Benelli Leoncino Trail, confirms itself as a small / large motorcycle in the medium-displacement category, perfect for everyday use and in medium / short-range tourism.
Aesthetically very successful, in the Trail version or “modern scrambler”, with the mix of matt gray tank and glossy black frame. A combination perhaps taken for granted, but a sure success.
At first sight
Turn on the ignition and immediately think of a poor instrument that perhaps has a tachometer ... and yet not yet. There is everything, absolutely everything. From the fuel level (not so obvious), to the indication of the gears (all), the temperature of the liquid, but surprisingly, also that of the air. All digital and very readable. in conclusion truly complete and even with theSwitchable ABS from the convenient button even if, as we will see in the guide, it is fine as it is without removing it in the most “sporty” moments.
Moving on to the controls, here too there is no room for components that would increase costs and which all in all, in this category, are of little use. Much better to limit costs where possible. The tank is perfectly integrated between frame and saddle, and its soft and modern lines allow you to easily mount a bag Sw-Motech Evo to have everything you need close at hand.
You get the feeling that everything is close at hand and the feeling with the motorcycle it is immediate. Overall, no particular economies or fragilities are seen. Maybe made in China, but of a good standard. The cable clutch is fine, soft and allows precise engagement.
The headlights are also nice, modern and all led as well as the arrows, but the gem is the sculpted lion on the front fender, a tangible reference to the friezes of luxury cars.
In the saddle
When the bike is turned on, the cold idle is not exactly linear, but it takes little to get to the right engine rpm. The first is engaged and off we go. The 500cc displacement fits perfectly for what the vehicle has to do.
The city is his kingdom and even short / medium-range trips do not ask for higher displacements. Then the writer is "differently young" and with a 350 he traveled 2 entire continents, but they were other times. Even on the way home to the office, the vehicle is perfect and well modulated, but capable of conceding much fun if you dare with the accelerator.
La maneuverability it is certainly the greatest merit of the little lion. In city traffic you have fun and don't regret it scooter. This is a real bike and you can feel it above all under braking or on the Milanese cobblestones, where holes and tracks are hardly noticeable, on the contrary you go away easily without any difficulty. Not a small value especially for those with little experience. A great help is certainly given by i generous tires with branded, lightweight enduro tread premium. The semi-tessellated sculpting also winks at the style scrambler of the bike and the message that the house wanted to convey.
Trying to "frustrate" in the sections where the traffic allows it, the engine responds generously. Round and elastic at the low end, to then rise well, albeit within the limits of the displacement. Even the muffler knows how to convey what you want at that moment, passing from a sober hum to a thrilling roar, going up the revs and silencing many other higher displacement bikes.
On the road
The next day, just before the sad lockdown, we leave for a trip to the Oltrepo 'Pavese, in order to try the bike even in mixed routes. The guide is immediately intuitive and everything works fine. The engine pushes the right, also helped by the not excessive weight but with the low center of gravity, which facilitates general driving and cornering. The impression is to always feel safe and with good room for maneuver in case of unforeseen events.
The writer would prefer a more decisive braking immediately, but you get used to it and you understand that to disconnect better you just need to use more force on the system and you will immediately find the right compromise. The double 320 disc front with 4-piston radial caliper and 260 rear with single-piston, finally do their job.
La stability it is however the main advantage even in the fold or on bumpy. The route chosen up to Broni (PV) is made up of many straights immersed in the countryside, interrupted by large roundabouts and some curves. The asphalt is not the best especially near the Becca bridge which stands where Ticino plunges into the Po ', offering a beautiful view. The road requires a lot of acceleration out of the roundabouts and a lot of braking before entering, but the bike always does its duty.
Also consumption is good as well as autonomy. In-line twin engine, trellis frame with exposed tubes, suspension with 50mm fork and rear mono do not make us regret anything else. Let's not forget the reduced seat height that makes the bike attractive even to the female audience.
In addition to the slightly capricious engine in the cold, the only other drawback remains on long journeys and on the motorway where the absent aerodynamic protection makes you feel the need for a fairing or windshield, especially for those who intend to do many kilometers around.