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Could Benelli’s new Tornado 402 be a worthy contender in the entry-level sportbike segment?

The brand-new sportbike flaunts a new engine and a built-in dashcam.

Benelli Tornado 402

Qianjiang, a Chinese company, has owned the old Italian motorcycle brand, Benelli, since 2005. While some designing for Benelli still takes place in Italy, only a few models get this privilege. Most of Benelli's motorcycles, like the new Tornado 402, are created and made in Qianjiang's factory in China.

The Tornado name is usually associated with sporty Benelli models. The new Tornado 402 is indeed a sportbike with a full fairing and clip-on handlebars. It has a 400cc engine, which is important because it will mainly be sold in countries where 400cc bikes are considered high-end or where there are rules about engine size, such as here in the Philippines, where expressway access is allowed only to bikes with engines 400cc and up. As such, we can expect this bike to be available in Asia—possibly here in the Philippines, and some parts of Europe.

Benelli Tornado 402

It would have made sense for Benelli to use an existing 400cc twin engine from Qianjiang or QJ Motor, but they didn't. Instead, it appears that the Tornado 402 has a newly designed engine. This engine produces 48 horsepower at 10,000 rpm, which exceeds the European category A2 power limit. The most powerful QJ twin engine available in the 400 series currently produces 41.5 horsepower at 9,000 rpm. It's unclear whether this new engine, like Benelli's 500cc engines, is a co-rotating parallel twin with a zero-degree crankshaft.

The Tornado 402 has a unique aluminum single-sided swingarm with a lower beam, which showcases the polished spoke design of the rear wheel. The front end has a non-adjustable upside-down telescopic fork mounted on a tubular steel frame, and the adjustable shock absorber is from Marzocchi. The bike's braking system, supplied by Nissin, consists of two 300-millimeter discs at the front and a 250-millimeter disc at the rear, with ABS as standard.

Benelli Tornado 402
Benelli Tornado 402

The new Benelli Tornado 402 has an interesting technological feature: a dash cam built into the windshield assembly. This camera records traffic conditions and can save the footage to a smartphone using an app. This feature is useful for documenting fun rides and track sessions, but also for safety and security on the road.

It's not yet confirmed when the Benelli Tornado 402 will be available globally, but it will first be released in China with deliveries starting in the coming months. The price in China will be 31,800 yuan, which is approximately P252,000. Do you think this new sportbike has what it takes to go up against the likes of the Kawasaki Ninja 400, KTM RC 390, and even the CFMOTO 450SR?

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