Benelli has revealed its product plan for 2020’s new model launches at a press conference in China – confirming a TRK800 adventure bike and a new 600RR four-cylinder sports bike are among the upcoming machines.
You can see the firm’s timescale for new model launches in the image above. It shows that from the middle of 2020 onwards we can expect a rush of new Benelli-branded bikes.
The year starts with production of machines that have already been shown. The timeline shows that the mildly updated TNT600i that was revealed late last year will reach production in February, followed by the tweaked TRK502X in March and the new Leoncino 800 in late April. But from May onwards the firm will focus on new models that have yet to be shown to the public.
In the middle of May, the chart indicates the announcement of new ‘600N’ and ‘600RR’ models. The chances are we’ve already seen the 600N: last year we got our hands on images of a new naked Benelli based on the TNT600 (above), and surely the ‘N’ can only stand for ‘naked’. But what about the 600RR? Typically, any bike bearing a double-R badge, regardless of its manufacturer, will be a fully-faired sports machine, and that would be the first such offering from Benelli since the demise of the Tornado.
More than a decade ago, before Benelli was bought by its current Chinese owner Qianjiang, the firm was in the midst of designing a four-cylinder, 600cc sports bike – dubbed ‘Quattro’ – that was initially intended to feature hub-centre steering and a carbon-fibre chassis. It never got much further than design sketches (below), but the engine went on, in much-detuned form, to power the TNT600 and remains the only four-cylinder motor in Benelli’s range.
Whether that four-cylinder can be pepped up from its current 81hp to something more suited to a sports bike, and to simultaneously be brought into line with European emissions limits, remains to be seen.
Moving along Benelli’s timeline, we come to two new models due to appear in June. One will be a 250cc single-cylinder retro, probably similar to the current Imperiale 400 but with a smaller engine to suit the licence rules in some countries. The other will be the planned Harley-Davidson HD338, which is a derivative of Benelli’s 302S twin and will be built in China by Qianjiang. It’s not targeting the European or American markets but instead aims to give Harley-Davidson a foothold in the Asian and Indian markets.
Next up, the firm’s plan shows a new model under the name Imperiale 530 (the Chinese text actually translates to ‘Empire 530’), due to be launched in July. Its name leaves no doubt that it will be an additional model in Benelli’s retro range, sitting above the firm’s current Imperiale 400 (above).
We believe the Imperiale 530’s engine will be based on the same single-cylinder design used in the current 400cc model, but as the name suggests it’s punched out to 530cc. Since the 400 can only muster 21hp, the larger model won’t be a powerhouse but it should offer a useful performance boost.
September sees the reveal of perhaps the most important new model Benelli will launch in 2020 – the TRK800.
As its name suggests, it’s a TRK adventure bike fitted with the 754cc parallel twin that’s already used in the 752S and Leoncino 800 (above). Design wise, it’s likely to look much like the smaller 500cc TRK502 (below), but the larger engine – making 81hp rather than the 502’s 47hp – will move it into a completely different part of the market, bringing the TRK into competition with the likes of BMW’s 77hp F750 GS.
At the end of the year, in November, the timeline suggests the 600RR will be shown again along with a new 600GT, which is expected to be a touring-oriented model built around the same engine and chassis.