Not a whole lot of people know Benelli motorcycles. The originally-Italian marque has been producing motorcycles since the early 1900s. In 2002, the Qianjiang Group (Q.J.) bought Benelli. SSR Motorsports distributes the Chinese-owned Benelli motorcycles in North America, and has since 2015.
In case you’re wondering, the bikes are designed and developed in Italy, Benelli’s marketing is based out of Italy, but the parent company Q.J. builds the bikes in Wenling, China. Does that mean the bikes is Italian or Chinese? I’ll let you, dear reader, decide that one.
All that said, you can find SSR Motorsports dealers in the US currently offering the TRK 502 Adventure bike. That 502 looks a whole lot like the Benelli designers stayed up too late drinking with a Multistrada and then had to turn their papers in.
What About the New One?
To the point: leaked Chinese documents detailing a new Benelli 702 show… a larger engine stuffed into the TRK502 chassis, without much difference except the total lack of a windshield. But that’s OK, because that not-a-Multistrada middleweight Italian adventure bike pops up squarely in the hottest motorcycle segment going. The question is, will Benelli replace the 502 with the 702, or are they embracing the power of “and?” The other question is, will that windshield be an add-on option along with the luggage?
The 702 moniker does not reflect the engine displacement except in general terms – it sports a 693cc (700-class) parallel-twin engine (thus the “2”). The leaked photos and specs of the new bikes tell the same middleweight-adventure story everyone knows by heart now. The TRK502 was a surprise hit in Italy last year, so why not just stuff a bigger engine in there?
If those unofficial docs are to be believed, we’re looking at a 75hp, 525lb, chain-final-drive machine. Photos show both cast and spoked wheels depending on the version. TRK702X, just like its 500-class brother, is more dirt-oriented, with spoked wheels, and the TRK702 more pavement-oriented, with cast wheels.
You may remember reading about a TRK800 here, which is suspiciously similar but sports a wholly different engine. Different markets and different demands may mean Benelli’s adventure bikes will be about as easy to keep track of as BMW’s. For now, though, it looks as though any debut Benelli manages for the 702s, will be a European one.