After four long years of waiting, Benelli fans finally get the Sport variant of the Leoncino 500, the only catch is that the bike is available in China—at least for now.
EICMA 2017 saw Benelli unveil the Leoncino 500 Sport, a more cafe-racer-styled motorcycle that is based on the Leoncino 500. Similar to the standard base bike, the Sport gets some added enhancements which include some clip-on handlebars, a windshield, a unique exhaust, wire-spoke wheels, and even a saddlebag.
Also of note is the new gauge cluster that Benelli supplied with the Sport. It gets a blue LED backlit cluster, which may find its way into other models in the near future. It still retains the same LED, taillight, indicators, and headlight—albeit with a windshield, as found on the standard model.
It also gets some extra power under the tank, as the 499.6cc parallel-twin punches out 48 horsepower at 8,500 RPM and 34.67 ft-lb of torque at 5,500 RPM. The gains over the standard model are minimal as the Sport gets only about a one-horsepower boost and about a three-quarter ft-lb gain.
Still, progress is progress, and would-be buyers will enjoy the same 50mm upsidedown forks from the standard model as well as the very accessible 30.9-inch seat height. Plus, it also features dual-disc front brakes and a single disc at the back, which could be the same units found on the standard Leoncino.
I'm particularly fond of how the bike looks. The exhaust in particular is something different for the model, and the wire-spoke wheels give it a vintage vibe. There are a few things that don't really make me gush over it, however, like the saddlebag that is off to one side. It's a bit awkward, but it's safe to assume that the rider can remove it.
Still, minor complaints about Benelli's Leoncino 500 Sport aside, it looks like the Sport might make its way to North America seeing as the brand launched the Leoncino 500 Trail not too long ago.