The Italian storm maker is arriving to create havoc in the 300cc category.

Benelli was finding it difficult to find its identity amidst in the modern and competitive world, even more after a Chinese firm acquired it. But now it seems like a thing of the past, more of a ‘myth’ one could say. Benelli started showcasing us products designed by CentroStile Benelli, and slowly their reputation got back to their original charm.

And now, the Italian marquee Benelli, which after raking in some interesting numbers with its range of naked streetfighters, is now coming up with its first fully faired motorcycle in the Indian market, the Tornado 302. First showcased at the 2016 New Delhi Auto Expo, this entry level fully faired sports bike from the Italian powerhouse has managed to excite the enthusiasts ever since it was first announced.

  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-2
  • Displacement:
    300 cc
  • Top Speed:
    106 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    INR 400000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • Overall:
    8.2/10

STYLING

The Tornado 302 R inevitably manages to create a good first impression, with its subtle design and impressive specifications, it is still not that outrageous as compared to the bigger capacity Benellis’. Nevertheless, with its stylish swooping lines, dual headlamps and a fully faired body, it manages to get the juices running for every motorcycle aphrodisiac. The Benelli 302 R is intentionally an outrageous design and scores brownie points with its arresting silhouette.

Looking nothing like its elder sibling, the Tornado 1130, this 302 R carries all that Italian flair, and you would not be entirely wrong to say that it is just a fairing slapped-on version of the TNT 300. In fact, it is more than just that. Aside from a couple bits and bobs here and there (like the instrument cluster), the motorcycle is all-new.

"The Benelli 302 R is intentionally an outrageous design and scores brownie points with its arresting silhouette."

The first obvious perspective you will find is that chiselled fairing which out rightly sets the tone of this being a sports bike, sometimes larger than what its displacement suggests. It all starts with a gritty twin pod headlamp unit underlined by the DRLs at the front which is some of the largest ones seen within the competition. Also, the front windshield is functional, but the rear view mirrors win the steal game. They suit perfectly to the dimensions and are aptly placed onto the fairings itself.

The sides have this boomerang curve sculpted into the fairings that have lines and curves neatly tucked to complement each other and play their part in giving the Tornado an upmarket niche. The tank section also gets a neatly sculpted design that looks bulbous and works to be in favour of the bike’s overall persona. The tail section, however, could have been less loud and a little short but nonetheless, does not spoil much for the 302 R.

You can still find some bits of the trellis frame exposed, and Benelli has tastefully finished the frame with red and aluminium touches. The instrument panel on the Tornado is borrowed from the naked sibling and includes an analogue tachometer, and digital speedometer, fuel gauge, trip meter and odometer. The exhaust canisters are also beautifully crafted in brushed steel finish and aluminium end caps. This, along with the fat rubber and the twin discs up front brings a touch of premium to the bike.

Overall Dimension

Make Model 2017 Benelli Tornado 302 R Yamaha YZF-R3 Kawasaki Ninja 300
Length 2150mm 2091mm 2014mm
Width 745mm 719mm 715mm
Height 1115mm 1135mm 1110mm
Wheelbase 1410mm 1379mm 1405mm
Ground clearance 165mm 162mm 140mm
Seat height 800mm 780mm 785mm
Wet weight 190kg 167kg 175kg
Fuel Tank 14L 14L 17L

POWERTRAIN

The 302 is a twin cylinder, 300cc motorcycle that breathes with the same power mill that runs on the naked TNT. The engine pumps out some pretty impressive numbers - 38bhp @ 10000 rpm of maximum power and 27Nm of maximum torque at 9000 rpm. Given its parallel twin layout, this fuel injected, liquid-cooled mill on the bike is refined and has a linear feel in its power delivery.

Although similar mill runs on the TNT, this Tornado gets altered gear ratios which are now better spaced for precise shifts and re-tuned mapping to suit the sports bike dynamics. Hence, unlike the higher revving naked, this bike gets a stronger mid-range which is more practical to use it both in the city and the highways. Of course, it will be BS-IV compliant.

"with its stylish swooping lines, dual headlamps and a fully faired body, it manages to get the juices running for every motorcycle aphrodisiac."

The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox, with the initial ratios set on the taller side and the higher ones on, the shorter side. Like all the Benellis, the 302 too has the potential to sweep you off your feet with its addictive exhaust note!

Engine Specification

Make Model 2017 Benelli Tornado 302 R Yamaha YZF-R3 Kawasaki Ninja 300
Capacity cc 300 321 296
Bore/ Stroke mm 65/45.2 68/44.1 62/49
Output 38 bhp @ 10000 rpm 41.4 Bhp @ 10750 rpm 39 bhp @ 11000 rpm
Torque 27.4 Nm @ 9000 rpm 29.6 Nm @ 9000 rpm 27 Nm @ 10000 rpm
Type 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid cooled, 4 valves for dual-axis cylinder overhead cam 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves parallel twin engine, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Clutch type Wet- Multiplate Multi-plate wet Slipper multi-plate wet
Transmission 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed

RIDE AND HANDLING

Even though it is an entry-level moniker, you cannot resist yourself from throwing a leg across and getting the feel of an Italian sports bike. What you will notice is that the riding position is neither entirely aggressive nor is upright, but is extremely comfortable for sure. Sporting a low rung handlebar, the Tornado justifies its track spec designs along with the adjustable pegs. Benelli has tweaked the trellis frame and the chassis to suit sporty ride dynamics with an even weight distribution towards both the wheels.

Benelli has equipped the 302 R with the best of hardware, which includes trellis frame, exhaust canister, 41mm inverted hydraulic telescopic forks at the front and centrally mounted preload adjustable mono-shock at the rear. They are a tad stiff but are designed to work in harmony and offer the best on each cobblestone. All of this helps the bike lean easily around corners and is comfortable doing it all day long until the footpegs start grinding off before you could achieve maximum lean.

The Tornado also becomes the first bike in its segment to be adorned with dual disc brakes at front, while a single disc brake finds its presence at the rear and a dual channel ABS setup. Supporting this will be fat Pirelli tyres on both ends, which make the bike one sweet machine to ride on both straight stretches as well as intimidating corners.

Chassis Specifications

Make Model 2017 Benelli Tornado 302 R Yamaha YZF-R3 Kawasaki Ninja 300
Suspension / Front 41 mm upside-down forks 41mm KYB telescopic fork; 130 mm travel 37mm hydraulic telescopic fork; 119 mm
Suspension / Rear Swinging arm with central monoshock KYB single shock; 124 mm travel Uni-Trak 5-way adjustable preload; 132
Brakes / Front Double 260 mm floating disc with 4-piston calliper and ABS 290mm petal-type disc with 2-piston hydraulic calliper, ABS 298mm hydraulic disc
Brakes / Rear Single disc 240 mm with single piston floating calliper and ABS 220mm hydraulic disc 220mm petal-type disc with 2-piston hydraulic calliper, ABS
Tyres / Front 110/70 R17 110/70 R17 110/70 R17
Tyres / Rear 150/60 R17 140/70 R17 140/70 R17

PRICE

For all of this, our guess is that Benelli will price it in the ballpark of ₹ 4 lakhs, which is higher than its fierce competition. You can get one in three different matte shades: White & Red, Green & Red and Black & Red.

Speculations say that the Tornado will be launched on May 10, 2017, and deliveries will commence by May 15, 2017, and as aforementioned, some dealers have begun taking booking for this bike with a token amount of ₹ 25000.

COMPETITION

When this Italian babe enters the country, it is sure to create a storm in the category as the favourites still have the upper hand at their game. Machines include the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and the Yamaha R3s. Our own TVS is also dressing up the Akula 310 as we speak.

Yamaha YZF – R3

Yamaha believes in leaning into corners and coming out of it smoothly and also going fast. The Japanese two-wheeler giant has manufactured some of the World’s fastest and sweetest handling bikes, but the latest offering from their stable is the new YZF-R3 which the manufacturer is calling one light and practical everyday useable motorcycle.

The R3 too looks similar to the R25, and its styling has been heavily borrowed from the other motorcycle and perhaps this the new styling DNA of the YZF series which consists of some significant motorcycles including the recently added R3.

Powered by a 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves 321 cc engine this motorcycle produces more power than the R25. The engine mated to a sequential 6-speed gearbox produces about 42 bhp of peak power at 10750 rpm and 26.9 Nm of torque at 9000 rpm. This motorcycle also has electronic fuel injected engine which will send the exact amount of oil to the engine making sure that the motorcycle receives the right amount of power and without any wastage of oil.

Yamaha launched the YZF-R3 in India priced at ₹ 3.25 Lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) and is available only in Racing Blue (white with blue) and Black Lightning (black with red) colours.

Kawasaki Ninja 300

The 300 had replaced the undisputed quarter-litre king back in 2013 with collaboration with Bajaj Auto. The new bike was sportier, more aggressive and more fun to ride than the lesser cubed 250 cc Ninja. The bike was also packed with enough alphabet-soup tech acronyms that were scarce in other motorcycles in the segment at that time, and this made it very entertaining and accessible to new riders.

Having remodelled to keep pace with modern superbikes, it very much looks like it carries a four pot in its belly. The styling curves and lines have remained the same since the 2013 model because why will you change something that is already good?

The 2017 model will feature the same four-stroke, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled, 296cc engine that has been running since 2013. The digital fuel injected unit is capable of churning out a healthy 38.5bhp at 11000rpm, with peak torque 28 Nm delivered at 10000rpm. This is a high revving engine which can max at an astonishing 13000 rpm tuned to deliver strong low- and mid-range torque. It is a highly responsive and a reactive power mill that rewards the rider into being very engaging to extract every ounce of power from it. All this power is funnelled through a six-speed gearbox with positive, neutral finder and a race-derived F.C.C. clutch with assist and slipper functions.

The Kawasaki Ninja 300 has been priced at ₹ 3.5 Lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The standard Ninja 300 will be available in two colours: Candy Plasma Blue or Pearl Blizzard White.

VERDICT

The 300cc category has had a condescending effect on the Indian 2 wheeler market, and they got in the fresh breed of entry-level fully faired performance motorcycles to blaze the much needed thrilling experience to enthusiasts and purists. Now with speculations running high of this 302 Tornado, it will try to bring havoc in the sales of its competition and make motorcyclist get into a realm of more content and less bitter.

As was the TNT 300, the Benelli Tornado 302 also treads on one automotive’s iconic names, Benelli. The 300cc segment is getting filled with promising machines as we speak, many of which are not terribly enticing and it is good to see Benelli is serving us with something like the 302, a bike someone would want to see in their garage.

It has the upmarket equipment, segment’s only dual disc brakes up front, USD suspension and a decent engine. A concoction not too bad to be honest. Bringing some Italian flair into our streets was never a bad sight, and this too will do justice to the brand name it carries. Hopefully, Benelli can price it right if they want to see sales soaring.

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