Benelli Imperiale 400 is the latest entrant in the classis segment under Rs 2 lakh
The Italian motorcycle manufacturer Benelli (which make bikes in China) has launched a classic motorcycle in the Indian market. Benelli Imperiale 400 is a new entrant in the classic bike segment in India. Most interesting part of this is the fact that after launching overpriced Leoncino 250 at Rs 2.5 lakh ex-showroom, the company has aggressively priced its latest offering at just Rs 1.69 lakh ex-showroom. Let’s do the quick spec-sheet comparison of the Benelli Leoncino 400 vs Rivals.
Benelli Imperiale 400 vs Rivals – Price
Let’s first talk about the most important factor in this segment, Price. Where the Leoncino 250 was priced as if the company is not interested in selling the quarter-litre bike in the country. Imperiale 400, on the other hand, is priced so aggressively that even Jawa 300 is pricier than it. Jawa 300 with dual-channel ABS is priced at Rs 1.73 lakh ex-showroom.
But when we talk about the Royal Enfield Classic 350, there are quite a numbers of variants of the bike available in the Royal Enfield showrooms. Starting with the Classic 350S which is the cheapest variant with single-channel ABS carries a price tag of Rs 1.46 lakh ex-showroom. Next, the Classic 350 with dual-channel ABS is priced at Rs 1.53 lakh ex-showroom. Trials off-road variants of Classic 350 are priced north of Rs 1.6 lakh ex-showroom.
Engine and Performance
Benelli Imperiale 400 is powered by an air-cooled 373.5cc single-cylinder engine with a 4-valve head, which makes out 20.6bhp and 29Nm torque. The Royal Enfield Classic 350 is also equipped with an air-cooled unit which displaces 346cc and develops the least power of the trio at 19.8bhp and 28Nm torque. Jawa 300, on the other hand, features a liquid-cooled 293cc unit which is capable of developing 27bhp and 28Nm torque.
Imperiale 400 would be slowest among the trio as it has to haul 205kg weight plus the weight of the rider. Jawa 300 is the lightest at 170kg and has lowest seat height of 765mm which ensures total control on the bike as even the shortest riders can easily access the Jawa. Classic 350 is right in the middle with 190kg kerb weight and a seat height of 800 mm.
Speaking about the performance, Jawa is the one which has the best acceleration here with 0 to 100 kmph is done in 12 seconds. The Classic 350 does the same in about 17 seconds while the Imperiale is expected to clock around the 350’s time. However, these bikes are not for acceleration and cornering as they are made to do one thing, long-distance touring in the most comfortable manner.
Royal Enfield Classic 350 is the one that uses Single down tube frame which uses the engine as a stressed member. Both, Jawa 300 and Imperiale 400 utilise a double-cradle frame which is best known for straight-line stability. All three bikes use telescopic forks at the front and dual-spring loaded shock absorber at the rear end. Braking duties are taken care of by disc brakes at both ends in all the three classics. Imperiale 400 has just one option with dual-channel ABS while Jawa and Classic 350 also comes with a single-channel option.
Classic 350 rides on 19-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel with 90 and 110 section tube tyres. Imperiale 400 sport same size spoked wheels like that of Classic but with fatter tyres. The Italian gets 100 and 130 section tyre at front and rear respectively. Jawa 300 features smaller tyres with front being 18-inch and the rear one is a 17-inch unit. The wheels are spoked hence tyres will be tubed one with 90 and 120 section front and rear tyres, respectively.
Which is better to tour on?
When you take your motorcycle out for a long ride, what will matter that most? Cruising speed, tank range, ground clearance, and service centres. Cruising speed of Jawa is near about 90-100 kmph while Classic 350 dies out above 80kmph. It is expected the Imperiale 400 might have a cruising speed in the same range.
Jawa 300 has the largest tank capacity of 14 litres, hence longer range. Classic 350 is not too far behind with 13.5-litre tank capacity. The range of both these bikes is near about 400 km with an average fuel economy of 30 kmpl. The Benelli Imperiale 400 has the least fuel tank capacity of 12 litres. Thus, with a larger engine, its overall range will be shorter at about 320-340km.
Classic 350 has the least ground clearance of 135mm while the Imperiale has 165mm and Jawa is in between somewhere. Benelli comes with saddlebags and same is available as accessories on the Classic 350. Jawa also started selling luggage attaching points as accessories but not the official saddlebags or panniers. You have to buy them in the aftermarket motorcycle accessories shops.
Don’t forget, all three of them has tubed tyres. Just one puncture and your trip meet the gravest nightmare. Even with this fact, Royal Enfield riders have proudly travelled everywhere in the country.
So, Which one?
Royal Enfield has the highest number of service centres which are easier to find on long routes, hence stress-free riding. Benelli lacks in this field with just 22 showrooms which might impact the idea of long-distance touring. However, Imperiale 400 comes with a 3-year 1 lakh km warranty for hassle-free ownership.
Royal Enfield is tried and tested, nearly every Royal Enfield rider is a mechanic of his bike. Jawas are a new motorcycle and much cannot be expressed about the bikes. People who got the Jawa 300 or 42 are riding them in every possible location to test them. Benelli Imperiale is a classic tourer which is meant only, for one thing, and that’s touring.
We cannot comment for the service and maintenance of Jawa and Benelli but Royal Enfield has upped its maintenance game and they are more reliable than before. Jawa 300 is the most bang for your buck classic motorcycle. And remember, Bajaj Dominar is not a classic bike that’s why it is nor here in the comparison. Simple.
Ride Safe, Ride Hard, and always wear a helmet while riding. Stay Tuned for more from the world of motorcycling.