Honda

Honda

BENELLI 302R: A FULLY FAIRED AFFAIR

Benelli, under KTM International Trading Pvt Ltd did what many other new comers couldn’t in the Nepali motorcycle fraternity. While many new entrants in the industry struggled to keep their head above water, Benelli, a global company resurrected from near ashes, heroically waded out of the waters with their head held high. The moniker gained fast popularity amongst motorcycle enthusiasts and it shimmied into a respectable position amongst its peers. In Nepal, much of the success has to be attributed to the TNT 300; a naked sports bike with an engine note so sweet it might as well be the mechanical equivalent of a Chris Cornell ballad (RIP).

Benelli, however, have stuck to bringing naked motorcycles into the market with the smaller TNT 135, the TNT 25, and the awe worthy TNT 600i… until now. Benelli have finally come out with their first fully faired motorcycle in the form of the 302 R.

Now, times might have changed, but a majority of motorcycle enthusiasts still love full faired motorcycles, especially ones that promise to go fast. This meant the 302 R from Benelli quickly created a buzz. And we were pretty excited too; not only because it was a fully faired affair but also because it wasn’t just a TNT 300 with new clothes on. Yes, it is just a slightly differently tuned engine lifted from the TNT 300 but apart from that it is a completely new machine… a new machine we were eager to push to the limits.

STYLING

The most noticeable aspect of the 302 R is the handsome fascia that gently arcs towards the rider, presenting itself as a modernized version of sports bikes of the 90s. While it may not have an overly imposing demeanor it exudes a glint of aggression that veils a composed character.

That is the design idea that seems to flow through out the entire motorcycle, not overtly aggressive but ready for action at a drop of a hat. The sides get clean lines and inlets and outlets in all the right places. The upside-down fork is borrowed from the TNT 300 but fits in well with the entire design of the 302 R. A completely new trellis has the engine as an integral part of the whole chassis, which gives this Benelli a better 50:50 front to rear weight distribution.

Remember how the TNT 300 had an offset shock? Well, the 302 R has opted for a conventional placement. The tucked away exhausts also find their place on the right profile in the form of twin exhaust outlets. A sharply shaped tail gets an MV Agusta styling which accentuates the rear end of the 302 R which by the way, is the best angle from which to view this bike.

The instrument cluster is pretty straightforward with an amalgamation of digital and analog console. Overall, this is a beautifully designed motorcycle that gives this motorcycle a big bike feel.

Scroll below for more highlights

PERFORMANCE

Powering this beauty is the same engine from the TNT 300 the 300cc, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled parallel twin. However, a few changes have been integrated. Firstly, the gear ratios have been altered to suit the fully faired nature of the 302 R. Secondly, the engine has also been retuned to match this new character – primarily a new engine map.

Swing your leg over the bike and you’ll find yourself in a sporty position that isn’t savagely aggressive nor too laid back like a tourer. It finds a sweet spot in between which makes it a treat in the city and the open roads.

The inline twin really comes to life when you step up the revs. We would have loved it if it was a little sprightlier from a standstill but it makes up for it with its higher end power. Although it does not have the throaty rumble of its naked sibling it sounds pretty decent as you build up the revs. The 302 R will eagerly get you to the three-digit mark and happily venture further.

Suspension is stiff so you will feel the road undulations, but that allows the 302 R to command more control over corners along with more predictability. 260mm twin petals undertake the braking duties up front and a 240 mm disc takes the responsibility in the rear. Combined with the grippy Metzellers, the cornering and stopping prowess of the Benelli 302 R is precise.

VERDICT

With an Italian heritage combined with the Chinese production it is a combination that motorcyclists have welcomed with open arms. We loved the TNT 300 and the 302 R does not disappoint. The 302 R is a motorcycle with a sporty personality that still favors ease of riding over outright speed. It doesn’t set out to be intensely athletic, but to provide everyday fashion fused with satisfying speed.

Moreover, it is a beautiful looking machine that has a solid build. Benelli have pleased motorcyclists again, especially those that have a penchant for fully faired motorcycles.

EXTERIOR HIGHLIGHTS

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