Royal Enfield Classic 350 vs Benelli Imperiale 400 - Specifications Comparison

Modified On Mar 20, 2019 By Praveen M. for Royal Enfield Classic 350

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We pit Benelli’s upcoming retro motorcycle against Royal Enfield’s best-selling product, the Classic 350 to find out which one is superior on paper

Up until 2008, Royal Enfield was a dying business, struggling to compete against modern motorcycles. However, their fortunes took a turn for the better with the launch of the Classic range in 2009. It became such a runaway success that the motorcycle single-handedly popularised the retro-modern segment. So much so, that other manufacturers were reluctant to enter this segment that was, and still is, solely dominated by Royal Enfield. Eventually, in 2016, Bajaj launched the Dominar to take on the Enfields, but it didn’t exactly set the sales chart on fire. Now, Benelli intends to grab a share of Royal Enfield’s market with the Imperiale 400 that’s slated for launch in mid-2019. Apart from the Imperiale 400, Benelli also intends to launch the bigger Imperiale 530 by the end of 2019. Let’s see how the Imperiale 400 stacks up against the Royal Enfield Classic 350 on paper.

Design & Features:

The Imperiale 400 looks properly vintage. Its design is inspired from the Imperiale 125, which was manufactured by the erstwhile Benelli-owned company, MotoBi. The round headlamp is a halogen unit and the indicators are also bulbs. For the sake of convenience, Benelli has equipped the Imperiale 400 with a twin-pod analogue instrument cluster with a digital inset. It not only suits the motorcycle’s character, but is useful as well. The rider’s seat is sprung, just like the Classic, and the ergonomics are also upright. At 12 litres, the Imperiale 400’s fuel tank is 1.5 litres smaller than the Classic’s.

The Royal Enfield Classic 350’s design has remained unchanged since its launch. Royal Enfield has chosen to go with a minimalistic console which isn’t very informative. Apart from the speedometer, odometer, single tripmeter and ampmeter, most readouts are absent. You don’t even get a fuel gauge, whereas the Benelli features a speedometer, tachometer and fuel gauge, among other readouts. Expect the Imperiale’s digital inset to pack twin tripmeters, odometer, clock and perhaps even range.

Powertrain:

Specifications Benelli Imperiale 400 Royal Enfield Classic 350
Engine 373.5cc single-cylinder air-cooled, fuel-injected unit 346cc single-cylinder carburetted, air-cooled motor
Peak Power 19.7PS at 5500rpm 20PS at 5250rpm
Maximum Torque 28Nm at 3500rpm 28Nm at 4000rpm
Transmission 5-speed 5-speed

Interestingly, despite sporting a bigger, fuel-injected engine compared to the Classic, the Imperiale makes almost the same amount of power as the Royal Enfield. Even the peak torque is same for both the bikes, but in the Imperiale, it arrives 500rpm earlier. This should result in a marginally better pickup than the Classic. However, without the power and torque curve, it is difficult to gauge how the two motors will behave in the real world.

Underpinnings:

Specifications Benelli Imperiale 400 Royal Enfield Classic 350
Front suspension 41mm telescopic forks 35mm telescopic forks
Rear suspension Twin shock absorbers Twin gas-charged shock absorbers
Front brake 300mm disc with ABS 280mm disc
Rear brake 240mm disc with ABS 153mm drum
Front tire 110/90 - 19 90/90 - 19
Rear tire 130/80 - 18 110/90 - 18

The Classic’s rear suspension appears to be superior, at least on paper, thanks to the gas-charged unit. On the other hand, the Imperiale’s fatter front forks should result in better stability. On the braking front, the Imperiale clearly trumps the Enfield, with not only a bigger set of discs, but also the fact that a dual-channel ABS is offered as standard. It also gets a fatter set of tyres, which should aid in the bike’s handling, theoretically.

Dimensions:

Specifications Benelli Imperiale 400 Royal Enfield Classic 350
Wheelbase 1450mm 1370mm
Ground clearance 170mm 135mm
Seat height 780mm 800mm
Weight 200kg, dry 192kg, kerb

The Benelli Imperiale 400 should offer better high-speed stability because of the marginally longer wheelbase. It also has 35mm more ground clearance, and even the seat height is 20mm lower than the Classic. This makes the motorcycle accessible for shorter riders, and should also make it better at tackling bad roads. However, the motorcycle is a lot heavier than the Classic, even without fuel. Low speed maneuverability may be compromised because of this.

Verdict:

Overall, the Classic makes for a better buy because it not only matches the power figures of the Benelli, but RE also enjoys a better presence across India and should also be relatively cheaper to maintain than the Imperiale. However, if you’re in the market for something unique that is also safer, the Imperiale looks like the one to go for. We expect the Imperiale 400 to carry a price tag of around Rs 1.8 lakh, while prices for the Classic 350 start from Rs 1.35 lakh (both prices, ex-showroom Delhi).

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