Lightweight, small-displacement sportbikes are all the rage in Asia and Europe thanks to their sporty styling, approachable performance, and beginner to intermediate license-friendly configuration. Bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 250 and Yamaha YZF-R3 continue their reign of dominance among your riders, however, new entrants in the market have shaken things up quite a bit.
These new entrants, predominantly from Chinese-owned manufacturers, offer enticing value for money and performance which isn't too far from their Japanese and European counterparts. Motorbikes like the CFMoto 250SR and 300SR have proven to be popular in Asia and Australia, while Benelli, too, has been cooking up a storm, or should I say Tornado, with its new and improved 302R. That being said, Benelli is expected to launch yet another iteration of the Tornado sportbike to conform to the licensing regulations of certain markets; the Tornado 252R.
As far as styling goes, the Benelli 252R bears the same sporty aesthetic as that of the 302R. It gives off a thoroughly big bike aura, thanks to its sharp, angular fairings, inverted forks, and LED lights. I think it looks particularly striking in the green and silver colorway—a sporty take on the classic Benelli motif. On the tech side of things, Benelli has outfitted the Tornado 252R with a fully digital LCD instrument panel complete with Bluetooth smartphone connectivity. Additional features consist of a slipper-assist clutch, ABS, and as-standard adjustable levers.
Of course, we can't talk about a sportbike without highlighting its fire-breathing powerplant, well, not really. The Benelli Tornado 252R spits out a decent 25 horsepower via a 249cc parallel twin motor. If it's anything like the engine we find on the TNT, then it probably has a soulful 360-degree crankshaft, lending itself to a very unique exhaust note. Initially launched in China for the equivalent of $3,970 USD, there's no denying that the Tornado sits on the budget-friendly spectrum. Expect this bike to make it into the global market sometime within the year, or early next year. Chances are it'll be displayed at EICMA, too.