Friday, October 20, 2006

Benelli show new models at the Intermot

750cc Due - the brave new face of Benelli!

At the recent Intermot show in Germany, Benelli unveiled the Due, a chunky-looking, unfaired sports bike. This is the first bike to be shown by the company after Chinese manufacturer Qianjiang took over Benelli. The Due is powered by a 756cc, DOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled parallel twin, which makes about 100 horsepower. Later, Benelli may also make another version of this bike with a 600cc, 70bhp parallel twin.

The company also showed the BX, a 459cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder motocrosser, which may go into production early next year and later might be joined by a 250cc motocrosser as well. Also on display was the 49X prototype scooter, which is slated to go into production next year. Benelli, who used to make the six-cylinder 1000 and 750 'Sei' motorcycles (see pic below) in the 1970s/80s, may once again do a six-cylinder cruiser, though details are not available right now.

Qianjiang (the largest scooter manufacturer in China, and valued at over one billion US dollars!) plan to move rapidly and expand Benelli's product line-up, moving into every market segment which they feel will experience significant growth. They are also pumping in money to build a new factory near Pesaro, in Italy, which will have the capacity to manufacture more than 30,000 two-wheelers per year. Looks like this is one of those rare comeback stories which won’t fade away anytime soon…!

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