Benelli showcased a new retro cruiser bike at EICMA. Called the Imperiale 400, the bike is headed to India. Here, it will be a challenger to the Royal Enfield 350cc retro bikes. The Imperiale 400 is powered by a 373cc four stroke engine. The air cooled engine produces a peak power of 20PS at 5500 rpm and a peak torque of 28Nm at 3500 rpm.
In fact, the engine tune is very similar to that on the Royal Enfield 350s. The only difference is that the Imperiale 400’s engine has an overhead cam shaft compared to the Royal Enfield 350’s pushrod system of valve actuation. The gearbox is a five speed manual unit. A chain drive to transmit torque to the rear wheel is standard.
Suspension on the bike consists of telescopic front forks and twin shock absorbers at the rear. Disc brakes are present on both wheels with ABS offered as standard. The bike rides on spoked wheels, with a 19 inch front tyre and an 18 inch rear tyre.
Styling is retro with a lot of chrome being used on the engine, mudguards and mirrors. Benelli seems to have Royal Enfield in mind and this explains the chrome, styling as well as engine tune. The bike also gets provision for saddle bags, and twin seats.
Benelli has not given any price indication for this motorcycle. We believe that Benelli will have to price the bike under Rs. 2 lakhs if it has any ambition of taking the fight to Royal Enfield. Such pricing is easily possible with local manufacture.
The Royal Enfield brand is very strong in India, and it is not easy for a new brand like Benelli to take on it. Under such conditions, good pricing is critical for success. A launch timeline in India for the Imperiale 400 has not yet been announced but a end-2018 launch is expected. The bike could be shown at the 2018 Indian Auto Expo, which will happen in February next year.