First Ride: Benelli 302R Review — The Little Italian Fiend

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Like most Italian designs the DSK Benelli 302R is quite an appealing motorcycle. From the complex headlight design to the exhaust, and the chiselled 14-litre fuel tank, the bike, on the whole, is a complete package when it comes to the quarter-litre segment.

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Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

Benelli first introduced the 302R at the 2015 EICMA Motor Show in Milan, Italy. The 302R was also showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo and is the faired version of the TNT 300.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

We got our hands on the 302R for a short period of time, so we took it for a spin in the city and on the highway and here's what we have to say about the bike!

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

At first glance, the 302R can easily be misunderstood as a litre-class bike due to its sheer size, especially when viewed from the front. The large faring and the dual headlights look a bit odd compared to rest of the bike. Look past the large front end and the design looks a lot more appealing.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

The 302R features an analogue-digital instrument cluster. The digital panel displays the speed, gear shift indicator, two trip meters, fuel gauge, time and an ABS indicator. Benelli has for the first time come up with a switchable ABS system developed by Bosch which allows you to have fun when you want to.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

At the rear, the twin-pod exhaust gels well with the overall design. The bike has been put together well, judging from how the fairing and other body parts are bolted together. The quality of the switchgear though is not that impressive compared to its competition.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

The 302R is powered by the same engine as its naked sibling, the TNT 300. The liquid-cooled, 300cc, parallel-twin 302R puts out 38bhp at 11000rpm and 26.5Nm of peak torque at 10000rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed gearbox.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

One thing that I must admit - the 302R is one of the best sounding bikes in this segment. The engineers have somehow managed to make a parallel-twin motor sound similar to an inline-four. On the contrary, the performance doesn't quite match the quoted performance figures. So, a 0-100km/h run is done under 9.1 seconds, which to be honest, is not very exciting.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

Weighing at around 198 kgs, the Benelli 302R feels quite heavy at standstill and at slow speeds. But get it going, and the bike feels quite light and surprisingly easy to manoeuvre. The well-engineered chassis has improved the cornering capabilities of the bike.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

Couple that with the 17-inch alloys wrapped with sticky Metzeler 110/70-section front and 150/60-section rear tyres, and the motorcycle is quite agile. The seat height is 780mm, which is considerably low, yet comfortable. The ergonomics, in fact, are inclined more towards sports touring.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

The handlebars are set high and the footpegs aren't too inclined to the rear either, which together proves to be less stressful for the rider. The split seats are also well-padded with just the right amount of cushioning for both the rider and the pillion.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

Suspension duties are handled by 43mm telescopic upside down front forks with preload adjustment and a preload-adjustable hydraulic monoshock at rear. Braking is taken care of by dual disks up front and a single disc at the rear, which together do a great job of bringing the bike to a halt.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

The Benelli 302R returned a mileage of around 27kpl in the city and 33kpl on the highway, which is not bad at all for a bike in this segment.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

Promeet Ghosh Thinks!

As far as performance and numbers are concerned, the 302R cannot match the performance of the Duke 390 or the Yamaha R3. However, the Benelli 302R is a 300cc sportbike which looks good and is easy to ride as well.

Benelli 302R: First Ride Review

All of this comes at a price tag of Rs 3.48 lakhs (ex-showroom, India), which to be honest is a tad too expensive. For that money though, you get a great sounding parallel-twin powered, motorcycle, if you fancy some Italian flair.

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