I’m a big fan of naked sportbikes, and those of you who’ve read my stuff would know that I’m a big naked bike simp. As such, whenever new sporty streetfighters hit the market, I can’t help but get really excited – regardless of what manufacturer it’s from. My mantra when it comes to bikes of any type is “try before you judge,” because based on my experience, some of the most enjoyable bikes come from some of the most unsuspecting manufacturers.
EICMA 2023 was full of new and exciting launches of all types of bikes. However, while we’re on the topic of naked bikes, Benelli just unveiled quite a head-turner in the form of the Tornado Naked Twin 500. Yes, I know a lot of you just chuckled after reading that, but unfortunately, Chinese manufacturers aren’t exactly the best when it comes to naming their bikes. For the record, I don’t have a twin, and even if I did, I’m sure they’re not naked, either.
Jokes aside, the Tornado Naked Twin (quite frankly, I think it’d be better if they just called it the TNT 500) is quite a sharp and stylish machine. It clearly blends styling elements from the rest of its modern lineup, and flaunts sleek and aggressive supermoto-esque aesthetics. Up front, it gets a compact LED headlight with an alien-like look, while the pointy bodywork flows from the radiator shrouds to the tail of the bike. Beneath the surface, however, it shares a platform with an existing model, the Leoncino 500 retro-style naked bike.
This means that the Tornado Naked Twin’s underpinnings are pretty much tried and tested. Supplying power is a 500cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin engine with a zero-degree crankshaft. With the mechanical balance of a big single, this engine is known for its torque at low to mid revs, delivering 46 Nm (32 pound-feet) at 6,000 rpm, and 47.6 horsepower at 8,500 rpm. The engine has been updated to comply with Euro 5+ standards, so we get a new exhaust system as well as a few tweaks to the mapping. Power is sent to the rear wheel via a six-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch.
Apart from the technical similarities with the Leoncino 500, Benelli has thrown in some extra tech into the Tornado Naked Twin. Here, we find a large five-inch full-color TFT display complete with Bluetooth smartphone pairing, as well as integrated turn signals on the handguards for a more seamless look. The LED headlight also comes with a T-shaped DRL for extra visibility, while the taillight features an integrated setup with the turn signals.
The new Benelli Tornado Naked Twin 500 is expected to arrive at Benelli dealers around the world within the first half of 2024. That being said, as of this writing, the brand has yet to announce official pricing. If you want to be among the first in line for this new naked bike, it may be a good idea to get in touch with your nearest Benelli dealership to express your interest.