How does Benelli’s first BS6 bike fare against the legendary Classic and the famed Jawa on paper?
Benelli has finally kickstarted its BS6 innings in India with the launch of the Imperiale 400 BS6. It goes head-to-head against two of the most popular retro roadsters in the country: the Royal Enfield Classic 350 BS6 and the Jawa BS6. While it has been priced at a premium over the two motorcycles, let’s keep things as fair as possible and consider the top-end Stealth Black variant of the Classic and the most expensive maroon colour, dual-channel ABS variant of the Jawa. Can the Benelli Imperiale 400 BS6 fare better in terms of specifications? Let’s find out.
Thanks to the sophisticated engine, the Jawa BS6 is the most powerful one of the lot, despite packing a smaller-capacity motor. But the large cubic capacity coupled with the long-stroke nature of the Benelli Imperiale’s engine has made it the torquiest among the trio. It also makes its peak torque earlier down the rev range compared to the other two bikes. This should theoretically result in brisk acceleration. The Imperiale has a well-spaced 5-speed transmission whereas the Jawa’s highway capabilities are enhanced thanks to the 6-speed gearbox. All said and done, the engine’s performance also depends on the amount of weight it has to lug around. Here’s where the Imperiale 400 takes a hit, tipping the scales at 205kg kerb. More about the weight in the forthcoming paragraphs.
All three motorcycles are pretty much in the same league when it comes to the suspension. On the braking front, the Imperiale has a slightly larger disc, which should come in handy to bring the 205kg mass to a grinding halt as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
The Stealth Black variant of the Royal Enfield Classic 350 gets tubeless tyres with alloy wheels. These tyres should be able to handle punctures much better than the tubed ones in the two motorcycles. Neither Benelli nor Jawa offers a tubeless tyre set with alloy wheels as an option. We wouldn’t blame them as that would ruin the ‘classic’ feel of the bikes. Also, the 19-inch front and 18-inch rear setup in the Royal Enfield Classic 350 BS6 and the Benelli Imperiale 400 BS6 should result in better ride quality and stability on the straights compared to the Jawa BS6’s smaller wheels.
Dimensions & Features
The extra-long wheelbase in the Benelli Imperiale 400 BS6 should aid in straight line stability. But on the flip side, this coupled with the heavy kerb weight might make low-speed manoeuvering tedious. At 780mm, the seat is accessible for even shorter riders though. However, if you want a lightweight, easy-to-manoeuver roadster with the lowest seat height, Jawa is the most obvious choice.
If you’re riding to Leh-Ladakh, you might want to be wary of the Classic 350’s low ground clearance. In terms of features, only the Benelli Imperiale 400 BS6 gets a gear position indicator. The Jawa might have a digital inset in the analogue console but it only shows the odometer reading. There’s no trip meter in the Royal Enfield Classic 350 BS6’s all-analogue instrument cluster either. All three bikes get a dual-channel ABS for optimum safety. The Royal Enfield Classic 350 BS6 is the only bike to have a sprung rider’s seat. This should make life easier on our notoriously bad roads.
Price & Verdict
The Royal Enfield Classic 350 BS6 and the Jawa BS6 are very closely priced. If you want a retro motorcycle with good performance, the Jawa makes sense. Royal Enfield’s vast riding community should make the Classic 350 an alluring proposition for those who look at riding as more of a lifestyle than anything else. If you want to stand out in a crowd and are willing to pay a premium for it, look no further than the Benelli Imperiale 400. Benelli has also tried to make the bike affordable to maintain thanks to the three-year unlimited km warranty and two-year complimentary service. So, which one would you pick? Let us know in the comments below.
All prices ex-showroom, Delhi.