Review Motoring

Benelli TRK 251 and its design language

Rishaad ModyJanuary 29, 2022 16:34 IST
Updated: January 29, 2022 18:21 IST

The bike’s ABS system feels quite intrusive at times, but its suspension set up makes it an easy ride on Indian roads

The TRK 251 is the smallest ADV bike Benelli has to offer in India, and it fits into the fast growing sub-₹ 3 lakh segment of adventure motorcycles. Think of the TRK 251 as a shrunken down version of Benelli’s giant TRK 502, but with a single-cylinder motor instead of a parallel twin. This bike carries the same design language, including the insect-like LED headlamp design and the substantial side panels.

It is put together quite nicely for the most part, with good looking fasteners used all over, and there is no feeling of this being a cheap motorcycle. The sleek tail section looks nice as well, but this is hidden under a rather substantial looking metal rear rack. The rider gets an LCD instrument console, which has a clock and basic trip data, but no comprehensive trip computer data. There is, however, the practicality of a fuel-tank mounted USB charging port.

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There are some angles where the width of the bodywork does not quite match the skinniness of the engine and wheels, but for the most part, this is a stylish and eye-catching motorcycle. The TRK looks like quite a large motorcycle, but it feels rather easy and inviting once you sit on it. The 800mm seat height is primarily to thank here, but the bike is also quite light to manoeuvre, courtesy a sub-180kg kerb weight.

The riding position is all about comfort and the windscreen does a pretty nice job of restricting wind blasting onto the rider’s chest without creating any annoying helmet buffeting.

The TRK 251 uses a 249cc, four-valve, single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. The immediate impression is that this engine sounds like any other run-of-the-mill single cylinder — there is no sweet music coming out of the exhaust pipe like you would expect from Benelli’s parallel-twin motors.

The motor also feels buzzy in the foot pegs and there is no shaking the sense that it is not as refined as its rivals. On the plus side, the gearing in the first four gears is nice and short — the engine feels tractable and easy to use in higher gears at slow speeds.

With 25.8hp, the performance is decent. It is noticeably quicker than the likes of the Royal Enfield Himalayan and the much lighter Xpulse 200 4V. In the 0-100kph run, it is only about a second slower than the more powerful KTM 250 Adventure. In fact, the short gearing has resulted in quicker in-gear acceleration times than the KTM managed in our tests.

As for fuel efficiency, our test figures were not as high as what we got with the KTM 250 Adventure. But the Benelli has a much bigger 18-litre fuel tank, so it will probably cover longer distances on a tankful. Overall, the performance available is decently brisk, but this is the sort of bike that prefers to be ridden in a more gentle manner.

Given the way this bike looks, you will probably think it has some decent off-roading abilities, but there are plenty of signs that this are more of a street bike in ADV attire. Perhaps, the clearest of them is the fact that it runs on 17-inch wheels wrapped in sporty Metzeler M5 tyres.

There are other things as well, such as the shape of the fuel tank that does not feel very natural while standing up, or the fact that there is no underbelly protection for the engine.

More so, the suspension travel figures — 135mm and 60mm at the front and rear, respectively — are what you would expect from a standard street bike. Finally, there is no way to turn off the rear ABS, which makes it tricky to slow down in time on loose surfaces.

One of the most disappointing aspects is the braking. Our test numbers are actually quite good, but the brake feel is dull, and for really strong braking, you have to grab the lever with all five fingers and pull as hard as you can. The dual-channel ABS system also feels quite intrusive at times. In fact, we had a couple of instances where we were lightly braking over some bumps on the road and the ABS kicked in aggressively. This turned the brake lever hard and significantly increased the stopping distance. Benelli needs to work on this.

On the bright side, the suspension is set up quite well and absorbs bumps and broken surfaces in a manner that makes the TRK a rather comfortable bike on our roads. As for the handling, it is a similar story to the performance — the bike does not mind carrying a relatively brisk pace, but it feels less comfortable and confident if you start asking for too much around the corners.

The TRK 251 comes into India as a CKD kit, which means aggressive pricing is a challenge for Benelli. At ₹ 2.51 lakh (ex-showroom), the TRK is priced much higher than the Himalayan and also above the KTM 250 ADV that retails at ₹ 2.35 lakh. It does not really have any standout features or performance to offer for the additional price.

The TRK has a few things going in its favour. At the end of the day, however, it costs more than its rivals while not being as capable an adventure bike in the true sense of the word. If you love its looks and simply want an easy and comfortable ‘adventure-style’ bike that will be used purely on the road, then the TRK might make sense for you. If not, there are more convincing options out there.

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