What comes in mind when you think of a bike trip? Well for someone like me, it’s having a motorcycle which is comfortable cruising on 100 km/hr all day and gives no hard time to my rather unaccommodating bum. For that purpose, we have cruisers who can take you from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, comfortably. Well, a lot of motorcycles can take us long distances but cruisers offer a relaxed riding posture that is easy on your spine.
In India, the most famous for this trip is none other than our beloved Royal Enfield. It’s like Ladakh and Royal Enfield are two words on every biker’s word. Well, Benelli is now offering us another dependable cruiser that you can associate with Ladakh. The new Imperiale 400 is a classic retro-styled cruiser. We took a road trip of over 200 kms in our first ride review, to check out what the new Benelli Imperiale 400 has to offer.
Benelli Imperial 400 Review – Styling
Well, as cleared earlier, you have a retro-styled cruiser in sight. However, despite being styled old-school you get that it just looks like that and has modern cycle parts. You have the round headlamps with similarly styled turn indicators, tear-drop shaped fuel tank, the long exhaust muffler and the wire-spoke wheels complimenting the looks of the cruiser. Other bits like the spring-loaded rider seat, twin-pod instrument console and the exposed frame complete the entire classic look. Offered in three colour options of Red, Black and Silver, we had the Shiny Black one for our ride. And yes, I liked that one the most. Overall, the Imperiale manages to portray an elegant look but looks more fun to ride.
Benelli Imperial 400 – Performance Review
Powering the Benelli Imperiale 400 is a 374cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine. The unit produces 21 BHP and 28 Nm of peak torque. We would have liked a DOHC unit which would have given slightly better power figures. That said, the SOHC also gets the work done efficiently. The engine also comes with fuel injection system and you are greeted by the noise of that itself, when you switch on the motorcycle. Start the engine and you hear a throaty exhaust note which is not too loud or hard for the ears. Its just an assurance that yes you have a torquey cruiser.
The Imperiale comes with generous low-end torque. So, you don’t have to worry about crawling in low speeds. Although, the torque is so good that you can pick up the bike from speeds as low as 30 km/hr on fifth gear, effortlessly. On the other hand, the bike is equally exciting to rev up quickly. All-rounder! While the top speed achievable is just around 138 km/hr, the bike can easily cruise at around 120 km/hr all day. There are very minimal vibrations creeping in through the footpegs as you reach closer to the redline. I must say that the engine feels quite refined in its way. Although, the gearbox is a bit heavier and if you change them aggressively, you can hear loud clacking noises.
Benelli Imperial 400 – Handling
This is something fun. The Benelli Imperiale 400 weighs 205 kgs, making it 13 kgs heavier than the Classic 350. The weight distribution of the motorcycle is so perfect that it feels it just weighs around 170-180 kgs. There were no difficulties in sharp cuts, near overtakes and also pushing it with hands. Never have I ever felt confident in a bike that weighs over 200 kgs.
We had a bit of off-roading as well, where the bike was easy to tackle. However, the Remora tyres from TVS failed to give me enough confidence over slippery or muddy roads. Throughout my ride, I was quite relaxed with the cushioned seat offered and the upright handlebar that was well within my reach. There was a small but important ergonomic problem. The footpegs came in the way while keeping the legs down. This is an issue while crawling through the traffic.
Benelli Imperial 400 – Suspension and Braking
The Imperiale 400 uses 41mm telescopic forks at the front and pre-load adjustable twin monoshocks at the back. At the front, the suspension is set towards the softer side and at the back, the setup is stiffer. As a result, it managed to soak all the potholes and damaged roads comfortably, but a lot of times I was literally above the seat, in the air. The overall ride was a bit bouncy. You can get the rear suspension tweaked to different levels. The difference, however, is minimal. The bite of the brakes is decent enough and you have confidence coming down from high speeds.
For a price of Rs 1.69 Lakhs (ex-showroom), the Benelli Imperiale 400 comes in with an attractive offer. Benelli is offering 3 years/Unlimited kilometres warranty and two years of complimentary service. Nonetheless, we did not find any major problems with the motorcycle and I think it could also fit for its purpose completely. One specific thing that I liked most about the motorcycle is its weight distribution. What now Benelli needs to do is marketing and build more dealerships to make the Imperiale 400, a better player in the segment.
If you have more queries relating to the Benelli Imperiale 400 and cannot find it in our review, then let us know in the comments section below.