Benelli Motorcycles USA has announced that the “Little Lion” is coming to U.S. soil. The 2021 Benelli Leoncino Scrambler is powered by a 500cc DOHC parallel-twin engine, featuring a claimed 48 horsepower at 8,500 rpm. It also boasts a non-adjustable 45mm USD fork and a single rear shock unit, equipped with spring-preload and rebound damping adjustment. MSRP is set at $6,199.
From Press Release:
For more than a century, the Benelli brand has brought innovation to the motorcycle world, playing a key role in the evolution of the modern motorcycle. This 100 year heritage of Italian design culminates with Benelli’s revered Leoncino legacy, and Benelli Motorcycles USA is proud to welcome the legend back to America with the 2021 Benelli Leoncino.
Inspired by the classic café racers of Benelli’s golden years, the 2021 Leoncino (a charming Italian term for “little lion”) lives up to its namesake, exuding the proud sporting heritage of Benelli with nimble cornering ability and responsive handling. Traditional shapes and modern curves flow together in the new red bodywork, crowned by the Lion of Pesaro perched on the front fender.
Powered by a 500cc parallel-twin engine with dual overhead cams and fuel injection, the Leoncino pours on a smooth flow of power. A generous midrange and six speed transmission make excellent use of its 48 horsepower (at 8500), offering an incredibly fun and easy to ride motorcycle. Quiet and powerful 2 into 1 exhaust add to the traditional lines of the Leoncino, while also providing a pleasing sound.
The lightweight steel lattice frame provides a stable platform for the chassis, with a center of gravity and a low seat height to match. An inverted fork with 45mm tubes in the front, and an adjustable laterally mounted single shock in the rear provide an incredibly smooth ride. Cast alloy 17-inch wheels are fitted with premium Pirelli Angel ST radial tires. Ultra strong brakes feature four piston calipers and dual 320mm discs on the front, and 260mm single disc brakes in the rear.
Minimalist bodywork represents an authentic and pure design concept, one that recalls the style and accessibility of the original machine of the 19501950’s: Engine, frame, wheels and a handlebar. Contemporary technology including digital instrumentation and LED headlight and modern performance round out this playful and superbly functional package that could only come from Benelli.
List price for the 2021 Benelli Leoncino, currently available at Benelli Motorcycle dealers, is $6,199. Find more information, including specifications, at http://benelli.ssrmotorsports.com/bikes/leoncino.php
I dropped by the local dealership and took a look at, and a sit on, the Leoncino. TBH, I was quite impressed. It’s quite nice looking in person. Radial-mount calipers in front with 320mm rotors, ABS, USD forks, rebound adjustment front & rear, Pirelli Angel ST’s, etc. The specs are actually pretty impressive, and the build quality looked good in my short walk-around.
The seat and ergos felt good. I wasn’t fond of the handlebar. I would prefer a lower, narrower bar, but wide, almost dirt-bike-like bars seem to be popular these days. It reminded me of the bar on the Yamaha XSR 900 I test-rode last year.
I’d love to see a road test, perhaps even a comparison test with the Honda CB500.