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  • The tractable powertrain chugs along comfortably at low s...
    The tractable powertrain chugs along comfortably at low speeds.
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Benelli Imperiale 400 long term review, first report

3rd Jan 2021 7:00 am

This retro bike is Benelli’s most affordable offering and the latest entrant in our long-term garage.

While I thoroughly enjoy wracking my brain and pushing myself at work, there’s no denying that it can be tiring. This is when I look forward to a certain task (my guilty pleasure at work), which is collecting or dropping off a motorcycle from a little further than usual. There’s no doubt it’s a little menial, but riding long distance with no agendas of shooting or reviewing can be so therapeutic. 

One of those days had come, and I was on my way to Pune to pick up the updated BS6 Imperiale 400 that was joining our long-term fleet. With nothing on my plate, except for the delicious mutton thali I had for lunch, I was on my way back to Mumbai. The odometer had just rolled over 200km, which meant the Imperiale was still in its break-in period, and so I had to ride slower than usual.

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No slipper clutch, but the lever pull is still quite light.

The Imperiale had no trouble doing that, as its long-stroke engine was designed to give it torque from the get go. In an unhurried manner, I made my way out of Pune traffic and onto the highway, but not a lot changed. I was just cruising slightly faster, with the needle hovering around the 75kph mark. At this speed, the Benelli was in its element. The upright riding position, sprung rider’s seat and smooth but thumpy exhaust note came together for an authentic old-school experience that I was enjoying soaking in.

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The exhaust header pipe has already begun losing its paint.

Once I was back in Mumbai, I was finding every reason I could to get on the Imperiale. This was not just because the bike was such a drama-free motorcycle, but also because I wanted to cross the 1,000km mark and take it for its first service. I was quite literally using it like a commuter, although it can feel large in traffic. So far, I faced only one issue and it was a minor one, where the throttle body coupler came loose. This messed with the bike’s idling and throttle response. It was an easy fix, but we’re not sure why something like this should have happened at all.

Luckily, I was just a few kilometres short of a thousand, which meant I could get this fixed while getting it serviced. The service centre experience was very impressive and the staff were quick to get the bike ready. At Rs 1,804, the service cost isn’t cheap but it isn’t that steep either, when you consider that the bike uses fully synthetic oil.

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The fuel gauge fluctuates unpredictably. Not dependable.

The Imperiale 400 is quite different from all of the other motorcycles that have been part of our long-term fleet. It’s one that’s as much fun to ride at low speeds than at its limit, if not more. It’s a charming laid-back experience and I feel like my colleagues will occasionally want a piece of this slow-paced action.

Also see:

2020 Benelli Imperiale 400 review, test ride

Fact File
Distance covered 1,100km
Price when new Rs 2.11 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Maintenance costs Rs 1804
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