Motorcycle – Benelli Leoncino 800 – one with character

Now Benelli is bringing the Lioncino 800, a naked mid-range bike with two cylinders 754 cc and output of 56 kW / 76 hp Photo: Benelli

Benelli Leoncino 800 wants to continue the glorious past of the Italian brand. We tested the bare bike.

Founded 111 years ago in Italy, the motorcycle manufacturer Benelli has been gas-powered since the brand was acquired by Chinese QJ Group and became a new one. The TRK 502X was the best-selling motorcycle in Italy last year.
A quick look back: It was Pesaro-based brand Benelli that launched the world’s first mass-produced six-cylinder motorcycle in 1974 with the 750 Sei. It was later followed by the 900 Sei. Even if the Leoncino 800 does not have almost as exclusive features as its predecessors, it still advances to the Italian market segment. For a long time, the Ducati Monster set a mid-range nude tone. Today 800 scramblers struggle there, and at great rates. The Scrambler Icon costs at least €10,500. Benelli Leoncino offers something similar, also very handsome, for 8000 euros.

It’s hard to find fault with the Leoncino 800’s design: it appears to be “cast from one piece”. Tubular black space frame, subtle matte metallic paint, scalloped tank, striking front visor, signature LED lighting units – the bare bike makes something undoubtedly special. Details such as the laser-cut brand name on the handlebars or the Lioncino lettering on the side of the frame reveal a love of detail. The tank cover is also beautifully designed. In addition, the large TFT screen is a representative piece of technology. Its surface is well organized and has a pleasant design language. However, the clarity of letters and numbers is very small. Also very low Little things a little better This also applies to the operating instructions, which seem to have already been revised what you need urgently. Their current “quality” ranges from incomplete, confusing and misleading.

However, said points of criticism fade away almost completely when the two-cylinder twin comes into play. A distinctive, efficient, zero-revving engine that was developed – like the evolution of the entire motorcycle – at the company’s headquarters on the Italian Adriatic. Maximum output of 56 kW/76 hp only occurs at 8500 rpm, but the usable range from 2500 rpm to the limiter taking effect at approximately 10,000 rpm is very wide. In practice, it usually remains between 3000 and 7000 revolutions, during which the engine runs perfectly. The full opening of the throttle valves at medium engine speeds is especially impressive: real screams can be heard from the intake box. However, the Italian-Chinese model is not very economical: we needed 5.1 to 5.9 liters of E10 fuel for 100 km on a highway but inactive, allowing a range of about 250 km without refueling in the 15-liter tank.

A weight of 222 kg, the Leoncino 800 is not a lightweight; Steel dominates, but at least it has a light alloy swingarm and a very strong dollar fork. It is balanced and easy to drive. The ergonomics are successful, because the seat, footrests and handlebar are exactly where they belong, so you can relax and be active on the road at the same time. That’s why it’s easy to corner, and the stability in curves and straight ahead at high speeds is convincing. Suspension tuning is firm, comfort is provided but not dominant.

Country and mountain roads are perfect terrain for the Leoncino, because that’s where the 800 can really score: the performance is right, the revs are convincing and the chassis does it all. The fine-profile Pirelli MT 60 RS tires are very well presented. The three-disc brake system is also powerful and can be dosed very precisely. Adjusting the width of the hand arm alone is not convincing; It is very heavy. By the way, you don’t want to ride longer distances with a partner, the seat is too short and not cuddly enough for that. But you can already see that when the Leoncino is consistent.

The bottom line is that the Benelli Leoncino 800 has a strong character: it is lively without annoyance at the same time, and it allows the occasional meditative rotation. But it’s more fun on country roads when you can sometimes stimulate the slewing drive. Given its purchase price of €8000, it offers a surprising amount of driving pleasure for the money. It also shows that Chinese motorcycle manufacturers now know exactly what is needed in Europe – good quality in good looking packages at reasonable prices.

Benelli Leoncino 800 . specifications

Engine: 8-valve, liquid-cooled in-line two-cylinder, DOHC, displacement 754 cc, 56 kW / 76 hp at 8500 rpm, 67 Nm at 6500 rpm; Injection, 6 gears, drive chain

Structure: tubular steel frame; US dollar front telescopic fork ø 5cm, 13cm travel; Metal box swing arm, center spring strut, adjustable preload, 13cm spring travel; Cast aluminum wheels Tubeless tires 120/70 ZR 17 (front) and 180/55 ZR 17 (rear). 32cm double disc brakes at the front, 26cm single disc brakes at the rear.
Auxiliary systems: ABS, two driving modes, slipper clutch

mass and weight
wheelbase: 1.46m, seat height: 82cm, ready-to-drive weight: 222kg, payload: 195kg; Tank capacity: 15 liters
Top speed: 190 km/h, 0-100 km/h: about 4 seconds, standard consumption: 4.9 l/100 km, consumption test 5.1 to 5.9 l/100 km
Price: 7999 euros


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