For 2017 Benelli released the TRK502 adventure bike, a middleweight, very capable touring motorcycle with full size style and design. It has quickly become Italy’s best selling Adventure motorcycle and across Europe the Benelli TRK502 has become a popular option with adventure enthusiasts.
Let’s dive into what makes the Benelli TRK502 such an attractive package and see how it stacks up against the competition.
Benelli TRK502 Review
Benelli is traditionally an Italian company going back to 1911 but since 2005 the brand has been run as part of the Qianjiang group with its production taking place in China.
There is an unfortunate stigma attached to machines that are built in China and in 2022 I strongly believe that this should be laid to rest as an outdated and old fashioned concept.
It is worth noting the Qianjiang group is the largest capacity manufacturer of motorcycles in China and it is safe to say they know a thing or two about producing motorcycles.
Now we have that out of the way let’s get to the real stuff that matters, the nitty gritty of the Benelli TRK502.
Engine and Transmission
The best place to start with any motorcycle is the motor and this holds true with the Benelli TRK502.
At the time of release the company had produced an all new liquid cooled powerful twin cylinder engine that was to be fitted to the new range of Benelli motorcycles including the new Benelli TRK.
It was a 499cc parallel twin engine with impressive torque and max power of 50 horsepower.
Peak torque hits at 4,500rpm and the motor offers optimum power in all conditions and circumstances the rider might find themselves in.
Sure you might find yourself lacking a bit of top end compared to the BMW GS1250 but the Benelli isn’t trying to compete with the big adventure machines, it is aiming to fill a gap as a middleweight.
Around town it is a delight, and out on the back roads or off road, it is punchy, full of grit and character, it is not an engine lacking in anything.
The motor is mated to a six speed gearbox with the sixth gear acting as a cruising gear for when you hit 70mph. At the top end it is happy to chug along with a pretty pleasant exhaust note and there is enough punch for important overtakes.
It has been fitted with electronic injection for precise throttle response and that is evident, just twist the throttle and you know you are going to move forward appropriately as expected.
The 6 speed transmission is controlled by a hydraulic clutch which makes for smooth shifting and a light clutch pull.
Chassis, Suspension, Brakes
Holding that engine in place is a steel trellis frame with an aluminum alloy swingarm and monoshock system.
The first thing you notice is that the Benelli TRK502 is a big motorcycle. It has the presence of a big bike and provides a secure feeling of holding the road. This can be attributed to the fact the bike is super light either so it doesn’t feel jumpy despite it’s relatively small capacity.
Benelli have fitted a 20 liter tank so they are serious about riders going the distance on the TRK 502, in order to do that, they have ensured the infrastructure is in place for a comfortable ride.
There is adequate weather protection with a good screen size, a front fender over the front tire that will keep away a fair amount of dirt being flicked up as you ride and most importantly the bike has comfortable ergonomics.
Equal to the neutral, spacious riding position is a suspension set up with a rear shock and inverted forks that makes for a very capable suspension system with adequate suspension travel.
Feedback is good from the road, and you get superb wheel control on the front for precise steering and control.
The Benelli TRK502 will suit solo and two-up riding situations as a result.
You are filled with confidence when riding the TRK 502 thanks to the combination of comfortable ergonomics, a confidence inspiring riding position and a strong engine at the heart of everything.
Benelli offers two versions of the TRK 502, the standard and the X. The X is aimed at those riders that want to take more dirt roads. For example it is lighter, has wire spoked wheels, a 19″ front wheel and crash bars.
Twin disc brakes up front do the job and the rear brake aids the stopping power.
Other useful features include a 12V socket, hand guards, center stand and a luggage rack.
Now if you are going to compare the Benelli TRK502 to that of a Triumph Tiger or BMW GS then you are greatly mis-guided and overestimating the bikes abilities.
However, if you take the bike for what it is you will not be disappointed and will be surprised by its competence and performance.
You probably need to clean it a little bit more and use protective sprays to keep rust and corrosion away a little more than you would usually but if you look after it, then the Benelli TRK502 will look after you.
Treated with that regard it is great value for money and is a bike ready for the biggest, harshest and most fun of adventures.
Benelli TRK502 Specifications
Engine and Transmission
Engine – Parallel twin, double overhead cams, 8 valves
Capacity – 499cc
Bore x Stroke – 69 x 66.8mm
Compression Ratio – 11.5:1
Cooling System – Liquid cooled
Starting – Electric
Induction – Electronic fuel injection
Transmission – Six speed transmission
Final Drive – Chain
Clutch – Wet clutch
Maximum Power – 50 horsepower
Maximum Torque – 48Nm
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame – Steel tube trellis frame
Front Suspension – 50mm inverted fork, adjustable
Rear Suspension – Swingarm (aluminum alloy) monoshock system
Front Brakes – Dual 320mm floating discs, 4 piston calipers ABS
Rear Brakes – Single 260mm disc, 2 piston caliper, ABS
Wheelbase – 1,535mm/60.4″
Length – 2,180mm/85.8″
Height – 1,465mm/57.7″
Width – 912mm/35.9″
Ground Clearance – 230mm/9.06″
Seat Height –
Dry Weight – 210kg/463lbs
Fuel Capacity – 19.7 liters/5.2 US Gal
Benelli TRK502 Top speed
The top speed of the TRK502 is around 99mph.
Prices for a TRK 502 starts from around £6,299 in the UK, and $6,599 in the US plus any destination charges and freight charges.
How does the Benelli TRK502 stack up against its competitors?
This is not an Honda Africa Twin and neither does it pretend to be. There are only a couple of motorcycles that the Benelli TRK502 competes directly with. The first being the Honda CB500X and the second, the Suzuki V-Strom 650.
The CB500X is the closest as it is on par in terms of engine capacity. Interestingly the Benelli’s engine has arguably more character than the CB500X but you would be hard pushed to split hairs between them.
The Honda is more popular in the UK but this comes down to the Honda brand and reputation as being solid and reliable, it comes in at around £6,500. As the V Strom is bigger it does come in as more expensive than both at £7,999/$9,100.
One other motorcycle you could compare the TRK 502 with is the BMW310GS, but that is more a lightweight adventure motorcycle and comparing the Benelli to a BMW even one made in India is a little unfair.
The short story is quite simple, the Benelli is a budget version of the other middleweight adventure bikes. With the exception of a few build quality issues that can easily be resolved they have developed a strong reputation for being rock solid and capable.
The Benelli TRK502 is a great choice for any rider who is looking for an adventure bike that offers a good balance between power and affordability. It has enough power to handle any type of terrain yet boasts excellent fuel economy, making it an ideal option whether you want to go touring across Europe or just motorcycle camping for the weekend without breaking the bank.
The ergonomics are also well thought out, ensuring a comfortable ride even when tackling more challenging trails.
Overall, I would not hesistate to jump on the Benelli TRK502, but then again I do like the underdog and I am probably a little bit bias as I like being an advocate for some of the Chinese built motorcycles.
This is generally backed up by owners reviews with many finding it to be solid, strong, well-made and ready for real riding adventures, so branch out and give it a go.