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Benelli Leoncino joins scrambler scramble

2018 Benelli Leoncino

The scramble to have scramblers in your fleet continues with Italian-designed and Chinese-owned Benelli’s Leoncino scrambler.

The 496cc parallel-twin-powered learner-approved scrambler is now available in Australia at $8990 ride away.

Does Leoncino scramble?

It’s not exactly what we call a scrambler, but this video suggests it is.

It shows the rider sedately cruising through some picturesque Italian countryside before cutting loose on some gravel roads.

However, if you look carefully at the video, the bike suddenly changes colour and inherits spoked wheels and more aggressive knobby tyres when it hits the dirt!

That’s because there is a road-oriented version with a 17-inch mag wheels and Pirelli Angel road rubber, as well as a Trail version with spoked wheels and slightly knobby tyres.

The Leoncino Trail arrives in August 2018 in red, silver or black, at $9590 ride away.

2018 Benelli Leoncino Trail
Leoncino Trail

Everything else seems the same, although it appears to have slightly longer travel and more clearance.

The Trail version is coming soon and should cost much the same. Orders are now being taken.

Interestingly, some of the supplied press photos show the Leoncino with mag wheels and knobby rubber which is what some owners might do.

2018 Benelli Leoncino
Leoncino with knobby rubber

Pesaro engine

Benelli was established in 1911 but is now owned by Chinese company Group Qianjiang.

Like most of their fleet, this model is designed and assembled in Italy with some Chinese components. However, they say the engine is made in Pesaro.2018 Benelli Leoncino

The fuel-injected engine has 35kW of power at 8500 revs and maximum torque of 45Nm at 4500rpm, a double overhead camshaft timing system and four valves per cylinder.

It is married to a six-speed gearbox with a hydraulic clutch.

Italian design

It was designed by Pesaro studio CentroStile Benelli in 2015, paying tribute to the original 1955 125cc Leoncino, including a trellis frame and the Lion of Pesaro on the front fender.

Despite its heritage, the bike has some modern touches such as full LED lighting.2018 Benelli Leoncino

The suspension features upside-down 50mm forks and a laterally mounted shock absorber.

Brakes are 320mm twin discs up front with four-piston brake calipers and a 260mm disc on the rear and a double piston caliper with Bosch ABS.2018 Benelli Leoncino

The bikes feature a 815mm seat height which is higher than the low Ducati Scrambler at 790mm.

They come in a choice of red, silver or black with a 24-month factory warranty and 24-month Customer Care Program.

It’s not the cheapest scrambler on the Australian market. That honour goes to the 445cc single-cylinder SWM Silver Vase at $7490 on the road.

SWM Silver Vase 440 scrambler engines - Leoncino
SWM Silver Vase 440 scrambler

Like Benelli, SWM is an old Italian company rescued from the scrap heap by Chinese investment.

DSK Benelli Leoncino ABS

2018 Benelli Leoncino and Leoncino Trail
2018 Benelli Leoncino and Leoncino Trail
Engine: In-line 2 cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4 stroke Displacement: 499.6cc
Power: 35kW @ 8500rpm Torque: 45Nm @ 4500rpm
Bore: 69mm Stroke: 66.8mm
Fuel System: Fuel Injection Fuel: Petrol
Transmission: 6 Speed  Clutch:  Hyrdaulic
Brakes (front): 320mm twin discs Brakes (rear): 260mm disc
Chassis: Trellis Suspension Front: 50mm upside-down forks
Suspension Rear: Lateral mono shock
Tyres (front): 110/80-19 (tubeless) Tyres (rear): 160/70-17 (tubeless)
Wheel (front): 19 inch Wheel (rear): 17 inch
Wheels Type (Pressed Steel/ Alloy): Alloy
Length/Width/Height: 2100mm/800mm/1160mm Fuel Capacity: 15 litres
2018 Benelli Leoncino
Leoncino Trail