Benelli TRK 502 BS6 Road Test Review
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Benelli’s mid-displacement ADV tourer has returned with a handful of new features and a significant price cut. But has it become better?
Benelli seems to have nailed the perfect recipe with its 500cc models. Both the TRK 502 (standard and X) and the Leoncino 500 arrived in 2019 with a lovely smooth motor, some decent hardware and good price tags. But it has taken the Italian marque a while to get the bikes BS6-compliant. The main talking point though is that prices have been slashed, the TRK now retailing at Rs 4.79 lakh (ex-showroom). So, what are the changes in store for the mid-displacement ADV, and is it better than before?
- The design updates on the Benelli ADV are minimal and not easily recognisable at first.
- The mirrors are new and the bike also gets reinforced aluminium knuckle guards. Earlier, a basic set of knuckle guards were standard only on the TRK 502X, the standard variant never got any. So we are glad that this crash protection bit has been included on the regular 502 as well.
- It is still quite an imposing motorcycle, giving off a pukka big bike feel.
- The black powder-coated handlebar is a nice touch and so are the new backlit switches. They really amp up the bike’s premium quotient.
- Even the semi-digital instrument cluster looks significantly better now thanks to a white backlight for the analogue tacho with a contrasting orange light for the digital panel.
- Hop on to the fairly accessible saddle of the TRK and its heft becomes quite apparent. At 235kg, it is the heaviest bike in the segment. In fact, it is even heavier than the likes of the Triumph Tiger 900 GT and the Ducati Multistrada 950 S.
- It is a bit of a task moving the bike around in the parking lot or when you are in stop-go traffic.
- Thankfully, this standard model’s 800mm seat height makes it quite easy for even shorter riders to flat foot the bike.
- The wide comfy seat is great for long highway runs. We wish the handlebar was just a bit wider. Currently, for larger riders, it makes for a slightly constricted upper body posture.
ENGINE & PERFORMANCE
- In spite of adhering to the more stringent BS6 emission norms, the 500cc parallel-twin motor has not lost any steam. It still makes 47.5PS at 8500rpm and 46Nm at 6000rpm.
- While the performance is nothing to write home about, what’s promising is that the acceleration timings of the BS6 502 are almost identical to its BS4 counterpart. Recently, we have seen BS6 bikes posting slower times than their BS4 counterparts, even if the on-paper output is identical.
- The 500cc motor builds up momentum steadily and likes to sit between 100-110kmph. The motor has the capability to cruise at a slightly higher pace but it becomes quite buzzy then.
- The vibes are quite prominent at the footpegs with slight tingling sensations also felt at the bars. We wish the rubber inserts for the serrated footpegs were slightly thicker to provide better insulation.
- No change in fuel efficiency scores as well; the 500cc parallel-twin motor proves to be quite frugal both on the highway and the city. Its 20-litre fuel tank enables you to ride for almost 600km without necessitating a fuel stop.
- What also managed to impress us was the engine’s tractability. You can slot it in fifth or sixth gear and ride around at city speeds.
- The six-speed gearbox isn’t the slickest of the lot but is consistently positive. A lighter clutch would be appreciated.
RIDE & HANDLING
- On the go, the TRK manages to mask its weight well. It is light to filter through traffic, changes lanes on the highway with minimal effort and is pleasantly agile for its size. It isn’t a corner carver in the slightest sense, its top-heaviness makes it a bit nervy if you plan on hustling through a set of twisties. If you do encounter a ghat section on your tour, it is best to take it easy and peacefully make your way through the bends.
- The suspension soaks up everything in the bike’s path. It was as composed over city speed humps as it was when going over large highway undulations. Rumble strips and potholes are rarely felt. In the stock setting of the rear monoshock, only the sharp bumps filter through. Thankfully, adjusting the rebound setting, via a small round knob, to make it slightly slower should iron this out.
- Braking performance is decent but not as crisp as the BS4 bike. Even though there’s ample bite and feedback provided by the 320mm front discs with their radial calipers, the stopping distances are nearabout the same as the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 BS6, which has a single disc and a simple floating caliper. ABS calibration on the TRK is consistent and not too intrusive.
- To read more about the ride and handling of the TRK 502, check out our review of the BS4 bike.
The TRK 502 is available in two trims: standard and X (Rs 5.30 lakh, ex-showroom). For the additional Rs 50,000, the 502X gets a larger 19-inch front wheel, spoke rims at both ends and dual-purpose rubber (not tubeless). The 502X’s 840mm seat height and 220mm ground clearance is 40mm and 30mm more than the standard bike respectively. Benelli hasn’t shared the kerb weight for the 502X yet but we figure it is likely to be on the plus side too.
Has it become better than before? Not really, as the Benelli TRK 502 was always a likable motorcycle and the same continues to hold true for its BS6 avatar. The motor packs reasonable performance, is pretty frugal and provides a soothing highway experience. It is a chunky motorcycle and there will be times, such as at slow speeds and moving it around the parking lot, when its heavy weight will really become a hindrance. And it is short on modern tech, like LED lighting or electronic rider aids. However at Rs 4.79 lakh, the TRK 502 provides phenomenal value for money. So, if you want to roam the length and breadth of the country comfortably and on a budget, the Benelli TRK 502 should definitely be on your list.