Benelli is bringing back the Leoncino Scrambler to the US market, through SSR Motorsports, in a Chinese/Italian mash-up.
Benelli is an ancient Italian moto-brand, but in recent years, the marque’s been bought out by Chinese money. That’s where the 500-series machines are made now, including the Leoncino Scrambler, which has Benelli’s liquid-cooled parallel twin engine, with DOHC, EFI, six-speed gearbox and a claimed 48-horsepower output.
The rest of the bike is contemporary scrambler styling, similar to what Ducati peddles. There’s a steel lattice frame, inverted front forks, a laydown monoshock in rear, and 17-inch cast wheels front and back, with Pirelli Angel ST radial tires. Obviously, with those rims, this bike isn’t intended for rugged offroad beatings; it’s a scrambler in name only. The 2-1 low-mount exhaust is another hint at the bike’s intended usage, and there’s plenty of modern plastic bodywork.
Still, with almost 50 ponies on tap and a stripped-down design, Benelli’s machine should be a fun little scoot with modern features. The Leoncino Scrambler has dual 320mm brake discs up front, with four-pot calipers, as well as a 260mm single-disc brake in back. There’s digital instrumentation (an LCD dash, it seems), and LED headlight.
Benelli’s selling the Leoncino Scrambler for $6,199 in the US for 2021. You can buy a pretty decent Japanese bike for that money, but Benelli’s machines have plenty of Euro flair, at least. The company seems keen to re-establish its US presence. Will it succeed? Machines like the Leoncino Scrambler will determine that, depending on their reliability and performance.