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BENELLI BN600GT: BUILT FOR DISTANCE

When the Benelli 300TNT first made its appearance in the Capital, we were positively giddy with joy. An Italian entry-level naked sport (which belts out one of the best engine notes in its segment) was definitely something to celebrate. However, we haven’t had the chance to give it a proper test and sadly, we’re not going to be testing out the Benelli 300TNT this time around.benellibn650gtnepal10What we do have is its larger sibling: the Benelli BN 600GT, a sport-tourer. Motorcyclists in Nepal, as a general trend, have been obsessed with either fully faired motorcycles, or naked sports, and sometimes cruisers or dual sports. Proper sport-tourers however, have taken the back seat when it comes to popularity mostly for two main reasons: they’re expensive and they will only appeal to riders who plan to actually use it for proper touring.benellibn650gtnepal3There will be many who will argue that these massive beasts don’t fit in well in our streets, and they’re probably right because these aren’t built to scamper around cities and cafes. What they can do though is get you from one corner of the nation to the other, and quite possibly across borders. And this fact alone should appeal to those with insatiable wanderlusts and deep pockets.

We love sport-tourers and when the opportunity to test out one beckoned, we pounced on it.

STYLING & FEATURES

Weighing in at a hefty 243 kilograms, it is a massive behemoth, the Benelli BN 600GT. But it doesn’t look very much like what you’d expect a motorcycle with Italian origins to look like. We don’t want to put too fine a point on this, but the BN 600GT’s appearance doesn’t compare to most of the well sculpted, awe inspiring Italian motorcycles. Although it won’t be winning any beauty pageants any time soon, it’s far from an ugly troll. In fact, we’re willing to bet there will be many who actually dig the styling.benellibn650gtnepal7Up front the front stacked projector headlamps start things off with an integrated clear visor mounted on it. The sports touring body panels with integrated indicators provide the Benelli BN 600GT with character and it converges well with the massive 27 liter fuel tank under which the radiator remains revealed. The console is simple in design and easily readable with an analog tachometer. The bike gets a large LCD display with speedometer, odometer, fuel meter and clock on it. It is equipped with daytime running light which is the low beam and thus there is only a switch to toggle low and high beam. Light throw is excellent thanks to the projector set-up and the bike also gets hazard lights.benellibn650gtnepal4On the Benelli BN 600GT you get massive 50mm Marzocchi forks in the front and big twin 320mm front discs with a radial mounted four piston calipers as well. A red finished offset monoshock appeals to the overall look, and so does the underbelly exhaust. Sadly, there is no ABS available as an option.benellibn650gtnepal9The machine is powered by an inline 4 cylinder engine and one can easily see the four exhaust pipes coming from the engine. The rear gets a nice tail light assembly with indicators being flanked around the brake light.

PERFORMANCE & HANDLING

The Benelli BN 600GT fits the description and criteria of a sports tourer. The Italians have done a splendid job of getting the ergonomics right. The handle bars are well positioned and so is the seat, which makes the hours of riding fun comfortable. You can also seat a pillion easily for longer rides without compromising on the comfort.benellibn650gtnepal6The Benelli BN 600GT’s tame appearance belies the rowdy nature of the in line 4 cylinder 600 that powers the beast. The six speed gearbox is buttery smooth and the fine tuned engine produces 85bhp and 54.6 Nm of torque while managing to keep things refined. It definitely isn’t a slouch. Throttle response is immediate which makes the low end pep satisfying, but with the BN 600GT it is the high end revs that truly shine. Redline comes in at 11,000 RPM and the surge near the redline is addictive. A quick downshift is enough to make you whizz past anyone on the road. Although the engine  is fine tuned for long distance riding at high speeds, it can still manage its weight and maneuver through the city at moderate speeds.benellibn650gtnepal5Fitted with Pirelli Sport Demon tyres, the Benelli remains planted on through corners and do a decent job for a motorcycle of its size and weight. The bigger diameter forks provide better front end feel. Braking performance is adequate with good feel at the levers adding to confidence while braking hard; ABS would have been welcome though.

VERDICT

The Benelli BN 600GT is a very good ergonomic and mechanical package. It does everything you would want a capable sport tourer to do: you can ride it for hours in comfort and you can rely on the engine to deliver power with vigor when you wring the throttle. It is a proper mile muncher and will do the job with unparalleled eagerness.benellibn650gtnepal2However, it is still far from being eye candy and it might find itself hard pressed to convince some people that it is in fact designed by Italian motorcycle manufacturers. Keep in mind that it does look much better in person.

Needless to say, it is not for people who want to get from point A to B. It is rather more suited to visit all the points from A to Z and then some more. It will however, set you back a hefty Rs.16,50,000 so it should be a very purposeful buy for someone who loves to travel (and can afford it).

 

SPECS PHOTOS

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A special thanks to Mr Shailaj Singh for trusting with his Benelli BN600GTbenellibn650gtnepal8

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