An Italian is joining the small-displacement fun with the other kids, bringing to the U.S. market the 2018 Benelli 302R. The 302R carries the same inline two-cylinder motor as the previously seen in the Tornado 302, an Italian-designed, Chinese-manufactured naked bike from Benelli.

2018 Benelli 302R

The 302R carries the same specs as the 300cc Tornado, with 38 hp (claimed, at crankshaft) at 10,000 rpm and 20 ft-lb of torque at 9,000 rpm from its two-cylinder engine. When we tested the TNT300, our test unit spat out 32.8 hp at 11,200 rpm and 16.6 lb-ft at 9800 rpm. The 300cc powerplant has a bore and stroke of 65 x 45.2mm, a compression ratio of 12:1 and uses a DOHC layout for its four valves per cylinder. Electronic fuel injection is delivered via a 34mm throttle body/.

The Italian machine has a seat height of 30.9-inches, but with a purported dry weight of 418 lbs, it will be one of the heaviest bikes in the quarter-liter sportbike class. The TNT300 we tested scaled in at 450 lbs with its 3.7-gallon tank full, so the 302R will be a bit of a porker.

Battle Of The Low-Buck Nakeds

2018 Benelli 302R

The steel tube frame is suspended by a 41mm inverted fork with 4.7 inches of travel. The single shock in the rear lists a ridiculously short 1.77 inches of travel from the specs we were able to access, which we believe is some sort of typo. The TNT300 lists 4.7 inches of travel, a figure we’d guess is closer to what the 302R has. A pair of 17-inch aluminum rims mate with a 110/70-ZR17 front and a 150/60-ZR17 rear tire.  

2018 Benelli 302R

Braking power comes from dual 260mm discs up front with 4-piston calipers, with a rear 240mm disc clenched by a single-piston floating caliper.

2018 Benelli 302R

Three colors will be offered: white/red, silver/green, and a black/red option.

2018 Benelli 302R

With the TNT300 being sold for $3,999, we hope to see an MSRP not much greater for the 302R. As of now, no pricing has been given. Overall, we think the 302R looks pleasingly sporty. It will be interesting to see one in person for a closer inspection to find out how the fit and finish stack up against its competitors.

Take a look at the video below to see the 302R in action.

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  • john phyyt

    Sorry Benelli but if it is 450 lbs that kills a lot of the fun of staring out in motorcycling. Having a little tip-over in the car park caused it being so hefty really sucks. Buy a lighter used bike . then if you scratch it , no matter.

    • Daniel Benjamin

      While riding the beater, save more money, go an extra $1500 and go with an RC390, which will race the oil filter off this hunk of iron.

      • schizuki

        Until the KaTooM goes kaboom with a blown head gasket.

        • Daniel Benjamin

          Alright, fair point. $1k extra would get you a bullet proof R3 from the tuning fork guys. 80lb lighter, 10hp up. Worth saving the extra cash.

  • Old MOron

    “It will be interesting to see one in person for a closer inspection to find out how the fit and finish stack up against its competitors.”

    MOronic shootout!

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Sooner or later we will have to start accepting Chinese made motorcycles. They might end up being better than the ones we have. Everything else we have is already made in China.

    • allworld

      They need to catch up before they can get better. I think India will be the next big wave of imported bikes. Many are already made there and sold here.
      Cheap Chinese scooters are everywhere and for now that seems to be their only marketable motor vehicle sold in the US.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        And all the CSC 250cc Adventure and Sport bikes.

    • Campisi

      It’s not the “Chinese” bit we’re complaining about, it’s the “32 horsepower for 450 pounds” part.

    • Daniel Benjamin

      The main issue with the majority of the Chinese bikes coming in is the engineering. Their design studios write checks that the motors just can’t cash.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        The only Chinese bike I have read about is the CSC RX-3 250cc Adventure bike and the owners seem to very happy and passionate about their bikes. Zongshen makes a million of them in China plus supplies a million motors to other makers as well as supplies parts to HD and BMW among others. Employs 25,000 people.

        • Daniel Benjamin

          Supplying parts and engineering a motor are very different fields of the trade. Zongshen does a lot of production, sure, but they aren’t out-engineering Honda. Even at the entry level, their products are also-rans.

  • SRMark

    The red, white & gray one needs to be red, white & green.

  • allworld

    Let’s hope no other brands fall into Chinese ownership.

  • Goose

    Can you have a staff meeting to look up the definition of “wheels” and “rims”? This the second time in a week rims has been used incorrectly.

    When I searched for the definition of the words here is the first for each:

    Rim: the upper or outer edge of an object, typically something circular or approximately circular.
    Wheel: a circular object that revolves on an axle and is fixed below a vehicle or other object to enable it to move easily over the ground.

    Yes, pedantic Goose here. But you guys are professionals working at the best (at least in English) online motorcycle web site, you can do better.

    • Old MOron

      Let’s look at the definition of “rim” that you quoted:
      “the upper or outer edge of an object…”

      Oh, like the outer edge of a wheel?

      Let’s have another look at Ryan’s usage:
      “A pair of 17-inch aluminum rims mate with a 110/70-ZR17 front and a 150/60-ZR17 rear tire.”

      Hmm, it’s definitely the outer edge of the wheel, the rim, that mates with the tire. What makes you think our MOron is incorrect?

      • Kevin Duke

        Agreed, but rims are also commonly used as synonyms for wheels, despite the pedantic distinction.

        • Goose

          But is isn’t a synonym yet. Why encourage confusing usage when a simple, clear alternative is available? If you mean rim, say rim, if you mean the whole wheel say that. Why should your reader have to analyse what he/ she reads before understanding what is meant? “He said rim but, based on context, he must mean wheel”.
          I realise I’m an anachronism but I still have the outdated, wacky , pre internet idea that professional writers should should write clear, precise prose. Blame Cook Neilson and Phil Shilling.

          • Old MOron

            When does something become a synonym? When your own pet reference manual says so? How do you feel about Merriam-Webster? Definition 2a makes Ryan’s usage seem quite correct.
            https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rim

          • Kevin Duke

            Never have I encouraged its use, just stating the fact that many people alternatively refer to wheels as rims. It’s sometimes easy to overlook small details. Witness: Phil Schilling.

          • Daniel Benjamin

            People that use the word “rim” for “wheel” are often the same people that say “for all intensive purposes,” and “should of.”

            ***edit: People whom you would never find suitable for employment at MO, señor Duke.

          • Old MOron

            Interestingly, people who invoke condescending tones and make unsupported generalizations are also unsuitable for employment at MO.

          • Daniel Benjamin

            Irony! not just for breakfast anymore

        • Old MOron

          Where were you four hours ago? You could’ve saved me a lot of MOronic analysis.

      • Goose

        Because, based on what you posted, the rim is a PART of a wheel. A wheel is the entire object, the rim is part of that object. If he used another wheel part i.e. hub or spoke (something like “A pair of 17-inch aluminum hubs mate with a 110/70-ZR17 front and a 150/60-ZR17 rear tire”) would you still think he was correct?

        • Old MOron

          Based on the definition that you posted, a rim is PART of an object. Why does it bother you that Ryan has specified the part of the wheel that mates with the tire?

    • kenneth_moore

      You remind me of my dear old Dad. He just couldn’t deal with the fact that languages are dynamic and that the meaning of words change all the time. He was particularly annoyed when “gay” became synonymous with “homosexual,” but other common usages like “sucks” were equally difficult for him.

      I’m not a professional journalist like Mr. Duke, but I think he and other journalists should use the same lingo we all do. Everyone I know understands “rims” are wheels, just like they know “pipes” mean an exhaust system.

  • schizuki

    Looking forward to checking one out at my local Benelli dealersh…

    … uh, never mind.

  • Daniel Benjamin

    http://motorcycle.com.vsassets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/302RBenelli1-633×475.jpg

    I don’t think this guy is actually parked on that slab of concrete… Did Benelli outsource the photoshop job too?

    • schizuki

      So fast it wheelies at standstill!

      Or maybe he accidentally dumped the clutch a millisecond before the pic snapped.

      • Daniel Benjamin

        I go with the clutch dump option.

        Also… is that the sky inside his helmet?

  • MikeD

    “…An Italian is joining the small-displacement fun with the other kids, bringing to the U.S. market the 2018 Benelli 302R…”

    ROTFLMAO. Benelli ? bringing a “NEW” bike over to the USA ? To what dealerships ? Located where ? LMAO.
    I’ll see first a HOREX rolling down the street on my neck of the woods before seeing this go by.

  • Loni Specter

    Available at Victory and Vincent dealerships in the USA?