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Benelli Leoncino Features New 500cc Parallel-Twin

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We can’t quite figure out what is up with Benelli these days. We know they were purchased by a Chinese corporation, but they are still designing at least some of their bikes in Italy. The design center in Pesaro is responsible for some concepts displayed at EICMA this week, including the Leoncino pictured here. Personally, we really like the design. A simple motorcycle … almost strange these days.

The Leoncino is a concept expected to reach production next year. Nevertheless, we have some fairly detailed specifications.

The Leoncino is powered by a 500cc parallel twin engine with DOHCs that produces a claimed 48 hp at 8,500 rpm and peak torque of 33 foot/pounds at 4,500 rpm. Power transfers through a six-speed gear box. The steel trellis frame holds a beefy 50 mm fork and a preload-adjustable shock in back. The wheels (19″ front and 17″ rear) have knobby tires. The dual disc brakes up front are large 320 mm units squeezed by radial mount calipers.

While we like the looks of the new Leoncino and certainly think there is a market for a 500cc twin powered Scrambler, we don’t quite understand Benelli’s marketing efforts (or lack thereof). If one of our readers can find a current web site for the brand, for instance (we could only find this British web site that hasn’t been updated for a year or so), let us know in the comments section below. UPDATE: here is the company web site.

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75 Comments

  1. Meengrn says:

    Echoes of Honda Ascot VT500 to me…less the V and shaft. I like.

  2. BALOY BEACH says:

    Looks like Turboman was right about Benelli on the move.CF Moto is next..

  3. mg3 says:

    This thing is beautiful. Hope they sell a lot of them.

  4. Vrooom says:

    This looks perfect. How much $ and how much weight? Benelli’s got a winner I think. Don’t think I’ve ever even seen a Benelli dealer, unless they’re off to the side in the Ducati dealership?

  5. Gambini says:

    Very nice look, but we need a really good engine inside. 750 Cm3 and whit minimum 75 Hp!!! Just do it Benelli !!!!!!!

  6. Frank says:

    More than just very nice looking. It would make a good everyday street bike. Nicer looking than either the Ducati scrambler or the new ultra bland and uninspiring SV650. Put on a set of more street oriented rubber and off you go.

  7. Buckwheat says:

    Love it. Grom on steroids. Me want.

  8. jonnyblaze says:

    Is it me or the rear subframe does look twisted?

    • Jim says:

      Left side is low right?

    • Magnus says:

      according to my iPad the whole bike is leaning left

      • jonnyblaze says:

        Ya. But even so, if compared to the curvature of the tank, the passenger seat looks a little cambered to the left. And the right signal light is lower. Even the rear foot pegs don’t fold up evenly. And right rider’s foot peg is missing!

    • Skif says:

      I took the middle pic to paint and ran a straight line frome the center of the gas cap down. The center of the tire at ground level appears to be about two inches off axis. The seat does lean left. I believe the photographer may have photographed the bike from a slight right angle and then moved the photo around on computer to make it more upright which accounts for the distortion. Then he removed the background and perhaps parts of the bike. Or perhaps this bike has a salvage title. Anyway, I like the bike.

  9. Paul Warrick says:

    Very good looking bike. The radiator detracts, but what can you do. Put some street tires on it and enjoy the turning heads as you’re out and about.

  10. mechanicus says:

    Perfect for use on my farm for getting around in fields and light trail work through single tracks. How much $$?

  11. Frank says:

    I’d buy one if it came to the US.

  12. Tom R says:

    Considering a Benelli while also griping about the small dealer network is like considering an all-electric vehicle and griping about range anxiety.

    Neat looking bike. Upon magnifying my screen the thing on the front fender looks like an animal (lion?) holding up his paw, like at an old downtown library entrance.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Hah. Yes, that is the Benelli lion. A lion figure was also mounted to the fender of the original Benelli Leoncino back in the ’50s.

  13. Norm G. says:

    nicely executed. frames seems a bit spindly to handle inputs of a whopping 50mm fork even for pedestrian use, unless that’s conrod spec 4340…?

  14. Kent says:

    With different tires, that could be an awesome commuter and all around fun bike.
    I love a 19″ front, with so many tire choices.

  15. Ricardo says:

    Dare I say this bike looks as good or better than the Ducati scrambler? I think is a very good contender but the Ducati has a bigger engine…

  16. Rennie says:

    Looks good. As mentioned weight is a key question and I wonder how they mixed knobbies with twin 320mm discs?

  17. Jeremy in TX says:

    So far, this little guy is the one to beat for the coveted Jeremy in TX Best of Show award. I can’t stop looking at it.

  18. Grover says:

    Nice looking bike but I would rather have a Japanese reliability.

  19. Colors says:

    Che bella

  20. custompainter says:

    I kinda like that, but gonna need two sets of wheels and tires.

  21. Auphliam says:

    What’s this? No garish bodywork? No origami headlight? NO BEAK?!? How dare they build a simple, proper, good looking motorcycle?

    • peter h says:

      I wouldn’t automatically equate round headlights with “simple”. I have no doubt it’s a good looking modern bike with all the electronics and stuff that goes along with that.

      • Auphliam says:

        Aye, I was not implying simple as some kind of knock against its capability. I meant simple as in a new motorcycle that looks like a new motorcycle, and not something that hit the cutting room floor of the last (or next) Transformers movie.

    • jonnyblaze says:

      LOL… simple good looking bikes are hard to come by nowadays.

  22. oldjohn1951 says:

    Wow……they nailed this! Now, where is the marketing, sales and tech support needed to go with it? C’mon Benelli; you’ve got to do the whole job. Yes, the devil IS in the details.

  23. Brinskee says:

    This is a gorgeous bike.

  24. MF says:

    Dear Yamaha: this is what the XSR700 should have looked like.

  25. Provologna says:

    This bike and the Husky 710 dual sport are my two favorite new bikes. I love Apocalypse/Road Warrior bikes, my favorite (I ride a Salsa Mukluk “Fat Bike” w/4″ tires and love it too).

  26. Skido says:

    Yes it looks gorgeous. But so did the Due 756 and they never made that.

    Instead they made a very heavy 4 cylinder 600 with less horsepower than a twin. Do they have rocks in their heads? Why the hell would you not build what they have become renowned for… a triple. FFS. Couple that with dreadful build quality in their scooter line with no backup whatsoever. We have documented the flaws for the factory and sent reports but they don’t give a shit.
    One serious flaw, was easily fixed with a simple reroute needed at assembly time, I sent photos of the proceedure but all they did was send my report to all dealers telling them they need to do this in store.
    If Benelli had been bought by a good company it would be an Ace brand. QJ are just shonky.

    Rant Over.

  27. John says:

    This and the TRK may be, IMO, the two coolest bikes at the show. HOWEVER, that depends on the weight, the quality and the price. It’s easy to take a 500cc bike and make it undesirable with any of these three things, especially if it’s ostensibly dual purpose bike. They claim 370lbs but if that is dry, it is pretty heavy as it would be more wet than an FZ07. You can tell a lot about the seriousness of a Chinese bike by the weight. Italians seem to like their bikes pretty light, however. The TRK is 460lbs and that would be acceptable IF that means wet with saddle bags. Otherwise, it is a fat pig for a 500cc ADV bike If these are wet weights though, and the price is reasonable, I could see both of those in my garage.

  28. azi says:

    Nice bike. Looks like the Chinese motorcycle industry is starting to make its presence felt in the Western leisure market. It’s like Japan and the 1960s all over again.

  29. Ayk says:

    OK, bring me down to Earth and tell me the price. I like it, and agree the radiator isn’t long for this world without more fender. The headlight is a bit Ural-ish, but overall it looks like like a gas. How far between Benelli dealers?

  30. jonnyblaze says:

    Looks great. Better than others at Milan show.

    Welds are rough. Could’ve done with one O2 sensor under the engine.

    Would be fun for my son. And me.

  31. Dave says:

    Glancing at the site, I see 8 models using 5 different engines of 4 different configurations. The engine in this bike would make a 6th unique engine. Unless they get crate engines from someone (even if they don’t..), I don’t think they’re long for this world. Somebody needs to explain production and supply chain management to them…

    • Chris says:

      They’re made by QJ in China. QJ makes over 1.5 million motorcycles A YEAR. I think they’ve got production and supply chain management in check.

      • Dave says:

        Not in Benelli’s case they don’t. If you’re a moto dealer considering carrying and servicing a line of motorcycles, would you choose an obscure brand that requires you to stock 3x as many parts as a brand with a better organized line?

        • Chris says:

          Ok, so you’ve changed your argument from production capability of the manufacturer, to dealer parts stocking requirements. Ok, lets go that route. Tell me exactly which “non-obscure” manufacturer offers a product line with less than 5 unique engines and I’ll concede your point. Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasak, Harley-Davidson? Nope. Triumph, Ducati, BMW? Nope. KTM, Husqvarna, Gas Gas, Beta? Nope. I’m getting fairly obscure there, but my point stands. Which “better organized line” are you speaking of?

          • Dave says:

            I’m not talking about QJ’s capabilities, I’m talking about Benelli and what they’ve decided to produce and the value proposition they present to dealerships.

            Every brand you listed is better organized.

  32. teelee says:

    OK, whats the joke.

  33. notarollingroadblock says:

    I like it, though it seems awfully pretty to be getting sideways on a gravel road…

  34. Zuki says:

    Very cool. I want. I like the little Benelli lion on the front fender too.

  35. Jeremy in TX says:

    Me likes. Fantastic.

  36. Kerry says:

    Looks so much better than the Ducati Scrambler.

  37. dave911 says:

    Most fun-looking and prettiest of the this new crop. Radiator looks a little after-thoughtish, tho. May be better in real life. My $0.02

  38. Butch says:

    Looks like a $#!tload of fun.

  39. mickey says:

    Well, that looks serious enough. I like it. Shouldn’t hear any Starbucks slams for that baby. Pretty sure I’d want a front fender extender or guard for that radiator though.

  40. Underboning says:

    And the US distributor appears to be SSR Motorsports?!? http://benelli.ssrmotorsports.com/

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Grazie tanto.

    • Gary says:

      SSR Motorsports is the new US Benelli distributor, however they are only carrying 2 motorcycle models and two scooter models at this time. Hopefully, they will include all Benelli models in not too many years. They also carry a good line of pit bikes and a starting lineup of dirt bikes.

  41. Underboning says:

    It looks like they have a website at http://www.benellimoto.com/default.aspx Updated as recently as two weeks ago.

  42. TF says:

    Is that a hood ornament?

  43. Karlsbad says:

    Sweet