2021 Benelli TRK 502 Review: Quite likeable, extremely well priced despite some rough patches

Benelli has a great brand recall among motorcycle enthusiasts and the TRK 502 is a likeable bike despite its ‘weight’ issues.

April 02, 2021 / 08:18 AM IST
There are no mechanical changes on this BS6-compliant bike. The ride quality on offer is comfortable, with bumps being easily absorbed. [Image: Benelli India]

There are no mechanical changes on this BS6-compliant bike. The ride quality on offer is comfortable, with bumps being easily absorbed. [Image: Benelli India]

If you are a motorcycle enthusiast of any sort, you will know that Benelli is one of the oldest and most legendary brands in the business (the company also makes firearms, by the way). Founded in Italy, Benelli is now owned by the Chinese Qianjiang group, and entered India in 2014, offering a range of interesting and relatively affordable motorcycles. Here, the company has gone through a few rough patches, but its products continue to be of interest for various reasons, one of which is that most of them sound absolutely glorious.

The TRK 502 is no different. It is one of those machines on which you’ll be tempted to keep whacking the throttle open—whether at idle or on the move—because that exhaust note is grin-inducing. I daresay your neighbours will get annoyed, but what is a neighbor or two when it comes to motorcycling pleasure? Anyway, this particular bike has a sibling, the TRK 502X, which has been designed to be a proper off-road adventure machine; for those who prefer to spend most of their riding time on tarmac, the TRK 502 is a better choice.

Benelli is now owned by the Chinese Qianjiang group [Image: Benelli India] Benelli is now owned by the Chinese Qianjiang group [Image: Benelli India]Let’s Talk Performance

The engine powering it is a gem, I have to say, quite apart from its exhaust note. It is a 500cc parallel twin which puts out 47.5 PS of power and 46 Nm of torque, and at the low and mid sections of the rev range, there is plenty of shove, which makes riding in city traffic very easy; the torque on offer also makes relaxed highway cruising almost effortless. I was able to just hold 120 kph and ride along for extended stretches on the highway, with the 502 not breaking a sweat.

What does also happen, however, is that if you want to switch to high octane, fast paced riding, the engine has to be revved rather hard, since the bike makes its peak power and torque past the 6000 rpm mark. It is also a very heavy machine, at 235 kg, so that is another reason you need to work the throttle hard.

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It is a 500cc parallel twin which puts out 47.5 PS of power and 46 Nm of torque [Image: Benelli India] It is a 500cc parallel twin which puts out 47.5 PS of power and 46 Nm of torque [Image: Benelli India]What makes all of it worthwhile in the end is that exhaust note, as I’ve said before – it is so satisfying that some throttle-wringing will not be an issue. Despite its weight (and it really is a bit of a chonk, being heavier than some other bikes with far more power and torque), you can hit 100 kph in just over 7 seconds, which is perfectly acceptable. What could have been worked on some more is the level of vibrations coming through the foot pegs and handlebars when you are revving hard, but this aspect is not a deal killer.

Newly developed exhaust system offers more refined power delivery, with a subtle yet addictive soundtrack. Newly developed exhaust system offers more refined power delivery, with a subtle yet addictive soundtrack. [Image: Benelli India]What About The Ride?

There are no mechanical changes on this BS6-compliant bike. The ride quality on offer is comfortable, with bumps being easily absorbed, and as I mentioned, long rides on highways are where it excels; the seat contributes here, with its width and plushness.

There are no mechanical changes on this BS6-compliant bike. There are no mechanical changes on this BS6-compliant bike. [Image: Benelli India]You can, at a pinch, take this bike off the road, and it’ll do just fine so long as you do not push it too hard. Its weight and top-heavy nature really come into focus here, and you’ll need some serious core strength and leg muscles to manoeuvre it around the broken stuff; the fuel tank is not the easiest to grip with your knees, either.

The potent 500cc, In-line 2-cylinder, DOHC, Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, fuel-injected engine, comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox, pumping out oodles of fun. Producing 47.5PS @ 8500rpm, with peak torque of 46Nm available at 6000rpm. The potent 500cc, In-line 2-cylinder, DOHC, Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, fuel-injected engine, comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox, pumping out oodles of fun. Producing 47.5PS @ 8500rpm, with peak torque of 46Nm available at 6000rpm. [Image: Benelli India]There are some minor changes on the bike in terms of equipment, mainly by way of back-lighting. The instrumentation is of a digi-analogue style, and the digital display and analogue tacho are backlit, as are the switches, which now also look noticeably better. The mudguard in front is the same colour as the body (as opposed to black) and the mirrors now have some texturing on them. Overall, this is a handsome machine and is guaranteed to get you some attention, especially when you rev it hard.

The mudguard in front is the same colour as the body [Image: Benelli India] The mudguard in front is the same colour as the body [Image: Benelli India]The TRK 502 is thus still a very likeable bike, with some cosmetic add-ons thrown in, and at Rs 4.8 lakh, it is extremely well priced – it is almost Rs 2 lakh less than some of its rivals and is in fact cheaper than the BS4 model. It is rather heavy, admittedly, but if you can get around that aspect, it makes for a very entertaining ride.
Rana Chaudhury is a writer passionate about automobiles.
first published: Apr 2, 2021 08:18 am

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