coming from Ducati’s Diavel. But I actually received a nod from a rider on a Diavel, so I guess it’s fine! It certainly looks great and has a lot of presence on-road for a LAMS approved bike in the sub 10k category.
The clutch is kind to newbies, progressive and easy to operate, an impressive feat when there’s plenty of low-down torque available. It does feel more sporty than the cruiser styling suggests, and the power delivery keeps on giving all the way up to a peak of 35kW@8,500rpm with torque of 45Nm@5000rpm. The power feels very linear, with an urgent poke available anywhere, but not too much to frighten the novice rider. Grip from the Pirelli’s is confidence inspiring, and the wide bars seem to counter the cruiser rake and allow for a sharp turn-in. Benelli have positioned the forward controls a little higher than normal, so ground clearance isn’t such an issue when playing spiritedly in the twisties.
The 2020 used bike tested is currently in our stock and still includes the factory warranty, has only 800km on the clock, offers a bargain at just $8,790
Sharing the same 502cc parallel twin 8-valve engine with the TRK and the Leoncino models. This allows Benelli to save costs on R&D, and offer a more affordable package. They’ve made the Cruiser feel sharper than the others in the range, with shorter gearing, dual throttle-bodies and delphi ignition. It pulls up very abruptly with 4-piston calipers on the front dual discs.
Them’s the brakes, and they’ll stop you good!
My only foibles were the wide bars and height of them, made for mirror clipping risks when splitting traffic. Switching to bar-end mirrors that hang below could be an option without sacrificing the aesthetics. Also the ride is rather firm, so avoid bumps where possible. Perhaps the 108-year-old brand just couldn’t resist opting for sportiness even when making a bit of a cruiser. Let’s not forget, the last time an Aussie won a 250cc (Moto 2 equivalent) world championship, it was Kel Carruthers racing for Benelli in 1969.
502C Digital dash is modern chic
I can see why the 502C has won the BikeSales award for ‘Best LAMS Cruiser’ the last two-years running. It’s cradle seat holds you in comfortably and the giant 21L fuel tank should provide a range of 580km on Benelli’s consumption claims of 3.7L/100km. Other fruits include the colour TFT dash, providing crisp display during both night riding and day, and the LED indicators all-round, even blaring the brand name from the rear brake light.
Letting those behind you know when you’re stopping, and what you’re riding