Leancino means lion cub, or little lion in Italian speak. A very apt name for this little beast, it’s rather impressive what Benelli have managed to achieve with this engine. It’s 502cc, parallel twin produces 35kW @8500rpm with max torque of 46Nm available @6000rpm. The delivery is smooth and controllable (great for new riders), with a decent wallop of urgency rising somewhere in the mix. It feels at least as fast as the lovely 650 twins that is seeing Royal Enfield enjoy a lot of success in the marketplace; and that is impressive. I don’t quite understand how it’s happening from a 500cc machine of similar tuning levels (maybe it’s the near 30kg less curb weight?), but I like it.
Based on a stylish 125cc predecessor dating back to 1951, the Leoncino is packed with little design features that would surely make the classic proud. Standing front and centre on the fender is a lion ornament, then there’s the Benelli branded grips, bars and clutch perch cover, and the Leoncino insignia is even engraved on the fuel cap. Was there ever a chance it could look bad, when Benelli’s lead designer is called Stefano Casanova?
Handling the Leoncino is enjoyable, the wide bars and up-right riding position allowing for easy turn in. A low centre of gravity also aids in the ease of tip-in, with the heft (still 170kg even though it’s a fair bit less than the RE) giving a sense of plantedness mid-corner.
The dash includes a gear indicator in its’ readings, but otherwise doesn’t contain much worthy of noting. Given the price tag on these machines,’ $9,390 new, it’s a lot of bike packed in there. This used model from 2019 has accrued 17,380kms and is a ripe old bargain at just $6,990. Come in and view it today, bring your helmet as you’ll want to experience it for yourself. Ring the bank ahead of time, you’ll be chuffed if this ends up in your garage.