Benelli Tornado Limited Edition

First Ride: 2007 Benelli TreK Triple charmer with a little help from the Chinese.

When Benelli Moto was acquired by Chinese conglomerate Zhejiang Qianjiang, Benelli already had plans to develop a full range of models based on their mainstay three-cylinder engine. The new Chinese management gave the bright-green light and now the range of Benelli models has grown from the previous two—the Tornado sportbike and the naked TNT—to no less than six. A new chassis has been developed to give life to a new generation of models, including the TreK 1130.

Unlike the Tornado unit, the new frame uses steel tubes to create a twin-spar structure, with the new tubular spars bolting to the engine mounts at the rear of the cylinder head. The rear suspension uses the same massive triangulated tube-steel swingarm and link-actuated shock absorber originally developed for the naked TnT. The front end looks tidy, with a massive Marzocchi 50mm inverted fork that—though adjustable only for rebound damping—produces a superbly rigid and precise front end.

This frame is used by both the Benelli TreK multi-purpose bike and its enduro extrapolation, the TreK Amazonas.

Both bikes are powered by the mildest and most flexible edition of the Benelli Triple, producing a claimed 125 hp at 9000 rpm, with 82.6 ft.-lbs. of peak torque at just 5000 rpm. There is an excellent span of revs separating peak torque from peak power, making the motor flexible and very appropriate for an adventure-bike like the TreK.

It is a big bike, tipping the scales at a claimed 457 pounds, with a 59.6-inch wheelbase. The elegantly crafted and well-sculpted seat is a moderate 31.9 inches high—the reach to the ground is comfortable for those 5-foot-8 and up—and there’s a natural reach to the high, wide handlebar. The riding posture is very comfortable and the fairing does its job effectively.

The engine is very impressive and motivates the bike with ease. Solid oomph is available from as low as 2500 rpm and you can cruise on a twisty, hillside road in fifth gear just feathering the throttle and letting the big torquey Triple burp along. When the mood strikes, a handful of throttle will instantly produce very impressive forward thrust.

Benelli Tornado Limited Edition

Downshifting isn’t mandatory, but exploring the tachometer’s high-rev territory is still rewarding.

Although the engine is very strong and pleasant—the bike’s strongest point—it could use refinement. Depending on the speed selected and on the engine load, my TreK testbike generated some vibration between 3000 and 4500 rpm, possibly from an imperfectly synchronized or counterweighted balancing shaft.

I rediscovered the pleasure of riding up and down the twisty roads of the hills surrounding my hometown on the fast, comfortable and adequately agile TreK. I easily negotiated long stretches of dirt roads, and on the highway I could keep an impressive 100 mph pace with little strain. That’s very appealing to me, but will the TreK have enough appeal around the globe to make the new bosses happy? The bike will be available in limited numbers in the U.S. soon, with a price tag of $14,599.

You can find out more about Benelli here.

Benelli Tornado Limited Edition
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