A very modern Italian brand, with diverse portfolio of Naked supersports to entry level faired sports bikes, comes with a Single-cylinder, Retro Classic, 374cc churning out 20 horses of power and 29Nm of Torque.
We had the pleasure of riding this World War era styled Imperiale 400 and we are more than pleased.
Design and Features
We know, In India, Royal Enfields, Triumph Bonneville, Jawas, are very much loved and we have always thoroughly enjoyed riding such classic motorcycles. These city cruisers are very distinctive giving Macho looks and timeless charm. Benelli has hit that perfect mark in recreating their own designs back from those days. Imperiale gives off that retro appeal for those who are nostalgia driven and younger generation of rider as well.
Being a pleasant looking bike, with very less Chrome (May irk some Chrome Lovers), a clear British-era design, everything Black, including the Engine Blocks, both fenders, neatly stacked Exhaust and muffler and pretty much everywhere your eyes can go is Black. The Handlebars and the Mirrors (they are Plastic-Chromed mirrors, so one might have to maintain those finish on mirrors more than the bike itself). The instrument cluster is classic styled Round dials of most Analogue and part digital placement. Its swanky, with those Speed indicator arcs having both kmph/Mph readings. Fuel and Gear indicator are only digital. Switch cluster is basic, just don’t seem to digest the need for caution lights (most of the time it is used to gain attention). Handlebar is wide and very comfy. Steel finished Brake/Clutch lever are eye sore, a big let off on overall neat Bike. Round headlamps, clear turn indicators without any LEDs. Wide Rider split seat with the retro spring fittings gives enjoyable rides.
Spoked Rims (19” at front and 18” at rear) are typical steel finished which mounts 300mm disc with 2 callipers at front and 240mm single piston at rear comes with standard dual-channel ABS. The rims are loaded with TVS tyres. A 41mm telescopic front fork and the rear is handled by twin pre-load adjustable shocks.
So, overall a good looking, neatly crafted bike that promise a second look every time you take this Italian horse to fire some “Bullets” 😉
Engine Specs And Performance
The Imperiale is powered by a 374 cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine (by my reckoning, they should’ve gone with two cylinder and liquid cooling) that produces 20.7 bhp of power, enough to get the bike top out at 128 kmph (our testing) and 29Nm of torque ensures that you reach desirable speeds faster. Engine is paired with a 5 speed smooth functioning gearbox. Gear ratios are long and great. Engine is refined and more importantly it is solid bang for a buck in low and mid-range revs.
If one tries to redline lower gears it immediately looses the power and you will find the bike stuttering. But the power is on-demand, every time you need to make that quick overtake whether on highway or in a mild city traffic. Inside heavy traffic, the weight of the bike as well as annoyingly short turning radius makes it difficult to battle the traffic. At mid-range, especially over a highway in “4th Gear” the bike becomes effortless. To the tune that while cruising at around 90-100 kmph, the runs smooth as flying in the air and don’t even require that last shift of gear.
Even though its a good at low and mid-range, anything above 4.5 rpm, the bike will do everything possible to make each of your body part tickle. Just as good as a massaging chair (well that’s an additional feature for free). The exhaust note is sweet, there is distinctive THUMP. But while cruising over good speed the sound from the exhaust is soothing. Ride height is 780mm, generously tall, but for any rider above 5’5” it will not be any issue.
The weight distribution on this 205 kilo bike is well managed so everytime when you pick up the bike from the stand, you barely feel all that weight. The engine is nestled into a ‘twin downtube craddle’ tubular chassis and is pushed far towards the centre for that idle weight distribution. A wide handlebar adds the ease of ride and smooth manoeuvring in the city roads. I did not like the brakes as much. The front brake comes with 4 mode adjustable braking lever that reduces the free-play of the brake. 1 being the most and 4 the least. Dual channel ABS works good enough.
The refined engine, precise and smooth gear shifts, incredible well engineered gearbox, quick responsive throttle all together offers a complete riding package. It has the right looks, correct engine, good ride posture and sitting, calm engine, soothing sound from exhaust and that Classic Retro genre motorcycle can give you a pleasurable and memorable ride on every start. With 1.69 lakh INR price tag (ex-show) this bike is about to give hard time to existing classic bikes.
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