The gossip has come true: Benelli is building a big sport-tourer. The new Benelli 1200GT is already in production, and according to British motorcycle mags, it’s headed to that market in coming months.
In early 2020, we started hearing talk about Benelli’s new 1200GT sport tourer, with a supposed release later that year. Welp, COVID happened, which is probably why we aren’t seeing the bike actually built until now.
So. What’s the 1200GT all about? For a made-in-China motorcycle, it’s surprisingly hot stuff. The engine is a liquid-cooled 1209 cc inline triple. It’s a descendant of Benelli’s wayyyy old 898 cc three-cylinder that debuted in the late 1990s; thanks to constant development, it now makes 134 horsepower at 9,000 rpm (respectable) and 88.5 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. That second figure confirms this engine should have plenty of jam for touring, even with luggage and/or a pillion.
The GT also has a massive TFT screen. Brembo brakes are standard, with Bosch ABS. Wait, isn’t this machine made in China? Yes, but the manufacturers can (and do) order many of these components from a catalog, and that’s what’s happening here. The stuff that can be cheaply made in China, is cheaply made in China. Higher-spec parts needed from Europe are sourced from Europe … but don’t be surprised if similar parts are coming out of China soon. Brembo already has an Indian subsidiary, after all.
Along with high-tech mechanical bits, the GT also has such plush features as hard bags, electronically-adjustable mirrors, heated seats and grips, camera-driven collision warning system, TPMS, and more more more more. This machine has far more in common with pricey, high-end Euro tourers than it does with the Lifan and Zongshen dual sports that China was selling a decade ago.
Benelli isn’t the only company working on these kinds of plans. CFMoto is building a massive 1250 sport tourer, which will likely also be in Europe soon.
Really, it’s the ultimate combination of Euro know-how and Chinese economy. Is it a good thing for the motorcycle industry in the long run, or bad? Seeing journo and everyday rider reviews of the bike when it comes out will help us judge that.