Benelli Imperiale 400 Long Term Reports

By Divyank Kushagra Bansal | on May 28, 2021
Long Term Report: May 2021 (End of Term)

After pottering around town on the eye-catching Benelli Imperiale 400 for the past few months, I’m afraid it’s time for me to bid adieu to this flawed-yet-fun retro cruiser. Now, judging by the title above, I’m sure you can figure out where this end of term report is headed. If you’ve read my previous reports, you will be aware of the array of flaws the Imperiale 400 has as a product. But, somehow, it just manages to redeem itself every time – all thanks to its lively and potent 374cc single-cylinder air-cooled motor. The moment you become playful with the accelerator, this motor starts showing its true colours – in the blink of an eye, you’re touching the redline at 6,000rpm in any gear! This performance, which is delivered in a surprisingly smooth manner, coupled with a throaty exhaust makes the riding experience quite joyful. So overpowering is the charm of the engine and exhaust that you actually forget about the back-breaking stiffness of the suspension, the minuscule 12-litre fuel tank, its drinking problem, the fleck of an LCD screen in the instrumentation, and the wooden brakes.

In all honesty, I can go on and on about the scope for improvement, but instead, I’d like to focus on the few good aspects that make the Imperiale 400 quite likeable. The engine and exhaust aside, the bike offers a really nice seating position. The rider’s posture remains quite comfortable yet commanding, thanks to a wide handlebar. However, some of this comfort is marred by a super-stiff suspension setup, which is also a problem in terms of the overall ride quality. But once you get used to all this though, the Imperiale 400 starts to grow on you. It nails the retro look, offers good performance, sounds good, and is a sure-fire head-turner. Club these positives, and you realise that you don’t really need more for everyday riding. So, in the end, it’s indeed a bitter-sweet farewell for me.

  • LOGBOOK

When it came: November 2020

Current Odo reading: 1,945kms

Mileage this month: 377kms

Fuel efficiency: 19.6km/l

What's good: Engine & sound

What's not: Ride comfort & quality

Long Term Report: April 2021

With the harsh Delhi winter on its way out, the weather once again became favourable to ride over the past month. Plus, this time, I got a chance to ride the Imperiale 400 alongside my TVS Apache RTR 200 4V, courtesy of a city ride with my brother. This ride turned out to be a real eye-opener and, in fact, paved the way for some interesting observations about the Imperiale 400’s ride behaviour and dynamics.

Benelli Imperiale 400 Long Term Report April 2021

A few things about the Imperiale 400 which vexed me this time included limited mirror adjustability and visibility, vibrations in the handlebar at high speeds, overly stiff suspension and, the most serious of the lot, massive amounts of heat generated by the engine. As the weather will become hotter and hotter over the next few months, dealing with the bike’s heat generation will only become more and more challenging. As for the handlebar vibration, I’m sure a quick visit to the workshop will fix the issue. The remaining two observations, I’m afraid, are inherent traits of the bike and are not exactly fixable. Despite these challenges though, the Imperiale 400 still remains a fun retro cruiser to potter around town!  

  • LOGBOOK

When it came: November 2020

Current Odo reading: 1,572kms

Mileage this month: 453kms

Fuel efficiency: 18.7km/l

What's good: Fun to ride

What's not: Generates too much heat

Long Term Report: February 2021

Benelli Imperiale 400 Long Term Report January 2021

In my previous report, I wrote about the Imperiale 400’s bewitching performance and its head-turning look. However, over the past month, I barely got a chance to take the bike out for a spin, as the winter in Delhi was at its peak, which meant some intensely foggy days – not great for riding bikes, of course. Therefore, I stuck to my four-wheeler for most of the month and only took the bike out on some rare sunny days. Despite this, I managed to discover some new pros and cons of the Imperiale 400. For example, since it’s BS6 compliant and, therefore, fuel-injected, cold starts were not an issue at all. On the downside, I discovered that the bike has a bit of a drinking problem – in fact, a big drinking problem – it guzzles fuel at an alarming rate! Now, I know that I’m seldom easy on the throttle, but even if ridden gently, I don’t think that the Imperiale 400 would be as fuel-efficient as one might expect. Also, the big, rock-hard footpegs protrude out quite a bit, which makes pushing the bike with your feet while sitting on it problematic, for they tend to hit your shin, which is always annoying and sometimes even painful. 

  • LOGBOOK

When it came: November 2020

Current Odo reading: 1,119kms

Mileage this month: 127kms

Fuel efficiency: 19.3km/l

What’s good: Hassle-free cold starts

What’s not: Guzzles fuel

Long Term Report: January 2021

Our long-term Benelli Imperiale 400 spent its second month in my stable and I must say, riding it has been quite a rewarding experience. The old-school retro styling, further intensified by the black exterior colour option, gives it a lot of character and makes it stand out in a crowd. Barring the select individuals who were unaware enough to confuse it with a Royal Enfield, the bike received a lot of positive response from on-lookers and passers-by.

Benelli Imperiale 400

Having said this though, the Imperiale 400 does have some pertinent flaws that detract from its overall likeability. For example, the suspension is way too stiff and the brakes feel quite numb. Plus, the fuel-level indicator turned out to be faulty and had to be replaced during its first service. Keep in mind, the bike is brand-new! Apart from these niggles, the Imperiale 400 really impresses you with its engine performance and power delivery. The smoothness of the motor and never-ending torque surge, in any gear, make it a fun and engaging daily rider. Not to mention the super-nice exhaust note that enhances the overall ride experience even further. It looks like my personal TVS Apache RTR 200 4V will remain under the covers for a while now!

  • LOGBOOK

When it came: November 2020

Current Odo reading: 992kms

Mileage this month: 352kms

Fuel efficiency: 22.5km/l

What’s good: Infectious performance

What’s not: Faulty fuel-level indicator

Long Term Report: December 2020

Say hello to the 2020 Benelli Imperiale 400 – the latest member of our long-term fleet. Truth be told, I’ve never really been a fan of entry-level cruisers or retro-motorcycles, but after living with the Imperiale for nearly a month, I’m now seeing the bright side of these things. What I really love about the Benelli is that unlike some of its competitors, it doesn’t just beat its chest (or exhaust pipe) about its lineage or classic roots. Instead, here’s a motorcycle that’s engineered to modern standards and blends that in perfectly with the aesthetics of a classic cruiser. Plus, it looks absolutely smashing and the overall quality is brilliant.

Benelli Imperiale 400 Long Term Report December 20201

The engine refinement is superb, too. The performance is punchy and it can clock triple-digit speeds fairly easily. The throttle response is smooth for the most part, but at low speeds, it does feel snatchy at times. Overall, it’s a very comfortable motorcycle for daily riding. The ride is pliant and the saddle is comfortable. However, the ride does get bumpy at high speeds, especially while countering road undulations.

In short, this Benelli is a charming motorcycle in a subdued and understated way – which I kind of appreciate.

  • LOGBOOK

When it came: November 2020

Current Odo reading: 640kms

Mileage this month: 218kms

Fuel efficiency: 24km/l

What’s good: Quality, refinement

What’s not: Bumpy ride

Read more about the Benelli Imperiale 400 here:

BS6 Royal Enfield Classic 350 vs BS6 Benelli Imperiale 400: Comparison

Benelli Imperiale 400 BS6 launched at Rs 1.99 lakh

Tags: Benelli Benelli Imperiale 400

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