Benelli 502C: Road Test Review
- 292 Views
- Write a comment
Is it the perfect first ‘big’ cruiser for budding enthusiasts?
Built on the same 500cc engine platform as the Leoncino 500 and the TRK 502, the Benelli 502C arrives in India with the promise of offering the rider a ‘big’ cruiser (read as Ducati Diavel) vibe but in an accessible manner. Hence, Benelli even calls it an urban cruiser and not a power cruiser. So, can it be a great first big cruiser?
- The Benelli 502C looks properly big and butch. It gives off the big cruiser vibe that most buyers would find highly appealing.
- It tries to mimic the Ducati Diavel in a lot of ways, like with the LED headlight with its DRLs positioned like fangs, its large and bulky tank, the short, stubby seat, and even an airy rear end.
- However, it doesn’t look quite right, as you feel certain items are larger than or smaller than needed. For instance, the tank looks very large but sits on a comparatively small engine. The rear tyre is a mere 160-section unit and not an outrageous 240-section one like the Diavel.
- Even the fit and finish levels on the 502C aren’t too great as you can witness a lot of exposed wiring and poorly finished welds. The switches are sub-par for a motorcycle of its class. The paint quality, though, is a bit premium.
- In typical cruiser fashion, the 502C is long and low with a relaxed riding stance. You are perched quite low and the footpegs are quite forward set.
- It might feel a bit heavy in the parking lot or at crawling speeds but that’s not the case on the move.
- While the wide bars provide enough leverage to flick through traffic, it becomes a bit of a task when taking U-turns. Shorter riders, or those with smaller arms, will have to overextend when negotiating a U-turn and the wide turning radius doesn’t help matters one bit.
- Lastly, the aggressive seat scoop is a cause of concern for larger riders. Given the suspension tune (which we shall come to soon), you end up hurting your tailbone quite easily.
Technology And Features
- Benelli provides all-LED lighting on the 502C. The headlight does an okay job and we would advise getting auxiliary lamps if you are serious about touring.
- The small full-colour console is a let down. The graphics are sub-par for a bike at this price point, and the screen lacks crispness.
- Plus, there’s a dedicated Dark mode layout which alters the positioning of data on the screen, making it a task to reconfigure what info you needed at that moment.
- Even in terms of data, there’s just the bare minimum. You get a speedometer, a bar-type tachometer, fuel gauge, two trip meters, an odometer and a clock.
Engine And Performance
- We have grown fond of the 500cc motor. It isn’t the liveliest engine in the segment but has a linear and punchy power delivery that makes you fall in love with it.
- What makes the experience even richer is its rumbling exhaust note. It growls at low revs and gets angrier and sportier as you feed in more gas.
- The engine also allows the rider to ride around in the city at 40-45kmph in the top cog, without any qualms. You don’t need to work the gearbox much to keep it singing and it might require just a single downshift to get past the really slow vehicles in your path.
- Even on the highway, the motor has the capability to cruise at 120kmph. Its sweet spot, though, is 95-100kmph and when you stick to its calm zone, it delivers great fuel efficiency as well.
- Having said that, the engine isn’t free from flaws. Refinement isn’t the best as a light buzz is experienced at the bars and pegs pretty much across the rev band. And it becomes a bit annoying at higher revs.
- The clutch is slightly heavy and gear shifts, while being positive, aren’t slick.
Ride And Handling
- On the whole, the suspension’s plush setup gobbles up most of the bumps and potholes that you would come across on your commute.
- It is only when riding on concrete roads, at speeds of around 40-45kmph, that you feel a bobbing sensation, which gets a bit discomforting. One way to solve that would be to ride a bit quicker or get a pillion on board, as the ride calms down.
- Out on the highway too, you have to be wary of the sharp bumps as they could end up tossing you off the seat.
- Where it really impressed us is in the twisties. The 502C is eager to go down and thanks to the wide bars, you have ample leverage to quickly go from one side to the other.
- It loves long sweepers as you really enjoy the sensation when leaned over. It stays calm and can carry quite a lot of speed into the corner.
- While the Pirelli Angel GT tyres are amongst the best touring-spec rubber in the business, the same cannot be said about the brakes. Its dual front disc setup doesn’t shed speed as rapidly as we would’ve liked. There’s good brake progression and ABS intervention is minimal and predictable.
Benelli has delivered a likeable cruiser with oodles of charm. Its 500cc parallel-twin engine has enough poke to keep you happy on the highway, and even within city limits it manages to offer a stress-free ride. Plus, the engine is quite frugal and sounds melodious when it starts beating faster. Ride quality could have been better with a little more fine tuning required to flatten out those small ripples. That said, it handles corners rather well and the stance is quite natural and easy going. And for Rs 4.98 lakh (ex-showroom), there’s simply nothing better on the market.