2021 Benelli 752S
Ever dreamed of being a superhero? Ever wanted to tackle crime using nunchucks while wearing a bandana in green body paint? Ever wanted to be a real life Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? If this is you then you’re probably not old enough to have a ’bike licence. But if by some strange evolutionary malfunction this does describe you, the new Benelli 752S (especially in green) is probably right up your dark, wet, badly lit alleyway. Fighting the enemy is certainly not the Benelli’s strong point though. It would be the equivalent of entering Johnny Vegas into an MMA fight; providing a comical experience for sure, but in no way equipped with the necessary aggression, athleticism or power needed to smash the enemy into unconsciousness. Let me tell you why; see, the Benelli is pitched as a low-cost alternative within the middleweight naked market, and at £6500 OTR, it certainly knocks the knees out of its competitors when it comes to the expenditure department. I mean come on, that’s more than a fair price! But the question is, does it give you value for money? One thing’s for sure – you won’t be sat at the roadside trying to work out which traction setting to put it in, or how best to set up your electronic suspension for the changing weather conditions. It’s pretty simple, there’s zero tech! The ‘quickshifter’ on the bike is fully adjustable on the fly… you simply decide how quickly you would like the next gear and you change manually accordingly, with optional extras such as the use of the clutch lever thrown in for added value at no extra cost. It is bog standard and basic which reminds me of my first big bike, learning how to rag the arse off it with minimal power or competence underneath (or within!) me. There’s just you, that 754cc engine, and a bit of ABS thrown in for good (or bad) measure.
Well, that’s not strictly true actually, as the 752S does demonstrate some awareness of the modern era; it throws brightly coloured information at me from the TFT dash which is pleasantly easy to read while in motion. That’s always a bonus, and given the current crop of middleweights available from most manufacturers, a punchymotor and flickable, short chassis are the basic goalposts to hit… so I was excited to get cracking on the Benelli. And let’s be honest, the odd short, sharp wheelie and ability for a stoppie should be thrown in the package for good measure. It’s a shame to report that after spending some time in the saddle, it doesn’t really provide any of that in its turtle-shelled package, which is actually quite an apt description. The inline twin motor provides about as much punch as a slightly miffed toddler having had its dummy taken away, and has the character of the travel agent in Little Britain which just says “computer says no” to any suggestion of playfulness you request.
Even though it packs 75bhp and 67Nm of torque, which on the face of it is perfectly reasonable power output for the middleweight market, the sheer weight of the titanic Benelli stops any potential surge of oomph coming from the green machine. It weighs a jawdropping 228kg, which in the motorbike world is closer to a tourer than a middleweight whipper-snapper. It’s so heavy that I bet in the wet, it would grip like sh1t sticks to a blanket! The weight is pretty high up too, not helped by amahoosive 14.5-litre tank. Moving it around is no easy task either… I felt like if I were to try and abide by health and safety regulations, I would need Frodo to whip out some aircraft bats to guide me back into the unit, while I set off some sort of reversing bleeper. They obviously chose to leave out the green power-bands when assembling this model, which can sometimes be a great decision for usability for most riders wanting to commute or take pillions. Although the powermight not bemind bending, it is very linear and has no sudden steps or sudden pulls, making it predictable and easy to ride. That said, the Benelli does hit you with a bigger dose of adrenaline than any bike I’ve ever ridden before, and I guarantee it would to anyone else too – even GP riders used to insane speeds, g-forces and lean angles. The bad news is it’s not through riding the Benelli that you get the endorphins fix, it’s through putting it on its sidestand. Jesus flipping Christ… my heart hasn’t jumped out of my chest as much since Bruce got his purse out to pay for lunch! I’ve not seen anything bend as much as this stand that isn’t paid to be in the Olympic gymnastic squad – I honestly thought I was about to get 228kg pinning me to the floor. And as amusing as it would be watching Carl prolapse while trying to lift it off me, I was reassured to see the stand is actually perfectly strong enough. It does do it every single time though, which makes for a great party trick when you want to put your mate into cardiac arrest. The last of the bad news surprisingly is the brakes which, despite getting me a bit excited due to the fact it’s sporting Brembo calipers, tended to bemore wooden than your average oak tree.
There are probably a number of factors for this, the weight being one of them. They could be easily improved by fitting some better pads, braided lines and a better master cylinder (which as standard is a very basic fitment), which would eradicate the issue I’m sure; but as a total thing, it is cool to see a Brembo logo on a bike that sits in at under seven grand. And on that subject, I think it’s about time I delivered some good news now though, which fortunately for my fat hoop and tender age comes in the form of comfort. What the Benelli lacks in outright performance and stunt-ability, it more than makes up for in day-to-day usability. It has a big set of wide ’bars which make life hugely easy to throw the bike from side to side, helping all that weight to disappear when you’re in motion, making for a smooth, comfortable and effort-free ride. The Marzocchi suspension on the 752S is actually surprisingly capable and laps up most things you can throw at it; I even had some fun managing to ‘back in’ this hefty beast which was a surprise to say the least, even if it did feel like I was broad-siding a 1997 Volvo V90. Despite the poor ground clearance, the chassis actually copes with abuse very well and I wouldn’t want to make many adjustments to it to get it to feel better – for the road it’s pretty well set up out of the box. The finish is actually very nice too, it doesn’t feel ‘cheap’ or like it’s going to fall apart the second it’s out of warranty, which is a reasonable concern for bikes that you don’t have to take a mortgage out on to purchase. I know it’s subjective, but I actually quite like the funky styling which gives you the impression it could be a bit of a cruiser too if you were that way inclined. Sure, a bright white one-piece cow suit isn’t the best image for it, but whack on a pair of Kevlar jeans and a brown leather jacket and I think it would potentially turn a few heads cruising through town. A few other ‘must have’ modifications would be a louder pipe, to transform the sewing machine-esque noise into something more raucous, and I’d also want to change the number plate/rear mudguard for a tail tidy of some description. With that in place, the green machine would look pretty mean!
So the original question still remains; is it value for money? It’s certainly cheaper than its rivals, but for my money it depends on what you want a bike for. If you want to hoon around on a peachy, perky, midpowered, lightweight frame on wheels, this bike isn’t even a contender. Its lack of grunt and poor diet stops it from competing with the likes of the MT-07 in the budget corner and the Brutale 800 on the expensive side, which comparatively are both sub-litre laughs in their own way. However if you’ve no interest or intention on trying to maim yourself laying down some impressive moves while out riding and you don’t want to spend a fortune, the 752S is a stylish, easy to ride option which will help your bank balance considerably. It’s a great bike to commute on, or even to go for a scenic tour on a sunny day with your missus on the back, which always makes buying a new bike an easier sell to the real boss!
Type: 754cc Inline two cylinders, four-stroke, liquid cooled
Bore x stroke: 88mm x 62mm
Fuelling: Electronic injection
Claimed power: 77hp @ 8500rpm
Claimed torque: 67Nm @ 6500rpm