With a BS6 upgrade and a price cut of nearly ₹30,000, the Benelli TRK 502 has become even more tempting than it was earlier. But how perfect, or imperfect, is it as a middleweight ADV?
That the motorcycle market in India has come of age is a fact now. From entry-level sports bikes, ADVs, and naked bikes to full-blown power cruisers, race-spec superbikes, and big-burly adventure machines, we’ve everything in our market these days.
That said, it’s also true that the middleweight adventure segment in India doesn’t really have many options. And by ‘many’, I mean motorcycles that are reasonably priced. For instance, Honda recently launched the CB500X, but its pricing is a bit too hard to swallow. And although the likes of the Kawasaki Versys 650 and Suzuki V-Strom 650 are reasonably priced, they fall on the premium side of things.
Now, this allows for a little opening, a gap of sorts – the empty space between something like the BMW G 310 GS / KTM 390 Adventure and more sophisticated middleweight adventure bikes like the CB500X and Versys 650 – which Benelli is trying to exploit with the rather temptingly-priced TRK 502. And there’s a lot going in its favour – it looks big and intimidating and sounds like a proper big motorcycle. And with the recent BS6 update, it has become even more affordable – its ex-showroom price has dropped to ₹4.80 lakh now.
But, is the TRK 502 all show and no go? Are there any compromises hidden underneath that swanky bodywork? Do you actually get your money’s worth? Let’s find out.
Big & pointy
In terms of design, the TRK 502 definitely grabs eyeballs on the road. It has big-ADV-bike-like dimensions, and thanks to a pointy beak inspired by the Ducati Multistrada, it looks quite intimidating too. The overall proportions are also great. Plus, bits like aluminium bars on handle guards, standard saddle stays and top mount points, give it a look of a complete adventure tourer. The massive 20-litre fuel tank also adds some muscle to the overall design.
What’s more, the quality and overall fit-and-finish are also quite good – they’re not just acceptable but rather impressive for the price. In terms of equipment, it retains the part-analogue, part-digital instrument cluster, but the switchgear is now blue backlit. Not only does it look quite cool but is also easy on the eyes. The headlamps are halogen, but it does come with daytime running LED and LED indicators.
What’s not so great about the TRK 502 is its weight. At 235kg, it’s a really heavy motorcycle. And this is something that also affects its performance. With its 499cc twin-cylinder engine offering a humble 47bhp and 46Nm of torque, the TRK doesn’t quite accelerate the way you’d expect from a supposedly big adventure tourer. However, while it’s not brisk, it doesn’t feel sluggish either. The low- and mid-range are quite strong, and it pulls neatly until 6,000rpm. If you go any higher, the performance simply tapers off and vibrations start creeping in through the bars and pegs. The gear shifts are very smooth and refined though.
The TRK is not an outright performer, but with a strong mid-range and tall higher gears, it is an effortless mile muncher. You can cruise comfortably at triple-digit speeds all day without feeling stressed. And the icing on the cake is its supremely comfortable saddle.
Handle with care
For a bike of its size, its handling is neutral. It’s not as nimble as, say, the Versys or CB500X, but it’s stable and surefooted. The suspension setup comprises inverted forks at the front and a mono-shock at the back. It isn’t the most sophisticated setup, but it does the job quite well. It absorbs bumps and undulations in a confident manner and offers satisfactory feedback around corners. The ride quality is impressive, as the TRK feels pliant on all sorts of roads. On long rides, it’s actually a very comfy motorcycle.
Surprisingly, the bike is also not intimidating when you’re riding in traffic, which is all thanks to its very accessible 800mm seat height. However, I won’t suggest taking it off-road, as the front is too heavy and the steering is a bit slow. It feels cumbersome and heavy on rough turf, so if you’re planning to buy this motorcycle, try and keep it on the tarmac as much as possible.
Overall, the Benelli TRK502 doesn’t bowl you over with its brilliance. But then, when you bring its price and value proposition in the mix, it makes a compelling case for itself. At under Rs. 5 lakh, it gives you a riding experience of a big ADV. Agreed, it’s not as fast and nimble as it should be, but then it’s not lousy either. And if adventure motorcycling to you means long-distance cruising instead of going over rough trails or boulders, then the TRK 502 is quite a potent package and should be given a shot.
- BS6 Benelli TRK 502
Engine: 500cc / Parallel-Twin / Liquid-Cooled
Power: 47bhp @ 8,500rpm
Torque: 46Nm @ 6,000rpm
Price: ₹4.80 lakh (Ex-showroom)
X-Factor: With good build quality, refinement & comfort, the TRK 502 is a great package, especially for its price.
• Aggressive styling