Benelli Imperiale 400 a tough rival for RE Classic 350?

Benelli has entered the retro classic market in India to compete with the Royal Enfield and Jawa motorcycles.

Stories are told, stories were written, about those who once rode on these motorcycles and nothing is forgotten, The history is repeating itself with the comeback of the retro classic in this modern age. Inspired by the Benelli-MotoBi range which was introduced in the 1950s, Benelli recently launched the Imperiale 400 in India that costs around INR 1.69 Lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The trend of retro classic motorcycles in the Indian market has led to the rise of competitors for the Royal Enfield Classic 350, and now Benelli with its thumping Imperiale 400 at this price point is a migraine for the Royal Enfield.

The Imperiale 400 is powered by a 374cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, SOHC engine that develops a torque of 29Nm at 4500rpm. The Classic 350, on the other hand, uses a 346cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled motor that makes 28Nm at 4000rpm.

The chassis on the Imperiale 400 is an all-new double-cradle unit and it is suspended on telescopic 41mm fork unit. The Classic 350 uses a single downtube frame, telescopic fork and twin shock absorbers with gas-charged canisters. Both motorcycles also ride on spoked wheels wearing tubed tires.

What's different, however, are the tire and wheel sizes. The Imperiale 400 uses a 100/90-19 setup at the front and a 130/80-18 at the rear. The Royal Enfield, meanwhile, uses an upfront (90/90-19) and a slimmer 110/90-18 section tire at the rear. Anchorage at the front, on both bikes, is provided single discs. The Imperiale 400 features single-channel ABS as standard, while the Royal Enfield offers dual-channel ABS.

Both bikes come close in terms of other specifications as well. The Imperiale 400 has a wheelbase of 1,440mm, while the Classic 350 measures 1,370mm. Likewise, the fuel tank capacities stand at 12 liters for the Imperiale 400 and 13.5 liters for the Royal Enfield. The unladen weight of the Imperiale 400 as mentioned by Benelli is 205 kg whereas the Royal Enfield stands on a Kerb weight of 194 kg.

According to Design the Imperiale 400 is heavily inspired by it's brand’s Moto-Bi range but also shows a more urban and modern feel to it. The analog cluster in the digital age with a dedicated LCD is a sensational aesthetic jet fighter appeal to it. One can choose from three different colors Black,Red and Silver whereas the Royal Enfield 350 provides with 6 different colors, on the other hand, the Royal Enfield with its classic theme mimics the older models that were offered by the company with fenders that are long, the spring seats and rubber pads are typically old-school. The Classic 350 also has a single analog instrument cluster but lacks out on a fuel gauge which makes us dependent on the reserve light on the cluster.

Overall the Royal Enfield is comparatively cheaper as it costs around INR 1,53,443 (ex-showroom Delhi) which is roughly 20,000 INR less than what the Imperiale 400 costs as of now.


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