Founded in 1911, Benelli is the second oldest Italian brand still in production. Although the company’s goals have changed over the decades, they still offer excellent vehicles. It’s no different with the Benelli Leoncino. Benelli presented its very first Leoncino in 1951, just after the end of World War II, and it soon experienced new heights of success after taking first place Motogiro d’Italia with the racing driver Tartarini. However, the company ran into a crisis when Japanese manufacturers began to invade the Western market with their technologically advanced offerings. The company was rescued by the owner of the Biesse Group, who bought Benelli in 1989. After that, Benelli began to focus on the scooter segment.
Despite all the difficulties, we cannot deny that Benelli makes one of the most amazing motorcycles in the world. Yes, they are not perfect; Therefore, owning one builds more enthusiasm. And the Leoncino 500 Trail rightly bears the historic “Benelli” badge. Little lion cub is not like his siblings; However, that doesn’t mean it lacks the DNA of the Italian brand. Just a quick glance at the Leoncino and you notice Benelli’s outstanding craftsmanship.
Although scramblers don’t excel on any road, companies have focused on this category and designed them to perform both on and off road. The Leoncino 500 Trail is one of these scramblers. So below are the 10 things we love about the Leoncino 500 Trail.
10 It’s a retro looking bike (besides, it’s Italian!)
No one can deny that the Italians hit the nail on the head when it comes to looks! They make beautiful machines, be it a bike or a car. Benelli is no different from other Italian manufacturers in the sector. One look at the Leoncino and you get that retro vibe.
Everywhere on the bike you can see retro elements that the designer had in mind. Apart from that, the Italian touch-up is evident. The Leoncino is an attractive motorcycle that is indeed a head turner. But it’s not like other Benellis; it’s not too small or too big.
9 It’s a versatile scrambler
Benelli outfitted the Leoncino 500 Trail with wire wheels instead of the standard alloys offered in the basic Leoncino 500. This gives it room for a better off-road experience. It’s lighter than its big brothers, which gives it more confidence and maneuverability off-road.
It also has more ground clearance than the standard 7.3-inch version, which is 1.6 inches more. So you no longer have to worry about your bash plate hitting rocks and ground.
8th It offers good mid-range performance
The Leoncino is equipped with a 499.6cc in-line 2-cylinder engine that produces 46.9 hp at 8,500 rpm and 33.2 ft-lb of torque at just around 5,000 rpm at the crank. This shows the characteristics of the engine and means that the Leoncino’s heart is happiest in the mid-range.
The torque curve is flat, so you’ll feel the pull when you step on the gas, even at lower revs. So the Leoncino is great in urban areas and cruising on highways! This little boy can do anything with ease.
7 Because it’s retro, modern features aren’t missed
In contrast to other retro-themed motorcycles, the Leoncino does not do without modern features. It packs LED headlights up front along with LED taillights as well as side indicators. Not to mention the gorgeous inverted U-shaped daytime running lights, which are also LEDs.
Also, it gets a retro-based LCD console that provides just enough information and no unnecessary stuff. Reading the tachometer during the day can be tedious; However, it is not completely unreadable. The Leoncino also has a two-channel ABS that cannot be switched off as standard.
6 It’s an affordable bike
Benelli aggressively priced the Leoncino 500 Trail in US markets at around $6,199. It attracts both new and experienced drivers as it offers a whole package of fun driving experience. More impressively, it doesn’t feel cheap anywhere. In addition, Benelli motorcycles are known for their sound.
The Leoncino 500 Trail does not need an exhaust change because it is already symphonic and pleases our ears. You get a perfect blend of revving harmonies and superb comfort with enough power to keep you connected to the bike.
5 It has surprisingly good luggage capabilities
It’s surprising how Benelli offers extra luggage capacity on a Scrambler bike. The Leoncino can easily be fitted with panniers on either side by removing the rear grab handles and installing the pannier support frame. Alternatively, you can add a saddle to the rear as the pillion seats are of no real use.
Thanks to the good luggage capacity, you can take this cub on extended tours quite well and it won’t even budge. That being said, the Leoncino can be set for preload so you don’t have to constantly bounce around when fully loaded. This makes it one of the sensible options that no one can overlook.
4 It’s easy to drive
Don’t let the looks fool you, it may look mean, but it’s actually beginner-friendly. The power development of the Leoncino is very linear. It accelerates smoothly and is best in the mid-range. However, this does not provoke the driver to always step on the gas. You can also overtake quickly on the motorway without having to downshift.
Newer drivers will appreciate the Leoncino’s friendly approach to throttle and handling. Other than that, it’s a simple motorcycle that only gives you the necessary information. It doesn’t waste screen space to display hardcore electronics like traction levels and ABS levels, making it even more accessible.
3 It has amazing stopping power
The Leoncino 500 Trail features a dual 320mm disc with four-piston calipers at the front and a single 260mm disc with two-piston calipers at the rear. And boy are those brakes strong. The young is quicker to decelerate than to accelerate. Although the brakes have a low bite, they can get you to a stop in no time.
Newer drivers may need some time to gain complete confidence in them. However, once they do, it feels precise. Brakes like these are often found on higher segments like 800s or 1000s, showing just how crazy a brake machine the Leoncino is.
2 It offers a comfortable driving experience
Suspension at the front of the Cub features 50mm inverted forks and at the rear a side-placed 60mm mono shock that is adjustable for both preload and rebound. Ride quality is on the softer side.
Although the front end feels heavy, the wider handlebars create decent leverage, making the Leoncino perfect for stop-and-go conditions. Weighing around 456 pounds, the Leoncino is very stable at high speeds and swallows bumps and potholes with ease.
1 It has good off-road tires and rims setup
The Benelli Leoncino Trail has a 19-inch front wheel and a 17-inch spoked rear wheel. The 19-inch front is a blessing off-road as it offers better handling over the regular 17-inch wheels.
They also equipped the trail version with Metzeler Tourance tires that offer decent grip on both the trails and the asphalt. On the trail version, the rear tire is a 150/70 R17, giving it that extra compression needed for jumping the rock beds.