The Royal Enfield competitor is set to be launched here by the end of 2019 and will be offered with dual-channel ABS as standard
[UPDATE : Benelli Imperiale 400 has been launched in India, head here for pricing and other details]
Classic-looking motorcycles are all the rage these days, and Royal Enfield has been ruling the segment with consistent sales numbers over the years. Benelli felt there’s still some space in this segment for a new product, and what better than a retro motorcycle oozing with Italian flair. After teaming up with Hyderabad-based Mahavir Group, the motorcycle maker will be launching the Imperiale 400 and the Imperiale 530 by the end of 2019, as a part of the Heritage product family. Let’s take a look at what the Imperiale 400 packs.
Design & Features:
In the 1950’s, one of the founders of Benelli owned a company called MotoBi, which manufactured a 125cc motorcycle called the Imperiale. The new Benelli Imperiale 400 has been designed on similar lines. Classic proportions with round headlamp, twin-pod analogue instrument cluster with a digital inset, split seats, metal bodywork with chrome fenders gel well with the overall theme of the motorcycle. The riding position is upright, and should be comfortable for long-distance riding as well. The rider’s seat is sprung for additional comfort, and knee grips are also present on the sides of the tank. Benelli is likely to offer leather panniers as an option, which further enhances the bike’s practicality and touring ability. The switchgear is pretty standard, but there’s an ABS button and hazard lamp switch as well.
Powering the Imperiale 400 is a 373.5cc single-cylinder air-cooled SOHC motor. It makes 19.7PS of power at 5500rpm and 28Nm of torque at 3500rpm. Interestingly, despite having a bigger, fuel-injected engine than its arch rival, the Royal Enfield Classic 350, the Imperiale makes almost the same amount of power as the Classic, but at 250rpm higher. Peak torque is the same for both the bikes, but it arrives 500rpm earlier in the Imperiale. The Imperiale’s engine comes paired with a 5-speed transmission linked to a chain drive.
The Imperiale 400 is built on a steel double cradle frame, and rides on 41mm telescopic front forks, and twin shock absorbers at the rear. The front suspension offers 110mm of travel, while the rear suspension travel stands at 65mm. Braking duties are handled by a generous 300mm front disc and a 240mm rear disc, with dual-channel ABS. The 19-inch front and the 18-inch rear spoke wheels (with aluminium rims) are shod with China-made Cordial tyres. They measure 110-section up front and 130-section at the rear. If you look at the tread pattern on these tyres, it looks very similar to the Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tyres which the upcoming Royal Enfield 650 twins use.
Pricing & Other Details:
The Imperiale 400 has an oddly heavy dry weight of 200kg! With just a 12-litre fuel tank, its touring capabilities too are somewhat limited. On the upside, the 780mm seat height should be accessible for most shorter riders.
We expect the Imperiale 400 to command a price of Rs 1.8 lakh (ex-showroom). It would mainly rival the Royal Enfield Classic and Thunderbird 350 range, and the UM Renegade Commando range. For roughly the Imperiale’s price, you can get the bigger Royal Enfield Classic 500. However, if you’re looking for a fresh, Italian retro-modern motorcycle, the Imperiale is your best bet.