Benelli Imperiale 400: Pros, Cons & Should You Buy It
Does Benelli’s classic motorcycle pack enough punch for you to consider it over the Royal Enfield Classic 350? We find out
The Royal Enfield Classic 350 has been the front-runner in its segment for years now, but Benelli thinks that the Imperiale 400 can change that. Priced at Rs 1.69 lakh (ex-showroom), the classic motorcycle is off to a good start as the Italian bike maker has managed to rake in around 1,000 bookings since its launch. So if you are planning to move away from the Royal Enfield clan and thinking of adding the Imperiale 400 to your garage, then here’s a list of its pros and cons that you need to take a look at.
Smooth and vibe free engine:
The Imperiale 400 is powered by a 374cc fuel-injected single-cylinder air-cooled motor that churns out 21PS at 5500rpm and 29Nm at 4500rpm. This an all-new unit that Benelli has made specifically for its Classic 350-rival, and we are happy to report that this engine is a gem. The motor is lively, although it does vibrate after 5500rpm, which, to be honest, is just a mild buzz in the handlebar.
Comfortable riding posture:
Thanks to its wide and comfortable seat, easy-to-reach handlebars and mid-set footpegs, the Imperiale 400 offers an upright and comfortable riding position. Moreover, it has a seat height of 780mm, which means its quite accessible for most riders.
Also read: Benelli Imperiale 400: Road Test Review
Feels like a bigger bike compared to its competition:
Compared to its rivals, the Imperiale 400 is the tallest motorcycle and has the largest wheelbase at 1440mm. Despite its sheer size, the Imperiale 400 is rather easy to live with. However, the larger wheelbase means that its turning radius is a bit wider when compared to its competitors.
Riders with average-sized feet will find the gear lever a little hard to reach:
Benelli has nailed it with the ergonomics, but the only niggle here is the long gear shift lever. This wouldn’t be a problem for riders with large feet, but if you have a small feat, then sighting gears might be a bit difficult for you.
Footpegs tend to hit your shins while moving the bike around in the parking lot:
At 205kg, the Imperiale 400 is the heaviest bike in its segment and once you are on the move, you won’t feel the weight of the bike. But the heft of the bike becomes prominent while parking or manoeuvring it during slow speeds as the extra-long pegs will hit your shins, which could be annoying.
Brakes feel wooden; lack bite and feel:
The Imperiale 400 comes equipped with disc brakes at both ends - 300mm up front and 240mm at the rear. Although it has the largest disc setup in its class, the Imperiale 400 doesn’t offer the same finesse as its rivals. The braking setup on the Imperiale 400 feels spongy and lacks bite and progression. This becomes prominent under hard braking. Compared to the Classic 350, it took 1.85m longer to stop from 80-0kmph and 1.53m from 60-0kmph during our tests.
Should you buy it?
Yes. At Rs 1.69 lakh (ex-showroom), the Imperiale 400 is a great motorcycle. It looks like a proper classic motorcycle with spot-on ergonomics. The engine isn’t as vibey as the Royal Enfield and has enough grunt on offer to help you cruise at 100kmph all day. But how affordable is it to maintain? We know that servicing a Benelli is generally an expensive affair, but if the Italian bike maker can iron out this issue, then it would add another feather to the Imperiale 400’s cap.