We’ve just got our hands on Benelli’s new TRK 702 X, which is vying for attention in the increasingly competitive middleweight adventure bike market. Ross Mowbray sees how it stacks up.
Benelli’s on a mission. Since its takeover by Chinese giant QianJiang Motor, it’s churned out an enviable array of bikes – first focusing its attention on fine-tuning its smaller- capacity rides, before upping the ante and stepping into the middleweight market. We’ve spent plenty of time on its bikes in recent years and have always found plenty to like. Value for money’s always been the main focus of our praise; but with decent performance, solid finishes and top-level styling, they’ve largely proved hard to fault.
It’s sold decent numbers, too. The A2- licence TRK 502 has done particularly well in its ‘native’ Italy. It actually sits atop the sales charts over there. That’s quite a big deal. And Benelli’s hunting for more of the same success with its TRK 702, which builds on all the good stuff that’s made the 502 so popular, but adds a bigger, more capable motor into the mix. Sounds good, right?
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The TRK 702 X carries over the rugged big bike aesthetics of the 502, and it looks smart in the flesh with the big 20-litre tank, adventure-style beak, hand guards and spoked wheels helping it look the part. It’s a comfortable place, too, with big, wide bars helping to offer a roomy, upright riding position. The surprisingly low 835mm seat offers plenty of padding to make longer journeys a breeze. I’ve spent all day on it with no dramas. It is a fairly chunky thing though, tipping the scales at 218kg dry. While that puts it in the same sort of ballpark as the rest of the current crop of middleweight adventurers, it seems to carry its weight a little higher (particularly when brimmed with fuel). It’s not unwieldy, but it is noticeable when you lift it off the stand before you get rolling.
The centrepiece of the TRK 702 X is its ‘new’ 693cc parallel-twin engine – which is rumoured to be based on the motor which powers Kawasaki’s Z650 (with an increased stroke). It’s by no means the most dynamic or characterful thing, but with 75bhp at 8500rpm and 68.2Nm of torque at 6250rpm, there’s ample power to make swift, smooth progress even in excess of motorway speeds. It’ll sit at 75mph for extended periods without a grumble, with little in the way of vibration. The gearbox is solid, the fuelling is good, and the clutch is lovely and light.
It stops well enough, too, thanks to the twin 320mm discs squeezed by radial-mount four-piston calipers up front and single 260mm disc with a single floating caliper at the rear. They’re branded Benelli, but they look remarkably similar to Brembo/Bybre’s omnipresent units.
Although they’re not exactly pin sharp, there’s plenty of bite to haul the whopper up in a hurry, with little interference from the ABS even on the seriously wet roads we’ve seen so much of recently.
Suspension comes in the form of 50mm USD front forks with 140mm of travel, and a link-actuated, fully-adjustable rear shock. It’s a nice set up, offering plenty of poise without compromising on comfort. Admittedly, I’ve spent most of my time bombing around in the rain, so I’ve not had a chance to really push it to its limits, but I suspect it would hold its own even when the pace picks up and more is asked of it.
Overall, it handles well; proving itself plenty nimble for a big lump, with excellent manners both in town and out on the twisties (even with a larger 19-inch front wheel). The Pirelli Scorpion Rally rubber definitely helps the cause, offering bags of grip no matter the road conditions. It is an adventure bike, so don’t come expecting the pin-sharp
road manners of a naked and you won’t be disappointed.
It’s a relatively simple affair on the tech front. There is a modern 5-inch TFT display which you can hook up to your phone, but there’s not a massive bundle of rider aids to mess around with. I quite like that.
I’ve been impressed with the TRK 702 X. It’s leaps and bounds better than the much- loved 502. That’s partly to be expected; it’s more expensive, more powerful and better equipped. But it feels like Benelli has made another leap forward with its latest generation machine. All credit to it.
Whether or not it’s good enough to tempt adventurous riders to peel their eyes away from the likes of Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda is another question altogether, but with its £6899 price tag and a free luggage promotion running into 2024 (which includes panniers and a topbox worth £1000), I wouldn’t be surprised if plenty of people are very tempted.