Benelli’s TRK 702X (shown) and TRK 702 are the latest adventure motorcycles from the Italian brand.Benelli

A new parallel-twin-powered ADV in two flavors.

Benelli was founded in 1911 by the six Benelli brothers, and deserves to be remembered among the great brands of motorcycling—not only of Italian motorcycling. It should not be forgotten that Benelli was the last to win the 250 GP World title with a bike powered by a four-stroke engine. That alone carved Benelli a seat in motorcycling’s Mount Olympus. But not all was milk and honey. At the death of the last of the Benelli brothers, the manufacturer slowly contracted its business, changing hands a few times too many. It finally went bankrupt in 2005, when it was acquired by Chinese giant Qianjiang. From then on Benelli started a steady recovery supported by the enormous marketing potential of the Asian market.

Benelli’s first big hit came with the TRK 502, a nicely designed touring enduro that associates a mild and smooth 360-degree parallel twin and a solid chassis. The engine delivers a claimed 48 hp with a flat torque curve and the chassis is well balanced and features top-quality suspension and braking components. From the huge success of the TRK 502, Benelli started developing a whole range of parallel twins.

Behind the 502 came the 800 engine, which in reality displaces 754cc and features a 270-degree crankshaft. This engine has been floating around for years, having been conceived prior to the acquisition by Qianjiang and it took a lot of careful work to bring it to satisfactory performance levels and fit it to the non-US TRK 800, another GT-enduro model that follows the same aesthetic and technical parameters that led the TRK 502 to its big success in Europe.

The TRK 702 is the street-focused of the two new models with cast aluminum wheels and road tires.

Now comes the TRK 702 that can be regarded as an intermediate model—though its real displacement is very close to that of the TRK 800 at 698cc. However, the engine is about the size and the weight of the 502 to the point that it was possible to harness it in the same frame of the 502. Both models weigh nearly the same, separated by a mere 4.4 pounds: 469.5 pounds for the TRK 502 and 473.9 for the TRK 702. This is the confirmation of the remarkable technical evolution that the Benelli Project Engineering Department has gone through in the last six years.

The 698cc parallel is an oversquare unit featuring a 83mm bore and 64.5mm stroke. Bore and stroke numbers do not relate to those of either the 502 and of the 800 and rumor has it the new twin might be inspired by the Kawasaki Z650 twin; when we check the numbers the bore is the same 83mm of the Kawi while the stroke has been increased to 64.5mm to get the larger displacement.

Chain-driven dual overhead cams operate four valves per cylinder, breathing through two 41mm throttle bodies. A compression ratio of 11.6:1 has been adopted to obtain a claimed 70 hp peak power at 8,000 rpm with 51.6 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 6,000 rpm. Specific power and torque are better than those generated by both the 502 and the 800cc units. The 698 is homologated in accordance with Euro 5 emission standards and all engine electronics management is handled by a Bosch MSE 6 ECU that provides traction control and interacts with the ABS control unit.

Benelli claims 70 hp from the 702’s 698cc engine.

The chassis is based on a steel tubing trellis frame identical to the 502 unit, but further triangulated at the front to include new engine mounts. Steel tubing is 32mm in diameter with 3mm gauge to ensure structural reliability in face of the very rough roads these bikes have to digest.

Wheelbase spans a substantial 59.3 inches to obtain a well-balanced weight distribution even with two aboard. The fuel tank holds 5.3 gallons and yet is nicely styled and well integrated with the profile of the aggressive front section that features a strong beak-shaped false fender. An ergonomically shaped seat ensures support and comfort to the rider and passenger. Interestingly, seat height at 31 inches is slightly lower than that of the TRK 502; this detail further confirms a more refined global design.

Front suspension is a Marzocchi 50mm fork that moves through 5.5 inches of wheel travel. At the rear an aluminum swingarm ensures a 6.1-inch wheel travel in combination with a link-actuated, fully adjustable shock absorber. The new Benelli 702 rolls on 120/70-17 and 160/60-17 Pirelli Angel GT radials, and the braking system features twin 320mm rotors squeezed by radial-mount four-piston calipers that are marked Benelli, though they look like Brembo, or like copies of Brembo’s celebrated units.

A 5-inch TFT display acts as a connectivity center that integrates via Bluetooth to the smartphone. By downloading a specific application, the smartphone receives constant updates that turn the instrumentation display into a Wi-Fi connected navigation system.

Benelli TRK 702X

Benelli 702 has been developed in two versions, the regular road tourer and a semi-adventurous dirt-road explorer. Nothing radical, just a smart duplication of a well-conceived platform in order to appeal to a wider public.

Weighing just 4.4 pounds more than the TRK 502, the TRK 702X and TRK 702 will have an increased power-to-weight ratio.

Looking closely, we see the 702X shares all fundamental components—engine, frame, suspensions, brakes, riding posture, and basic styling—just with a touch of more spirited graphics. For tougher riding conditions come spoked wheels and more dirtworthy tires. At the front a 19-inch classic aluminum rim and steel spoked wheel replaces the regular 17-inch cast aluminum unit, while at the rear the wire wheel retains the 17-inch size. Here, the wheels are shod with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR in 110/80-19 and 150/70-17 measurements. Accessories and electronics suite are the same, with the sole addition of hand guards at the grips.

Pricing in the US has not been confirmed. Stay tuned.