If it does, it could give the Kawasaki Ninja 300 a run for its money
- The new 302R is a whole 22kg lighter than the outgoing model.
- Comes equipped with a preload-adjustable USD fork.
- Gets a full-colour TFT instrument console.
If you were on the lookout for an entry-level supersport motorcycle with a parallel-twin heart, your only options till now were the Kawasaki Ninja 300 BS6 and the Benelli 302R. Though both the motorcycles went off the shelves after the BS6 norms kicked in, the baby Ninja made a comeback this year, albeit at a price. The Benelli however, was forgotten, until images of the bike surfaced online last month. And now, the bike has been unveiled for the Asian market, and it is a lot more than just a nip and tuck job.
The Obvious Bits
The highlight of this model is the new design. Replacing the halogen units from the older model is the vertically-stacked projector headlamp, flanked by LED DRLs on either side. This has not just given the bike an aggressive fascia but has also made it more relevant to the current times. Aerodynamic winglets, external or integrated, are the trend in performance-oriented motorcycles. Thankfully, Benelli has opted for the latter, much like the 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, with aggressive air channels around the headlight cowl as well as under the pillion seat. And though the tail section and the front has been completely redesigned, the side panels and the 14-litre fuel tank has been carried over from the older model.
The Not-So-Obvious Bits
The 41mm USD fork too may seem to be straight off from the older model, however it now comes with preload adjustability like the TNT 300. Similar is the case with the brake setup: While the twin-disc configuration stays, Benelli has surprisingly chosen to ditch the petal discs for conventional rotors.
The 300cc, liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine is the same as the previous model, but now makes 35.35PS at 11,000rpm and 27Nm at 9,000rpm. For reference, the older model made 38.79PS at 11,500rpm and 26.5Nm at 10,000rpm. Though the emission compliance has resulted in a dip in power, Benelli has compensated for it by making the bike lighter by 22kg.
Finally, A TFT Console
As much as we love seeing a good old tacho needle chase the redline, the Benelli 302R’s console felt a bit archaic in this day and age, especially surrounded with a thoroughly modern-designed bike like this. Thankfully, Benelli has thrown in a new full-colour TFT instrument console with a decent layout. We wish they’d have thrown in bluetooth connectivity as well while they were at it.
The switchgear too has been reworked. Just like we have seen on the TRK 502 BS6 and the TRK 502X BS6, the switches are backlit, adding to the bike’s aesthetic appeal. However, the addition of what seems to be the console control switches on the right clip-on seems to be more of an afterthought.
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Is It Coming To India?
After almost a six month long slumber, Benelli is back in action. It has restarted expanding its portfolio and has already launched the TRK 502 twins and the Leoncino 500 this year with competitive price tags. Given Indian bikers’ penchant for faired motorcycles, that big-bike feel and the soundtrack that Benellis offer, we don’t see a reason why they should not bring this bike to our shores. Expect the Benelli 302R to debut in the second half of this year with a sticker of Rs 3.60 lakh.