For years and years, Royal Enfield has gathered and nurtured a huge fan following across the world, especially in India. Fans swear by the classic dug-dug and want to change nothing about what the Classic or Bullet 350 look and feel like. It’ll be difficult to find a household which has never had an association with a Royal Enfield. However, the motorcycle market has evolved in India over these years and a lot of the new generation that loves cruisers is looking for something new but with the classic appeal that their parents or grandparents swore by.
By all means, Royal Enfield Classic 350 has never had a direct rival in our market. Several came but fizzled out after initial success in front of the Classic’s giant popularity. Now though, our market now has something that seems capable of challenging the ‘ol king. Dear reader, meet Benelli Imperiale 400.
Benelli Imperiale 400 has slightly bigger engine displacement and hence a bit more power. It is powered by a 374cc air-cooled SOHC FI engine that produces 21 bhp and 29 Nm of torque and is paired with a five-speed transmission. The Classic 350, on the other hand, comes with a 346cc air-cooled engine that puts out 20 bhp and 28 Nm of torque and is paired with a five-speed transmission. So, the power figures are similar in the two motorcycles and so is the fuel efficiency. While the claimed fuel efficiency for the Classic 350 is 35 km to a litre, that for the Imperiale 400 is 33 kpl.
The Imperiale 400 is slightly shorter than the Classic 350 which is 2180mm in length and it has a longer wheelbase of 1440mm which could give it nimble handling. Moreover, the ground clearance on the Imperiale 400 is 165mm which is 30mm more than the Classic 350. However, the Imperiale weighs 13 kg more than the Classic 350 (192 kg) at 205 kg.
The two of them come with telescopic forks upfront. While the Classic 350 gets gas-charged dual shocks at the rear, the Imperiale 400’s rear suspension has dual shocks that are preload adjustable. The two come with disc brakes at both ends, however, the Classic 350 gets a single-channel ABS while Imperiale 400 comes with a dual-channel ABS.
Royal Enfield Classic 350 comes in an array of colour options – Gun Metal Grey, Redditch Red, Redditch Green, Redditch Blue, Signals, and Black. The Imperiale comes in three colour options which all retail at the same price – Red, Black, and Silver.
Carrying a price tag of Rs 1.69 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Imperiale 400 is the most affordable Benelli in India. The prices of the Classic 350 start at Rs 1.45 lakh and go up to Rs 1.64 lakh. However, Benelli also offers first-in-class three-year unlimited km warranty and two years of free service as well.
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