Benelli TRK 502X BS4 Review
Look at the Benelli TRK 502X in the flesh and you’d think it competes against the likes of the BMW 1200GS. Yes, the size and the road presence of this thing is truly outstanding. But, it is a 500cc parallel twin at the end of the day. One that makes 47bhp and 46Nm of torque. However, it also weighs a hefty 235kg, dry. So, how does it all work out on the road? And off it?
Look at the Benelli TRK 502X in the flesh and you’d think it competes against the likes of the BMW 1200GS. Yes, the size and the road presence of this thing is truly outstanding.
But, it is a 500cc parallel twin at the end of the day. One that makes 47bhp and 46Nm of torque. However, it also weighs a hefty 235kg, kerb.
So, how does it all work out on the road. And off it?
We will get to that in a bit. First, let’s talk quality because Benelli has done well here. The panel gaps are even, the plastic looks solid, and even the paint finish, the machined parts, and the hardware, in general, looks well finished and well executed.
The wheels look expensive, the alloy bits and pieces look like they were chiseled out of a block, and in the time we had the bike, not a single thing went wrong. No squeaks, no rattles, and nothing fell off either.
There are a few things we would have liked better, nonetheless. The design of the instrumentation for instance is archaic. The switchgear too looks like it belongs to a commuter. And given how far the clutch lever is from the handlebar grip, easy reach adjustability would have been a welcome addition.
The TRK 502X brings it all back under this head. It scores an A on comfort. The seating ergos are near perfect with a wide and tall handlebar, neutrally set footpegs, and a relatively low and cushy seat. We spent a couple of hours on the bike at a stretch and got off the bike with nothing to complain about.
It’s also easy to get on the motorcycle. And when astride, the good weight distribution makes it easy to balance and manoeuvre at slow speeds. The ride quality too, particularly at slower speeds or over mildly broken roads, is plush and non-intrusive. And it works well off the road too.
However, hitting a bump or a trough at high speeds isn't something that the TRK enjoys much. In fact, neither does the rider. One can feel the hit and judder through the handlebar, and if the bump is pronounced, the front suspension on the bike can bottom out too.
This is where the TRK’s aura takes a hit. Like we said at the start, this Benelli looks like a full scale adventure motorcycle. And so the first time I got on, I was careful with the throttle. I opened it progressively but gently.
However, not much happened. And so I decided to dial in the gas more aggressively. And again, although things did get a move on, it wasn’t exactly breathtaking. And before I knew it, I had hit the stop. And even then, the turn of speed was anything but exciting.
Furthermore, this engine isn’t exactly very refined. It feels smooth and well until around 5,000rpm. Then the buzzing begins, which can be felt mostly through the seat. The engine takes on a louder note as well when revved higher. But, it’s a nice note. Just like every other Benelli I have ridden (barring the 250 maybe), the 502 too sounds brawny and purposeful and very powerful.
Which, of course, it isn’t. And so, to compensate for a weak bottom end, the 502X has been geared short. As a result you will mostly find yourself between 5,000-7,000 rpm. And that works out quite well. Yes, you have to live with a buzzy seat, but at least now there’s some grunt to get this ADV to move around with enthusiasm.
And, you can always stand up and ride. We found the TRK to be quite a lovely thing off the road. It’s got good weight distribution; an instant but predictable throttle response; lots of steering movement lock-to-lock; and a pliant suspension that made it both fun and easy. Would more torque have made it better? Maybe more exciting, yes, but it’s already pretty good off-road.
However, around winding tarmac roads, the 502X feels lazy and blunt and mute. It will go around corners, of course, and at a decent clip. But, in two corners you’d know, it’s out of its depth.
Well, there’s ABS. And, two trip meters. And, LED turn indicators. And, if we were generous, we might even mention upside down forks here. But, the bottom line is, the TRK 502X without ride-by-wire, without riding modes, without traction control, and no real adjustment for either suspension, is as basic (or pure if we were again being generous) an ADV as you can get.
Let’s do some math. The TRK displaces around 500cc. It is short geared. And it weighs over 230kg. Sure, it has fuel injection. And, it’s liquid cooled. But, math dictates, the TRK will not deliver the magical 30kmpl figure, no matter how you ride it in the city.
Fitness of Purpose
The TRK 502X is an ADV. Which means it might not be the best option to ride to the local grocer to get milk. But if you were to ride to Kumbh for the mela, or to Kutch for the kites, or even to Leh for the bragging rights, the 502X should be able to do it all.
Now, we haven’t done any of these trips on the bike yet, but from what we have seen - its capability off road, it being high on comfort, and its strong build quality - should hold it in good stead.
It’s just that you might need to stick to 100kmph speed if you don’t want to arrive with a buzzing behind.
The Benelli TRK 502X costs Rs 6.9 lakhs on the road in Mumbai. For a bike that looks like a full sized ADV, can handle the rough stuff with aplomb, and sounds this good, we’d definitely recommend it.
Additionally, it has a usable front windscreen, a plush ride, enough and more options to hook up luggage, and though it will take all your strength and a prayer to bring it to a stop, it does have the ABS safety net.
So, yes, the 502X isn’t perfect. But, it is a good ADV. And, yes, it is not very powerful, but it is very usable.
Photography by Kapil Angane
Full Review-Hide Review