THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At first glance, the origins of Benelli resembles a fairy tale. A widow in Pesaro, a small Italian town, has to bring up her six sons with just a machine shop to her name. She sends two to study engineering and employs three at the workshop. The youngest, Antonio—too young to help at the shop—later makes their garage-built motorcycle a world-celebrated brand. Going by the name Tonino on the racetrack, he wins the Italian Racing Championships of 1927, 1928, 1930 and 1931 on his bike, permanently etching Benelli’s name in motorcycling history.
Ninety years on, leaky carburettors and asbestos-layered brakes are replaced by electronic fuel injectors and disc brakes, and its racing spirit still lives on. Opening its first showroom in the state, in Kalamaserry, the company has showcased five motorcycles—from roadsters to the sports tourer. Brought to Kochi by the Marikar Group (who also sells luxury cars), Rajwanth Ben, one of the directors, says that since the state accounts for eight to 10 per cent of the total superbikes sale in the country, they felt the time was right to bring in Benelli. “Our Tornado 300 and 600i will be game changers in the below 600cc motorcycle market segment,” says Joseph Y, who heads sales and service at the dealership. “Enquiries are pouring in, and we are confident no brand can match us in pricing, as others in the market are priced very steep,” he adds, stating that they hope to sell at least 15 bikes in the first month.
Take Your Pick
The stout twin-cylinder 300 packs 38 bhp under its belly and carries twin-disk brakes at the front and a single one at the back, like all superbikes. Available in shades of green, red and black, the 300 is expected to cut through the share of buyers (Rs 3,82,475 on road). A mightier beast is the Tornado 600i, a chunk of metal muscle. With an inline four-cylinder engine, it packs 85 bhp, larger disc plates and a design that’s great for cutting city corners at high speeds. Available in red, white and black, this roadster is priced at Rs 6,87,963 (on-road). The showroom also offers Benelli riding jackets (Rs 6,000), goggles (Rs 2,000) and analogue watches(Rs 5,180). Also integrated into the dealership is a spare parts shop and service centre manned by Benelli-trained technicians.
“We are also in the process of forming a Benelli Kochi riding chapter and organise rides as more people join the Benelli family,” concludes Joseph. Details: 9605095955