Way back in May, BikeAdvice was the first Indian publication which revealed the possibility of Benelli motorcycles coming to India (read here) and now in an official invite we have received from DSK, it is confirmed that the company is indeed setting foot on Indian soil, and the official announcement will take place on the 17th of this month! It is DSK Motowheels (which already partners with Hyosung) which is bringing Benelli to India.
We had touched upon Benelli’s history earlier in brief in a previous article so we aren’t going there again, but it would suffice to say that this Italian marque is as pedigreed as they get, and we can’t thank DSK MotoWheels enough to have made this brave move. Brave because though Benelli is now doing good under its new Chinese ownership, DSK will have to work a lot to be able to instill confidence in people to take home a bike from a DSK showroom.
Of course, the smart way would be to just market and promote Benelli motorcycles solely under their Italian name and make more and more people aware of the brand’s heritage, among other things. That is what I think DSK MotoWheels would do. Moreover, the best thing to work in DSK-Benelli’s favour could be their CKD operations. From what we have heard (not a confirmation though), most of the bikes will be assembled here and that means terrific pricing for even the inline fours and triples (expected)!
Benelli’s current motorcycle portfolio comprises of eight bikes built around four engines: a 300cc parallel twin (one bike), a 600 cc inline-four (three bikes), an 898 cc three-cylinder (one bike), and an 1131 cc three-cylinder (three bikes). So while the Honda CBR650F is still eons away, your prayers of owning a ‘premium’ 600cc inline-four, at a relatively reasonable price, may come true much sooner than you expected.
Initially though, it would most probably be the smallest one, the 300cc BN 302 naked, that would create the most interest. This 36.2 bhp motorcycle would take the fight straight to the Kawasaki Ninja 300, the Suzuki Inazuma, and the Hyosung GT 250R – all twin-cylinder motorcycles. Obviously, the Benelli would also compete with the current rulers of the segment, the KTMs (both the RC and the Duke), and if DSK could price it in close proximity of the RC 390, the Italian might end up trimming the KTMs’ sales by quite a bit.. Just wait for the 17th!