Benelli have been making bikes since back in 1919 when the company was founded by the widow Teresa Benelli in what was an ultimately successful effort to create secure employment for all her six sons. It worked, the lads never had to sign on again!
These days the company is part of a Chinese corporate called Qianjiang and a host of new bikes are once again in production. Drawing on all of that heritage, a few years ago the new company re-imagined one of Benelli’s best known models and launched a new Leoncino.
This is a machine that looks the part and, even when parked up outside your favourite café, stands out from the rest of the crowded Sunday bike park. Powered by a learner legal 500cc parallel twin that puts out a shade under 50 bhp, this has all any rider needs for city work. It’s also Euro 5 compliant. This it achieves by being liquid cooled.
While it’s a straightforward collection of wheels and an engine in a trellis frame, that collection is incredibly stylish. That’s the Italian lineage, you see! The clocks are a wonderfully simple affair and the front end is held by a substantial looking set of upside down forks. Here, black is the new black. Black forks with a set of black clamps and a black headlight nacelle.
The designers have placed an unassuming ‘old’ bike on top of a very clever chassis and new powertrain. The line of the tank ‘rolls’ down to the rider’s seat, with the company’s badge proudly displayed on either side. The stubby rear end finishes the Leoncino’s café racer looks, with the two-into-one exhaust also doing a great job of hiding the necessary evil that is the catalytic converter.
The single rear shock is mostly hidden under the seat and even the brakes are radially mounted and fitted with braided metal hoses. The Leoncino is rugged, refined, modern and simple. And it has a Lion on the front mudguard! What’s more, this one will only run you €5,975!
Give any of the team here at Franklins a call on 015385005 to book a test ride.