Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
Earlier this year we revealed Benelli’s new model plan for 2020 and while the coronavirus pandemic might have pushed the firm’s schedule back a little it’s recently filed design patents for two of the upcoming machines.
The first is the planned 600N, a machine that’s expected to replace the long-running TNT600i that’s currently the only Chinese-made four-cylinder on the market. Based on the existing TNT600i’s engine and chassis, the 600N represents a complete restyle that brings a much more modern look.
This is actually the third new design that Benelli is patented for the bike as it resolves the styling ideas for the 600N. The first version that we showed you, way back in July last year, already established the chiselled shape of the new bike’s tank and tail, as well as the use of an under-belly exhaust instead of the under-seat pipes of the existing TNT600i. The second version, which we revealed last September, evolved the style with a different headlight and refinements to the tank and side panels.
The latest design builds on that second design, with the same tank and tail but a new headlight and front cowl along with a TFT dashboard. The new nose has overtones of Kawasaki Z1000, but it’s far from the barefaced Chinese copies of old, featuring a distinctive three-bulb headlight design that uses a central LED flanked by a pair of projector-style main beams.
The carry-over engine and chassis means specs won’t be far from the current TNT600i, with around 85hp from the 599cc inline four.
The second new model is the Imperiale 530. Its existence was revealed by Benelli’s planning document earlier this year, and unsurprisingly it turns out to be visually near-identical to the existing Imperiale 400 retro. That bike’s 374cc, 21hp single is replaced with a larger version of the same motor – the bike’s ‘530’ name suggests it’s around 530cc, although the prototype seen here goes by the code ‘BJ500’, which might hint at a capacity nearer the 500cc mark.
Either way, it’s an increase that should see power rise to nearer the 30hp mark, but visually there’s virtually nothing to give away the Imperiale 530 compared to the existing Imperiale 400. The biggest change is the one-piece, two-tone seat instead of the two-part design on the 400, and the lack of a passenger grab rail.
According to Benelli’s launch timescale, the 600N is due to appear in May and the Imperiale 530 is due in July. However, those dates might have slipped due to the coronavirus pandemic, so don’t be surprised if the real unveilings happen a month or two later than originally scheduled.