Benelli TRK 502 BS6: Road Test Review
- by Gaurav
- Mar 21, 2021
- Views : 6177
Could the BS6 TRK 502 finally be the go-to bike for touring enthusiasts on a budget?
It’s been a little over two years since our first short stint on the Benelli TRK 502. Although it suffered from some flaws, it was still a likeable and a decently capable motorcycle. You couldn't ignore the price either. At Rs 5.00 lakh (ex-showroom India), it certainly deserved your attention.
Cut to the present day and the TRK 502 now meets strict BS6 emission norms. It hasn’t changed much on paper but does bring a bit more to the table in terms of features and ease of use. Benelli has managed to price the bike quite competitively as well at Rs 4,79,000, which is Rs 30,100 cheaper than the BS4 model. So could the BS6 TRK 502 finally be the go-to bike for touring enthusiasts on a budget?
Apples For Apples
|Benelli TRK 502 BS6||Benelli TRK 502 BS4|
|Engine||500cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin||500cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin|
|Power||47.5PS @ 8500rpm||47.5PS @ 8500rpm|
|Torque||46Nm @ 6000rpm||46Nm @ 6000rpm|
|0-60kmph||3.11 seconds||3.03 seconds|
|0-100kmph||7.28 seconds||7.29 seconds|
|30-70kmph in 3rd gear||4.04 seconds||3.93 seconds|
|40-80kmph in 4th gear||4.41 seconds||4.72 seconds|
|Fuel tank capacity||20-litres||20-litres|
I say this because underneath all that bulk is the same 500cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin motor that makes 47.5PS and 46Nm as the BS4 model. In fact, our performance runs were almost a mirror image of the BS4 bike. So there’s nothing concrete to speak of, other than the way the engine behaves in the city and out on the highway. It is just as frugal as the older model, so you can expect about 600km on a full tank and fewer fuel stops.
What’s worth highlighting is the sheer tractability of the engine in the city. You can easily amble around in city traffic in 5th or 6th and pull cleanly from speeds as low as 40kmph. The gearbox is pretty smooth too and offers consistent positive shifts. It’s a different story on the highway though. The motor does get a bit vibey once you get close to 6000rpm and cruising speeds of about 100-110kmph. This can be felt through the seat, footpegs and handlebar to some extent. But that’s nothing Benelli cannot fix. We reckon some thicker rubber mounts for the engine and the footpegs should help dampen the vibes.
The engine, though a 500cc mill, has enough grunt to cruise at speeds higher than 140kmph if required. Although it does feel a bit lazy at this point since it’s hauling 235kg of kerb weight
|Specifications||Benelli TRK 502 BS6|
|Frame||Steel-tube trellis chassis|
|Front suspension||USD Fork|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock (Rebound & Preload adjustable)|
|Front brakes||320mm Dual Discs|
|Rear brakes||260mm Single Disc|
The TRK 502 has always been a heavy bike with an odd weight distribution. The front accounts for most of the bulk, making it feel top-heavy. And this is particularly evident on light trails. The bike requires some effort to steer on the dirt and tends to nosedive over the smallest of bumps, making it a bit unnerving.
Out on the roads though, the weight just seems to disappear. It’s a lot easier to ride, more so than the Multistrada 950 we rode some time ago. It feels nimble and changes directions rather easily, be it filtering through traffic or zipping past vehicles out on the highway. The suspension is well-tuned and offers a plush ride. At no point did I find the need to tinker with the rear preload or rebound settings for the rear shock.
|Benelli TRK 502 BS6||Benelli TRK 502 BS4|
The twin 320mm discs mated to radially mounted calipers and the single disc at the rear do a decent job of anchoring the bike. The brakes offer good bite and progression but could do with a bit more feedback. I can’t really complain about the ABS calibration but felt it to be a bit intrusive for my riding style.
Minor changes like the extra padding on the seat, the adjustable handlebar and the revised grips do make a difference in terms of overall rideability. The cushioning on the seat is spot on which means you can spend extended amounts of time travelling without a sore back. At 800mm, it's quite accessible for shorter riders too.
What is a bit odd is the slim midsection which doesn’t allow you to grip or control the bike using your legs while going off-road. This basically forces you to use your entire body weight and to counter the weight of the bike while relying on arms to steer which gets quite exhausting after a period of time. I even struggled to get used to the mid-set footpeg position. It just didn’t feel natural for my 5’ 10” frame. I probably would have found it more comfortable if they were mildly rear-set.
What’s also a bit annoying is the oversized crash guard which tends to get in the way while squeezing through tight traffic. Your judgement needs to be spot on, or else you’d end scraping other vehicles or the side barriers at toll plazas which are quite narrow for two-wheelers. On the flip side, the crash guard will surely protect the bike’s important bits in case of a fall.
Other Notable Updates
The overall design of the bike is pretty much the same, but it's the added bits that make a difference. For starters, the BS6 TRK 502 features a redesigned front fender reinforced aluminium-frame knuckle guards as standard, redesigned rearview mirrors, new handlebar grips, LED turn indicators, and a new caste top rack. That said, the quality of the materials used for the mirrors felt subpar compared to its competition.
Both the switchgear and semi-digital instrument console now get a white backlight for better night visibility with an orange back-lit digital inset. No change has been made in the readouts, though. Other than this, you have a new cast top rack, a power-coated handlebar and adjustable brake and clutch levers. The design updates may be small but they do come together to amplify the bike’s styling to some extent and improve the overall build quality.
So here’s how I'd sum up the BS6 TRK 502. It's a no-nonsense tourer that can munch miles with ease while keeping you comfortable. The engine is still the highlight of the motorcycle. The motor’s extremely tractable, hasn’t lost out on any performance and still sounds great! But you’d have to be a Benelli fanatic to really appreciate the bike.
Because at the end of the day, it’s still a heavy motorcycle that does require some skill to manage. Moreover, it feels dated compared to the current competition and is a road-focused machine. It’s worth considering if you’re purely sticking to the roads and love touring. But if you’re planning to go off-road, you’re better off picking the TRK 502X or perhaps the KTM 390 Adventure given its weight.
On a side note, Benelli is also working on improving its overall customer experience. The newer dealerships, the first of which has been recently inaugurated in Pune, gets an in-house cafe that lets customers sit back and relax while their bikes get serviced.
Benelli TRK 502 Video Review
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