Benelli, the made-in-China brand with an Italian heritage name, is on a rebuilding program. As it ramps up its global distribution, the brand also continues to introduce new models, and Internet sleuth Ben Purvis has uncovered evidence of an impending 700-class adventure bike.
The engine in this machine is slightly familiar. If you squint, you’ll see some Kawasaki 650 DNA. If you’re a real keener, you might remember seeing a predecessor of this Chinese-built engine in the CFMoto 650 twins that made the rounds of the show circuit around 2015.
Is this a CFMoto engine, then, or is it made by QJ Motors, Benelli’s Chinese parent company? At this point, we don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter, as long as there’s proper quality control at the factory. We can tell you that after some early teething problems, this engine seems to have a good reputation amongst Chinese riders. It makes about 75 horsepower, and Benelli already uses it to power a naked bike.
Moving on to the rest of the bike, the latest documents Benelli’s filed indicate two versions of this machine: A road-biased bike, with cast 17-inch wheels front and rear, and a more offroad-capable version, with a 19-inch front matched to a 17-inch rear. This is pretty standard for the Chinese OEMs these days. As well, there’s supposed to be a full hard luggage package available, and we’d expect a relatively full electronics package, including traction control and ABS, since the Chinese OEMs are doing that these days.
Will it come to Canada? Given that CFMoto is already trying to make a comeback here with its bike lineup, it’s hard to say. CFMoto has the advantage of a long dealership presence in Canada due to its ATV lineup, and Benelli doesn’t have that benefit. Having said that, supply chain issues for the Japanese OEMs mean there are openings for other companies, if they can bring in reliable product at attractive pricing.