Benelli is an Italian motorcycle manufacturing company founded in 1911, in Pesaro, Italy. The history of this company’s origins is intrinsically tied to one family that operated out of Pesaro. It was the spring of 1911 when Teresa Benelli, widowed, invested all the capital of her family to establish a workshop and ensure a stable job for her six sons: Giuseppe, Giovanni, Filippo, Francesco, Domenico, and Antonio “Tonino” Benelli. At first, the company was called Benelli Garage which handled the repair of cars and motorcycles and could also produce the spare parts needed for those repairs.
However, the six Benelli brothers had a much higher ambition, that of building motorcycles. Eight years later, in 1919, their first creation came in the form of an in-house engine, a two-stroke 75cc configuration applied to a bicycle frame. However, the engine did not produce satisfying results.
In December 1921, the first Benelli motorcycle appeared, titled the Velomotore which featured a 98cc two-stroke engine. It was launched in two variants, namely, the Touring and Sport (125cc). The Velomotore was followed by a 147cc version in 1923. This was also the year when Benelli became interested in motorsports. In 1926, Giuseppe Benelli designed the Benelli 175, housing a 175cc 4-stroke engine with an overhead camshaft, commanded by an original ‘four-gear train’. After a few years, Tonino became successful in motorsports and riding the Benelli 175, won the Italian championship in 1927, 1928, 1930 and 1931. Their first prestigious Isle of Man win came in 1939.
Severely affected ever since the Second World War, Benelli was brought to its knees in 1988 due to its inability to keep up with the ever-intensifying Japanese competition. Giancarlo Selci, the owner of the Biesse group, saved the company from an uncertain future and bought Benelli on October 23rd, 1989. It seemed that a new time had begun, however, after the first moments of euphoria, the prospects became uncertain again. In 2005, Benelli was bought by the Qianjiang Group, based in south-east China.
In 2014, DSK Motowheels, a subsidiary of the Pune-based DSK Group, tied up with Benelli to open exclusive DSK-Benelli dealerships across India. The motorcycles were brought to India through the CKD route and are assembled at DSK’s facility in Satara, Pune. After the formation of DSK-Benelli in August 2014, the first set of Benelli bikes in India hit the showrooms in March 2015 and the line-up consisted of the TNT 300, TNT 600i, TNT 600 GT, TNT 899 and the TNT R.
However, while the company achieved terrific sales figures and became one of the fastest-growing and most popular foreign bike brands in the country, they had to discontinue the TNT 899 and TNT R models as they could not meet BS-IV emission norms. Benelli reported they would re-launch these models once they became BS-IV compliant. In 2017, DSK-Benelli launched its first fully-faired sports bike in India, the 302R.
As of 2018, DSK-Benelli has a strong footprint across India with dealerships in Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Goa.
The range of Benelli bikes in India consists of the TNT 25, TNT 300, TNT 302R, TNT 600i and TNT 600 GT which form the company’s 2018 product line-up.
Benelli bike prices in India start at around ₹1.73 lakh for the 2018 TNT 25 and go up to ₹6.61 lakh for the 2018 TNT 600 GT. All Benelli bike price listings can be found on the website of autoX