First Impression: Benelli 302R

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Watch our editor’s first impression on all three new Benelli’s

  • The 302R isn’t exactly the most powerful and neither does it have the most electronic toys, but it is arguably the best looking in its class.
  • It weighs in at a hefty 190kg dry, and you do feel the engine struggling to shift that power to the rear wheel, though the six-speed gearbox is smooth and precise.
  • It has some awesome technology like the analogue/digital meter panel, the telescopic upside down front forks, metzeler tyres, a DOHC engine with eight-valves, and an adjustable rear spring suspension.

The Benelli 302R is the little sports bike with big dreams. It reminds me of bikes from the 90s that were really big in size but had small engines, the 302R is bigger than the KTM 390 and heavier too, but has a simple 300cc engine. The rear tyre too has a large profile, so if you want something that shouts ambition, then this it it.

The 302R definitely has the style but power though is just that for a 300cc engine. It puts out 37hp at an amazing 10,000rpm and 27.4Nm of torque from 9,000rpm; you really have to wring the hell out of this engine to access all of the power it is capable of.

It weighs in at a hefty 190kg dry, and you do feel the engine struggling to shift that power to the rear wheel, though the six-speed gearbox is smooth and precise. Even in slow corners or when doing a u-turn, you will feel the heft of this bike, but at just RM21,888, can you really complain?

If there is one thing that the 302R has, it would be style, lots of it. It definitely has a lot of presence and it looks like it is capable of a lot more than what it can actually do, but we’re not complaining. Beauty can sometimes trump character and talent, and that is what the 302R has done.

Handling seems to be okay, I rode it for all of 10 minutes around the Equatorial Hotel, Penang, so can’t really tell you how it handles the bends. But there is one thing I can tell you though, and that it has a long fuel tank. At just 14 litres, the fuel tank is not particularly large, but it is long, and that forces you to move your body forward to reach the handle bars, and the foot pegs are placed a little too close to your body, giving it a cramped feel. But hunker down and rest your torso on the fuel tank though and it feels fine, except that you can’t ride everywhere like that.

It does have some awesome technology though, like the analogue/digital meter panel, the telescopic upside down front forks, metzeler tyres, a DOHC engine with eight-valves, and an adjustable rear spring suspension.

The 302R isn’t exactly the most powerful and neither does it have the most electronic toys, but it is arguably the best looking in its class. We’ll be riding it more thoroughly as soon as a test bike is available to us, we’ll be back with a more thorough review soon.

Click here to see how the 302R compares against its competitors at the Bikes Republic Bike Buyer’s Guide!
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Co-founder of Bikes Republic and a motoring journalist by night. He is a self described enthusiasts with a passion for speed but instead rides a Harley and a Vespa. A man of contradictions, he is just as passionate about time off in the quiets as he is about trail braking into turn one at Sepang Circuit on two or four wheels. You can follow his work here and in Motor Trader magazine and motortrader.com.my.