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  • Narrow profile and wide handlebar gives you an agile ridi...
    Narrow profile and wide handlebar gives you an agile riding experience.
  • Instrument cluster is a basic digital unit. Could do with...
    Instrument cluster is a basic digital unit. Could do with a TFT dash.
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    Tail tidy gets a compact design, and is a neat aesthetic element.
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Rating 6 6

Benelli Leoncino 250 review, road test

17th Jan 2020 8:00 am

The smallest Leoncino in the Benelli line-up proves to be a very competent bike for the city streets.

  • Make : Benelli
  • Model : Leoncino
We Like
Styling draws attention
Well equipped for sporty riding
Punchy engine.
We Don't Like
Far too expensive
Cramped ergonomics
Refinement needs to improve.

Benelli India lists its Leoncino line-up under the Scrambler tab on its website, and the Leoncino 250 is the second bike to be added to this tab after the Leoncino 500, which came in a few months ago. The 500 impressed us a good deal and we were curious as to see what the 250 was like, and whether it could live up to the benchmark set by its older sibling. So we put it through our extensive road test, and here’s what we thought of it.

The Leoncino 250, as the name suggests, is a smaller iteration of the Leoncino 500. It shares an almost identical design philosophy and essentially looks like a shrunk-down version of its older sibling. A number of aspects are shared between the two bikes, like the scooped seat, mudguard-mounted rear number plate holder, black panels on the tank, and even the little lion emblem on the front fender. What’s different though is that these elements on the 250 don’t have as much detail as they do on the bigger bike. For instance, the seats don’t feature the cross-stitched pattern and the lion emblem loses out on some of the more intricate lines. The headlight too, is different; it uses a pill-shaped LED headlamp instead of the round unit of the 500.

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LED headlight features a distinguishing design, works well.
 

Overall, the Leoncino is quite a good-looking motorcycle. It’s sharp and compact, with unique elements like the stubby tail contributing to this design philosophy. It’s not what you’d consider an unconventional design, but it certainly does get a fair share of attention out on the road.

The 249cc, single-cylinder unit powering the bike is fairly punchy, and while it’s certainly not a performance benchmark, there’s enough on offer to keep you happy. That and a bassy exhaust note! It’s not a very refined engine, though, and you will feel (and hear) vibrations higher up in the rev band, but not at levels that will bother you. Peak power of 25.8hp is produced at 9,250rpm, while a maximum torque of 21Nm comes in at 8,000rpm. What this means is you have to wring out the engine to really get going, but the Leoncino 250 won’t mind and is quite happy higher up in the rev band.

In our performance tests, the Leoncino 250 managed the 0-60kph sprint in 3.49sec, while to 100kph, it took 9.68sec. These figures aren’t exemplary, and while they are almost identical to the Suzuki Gixxer 250’s, the similarly priced Honda CB300R is vastly quicker all around.

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Throaty exhaust note for a single-cylinder; best sounding in its class.

 

The Leoncino 250 uses a steel trellis chassis, a 41 mm USD fork and a pre-load adjustable monoshock that work together to provide a rather sporty riding experience. Filtering through traffic comes naturally, given its compact proportions, and it manages to hold its own even at speed. While the performance it offers doesn’t necessarily require this, the grippy Metzeler M5s are certainly a welcome addition, and they inspire a great deal of confidence while cornering. With a kerb weight of 162kg, the 250 is also reasonably light and it feels that way too. Braking is handled by a 280mm disc at the front and a 240mm disc at the rear, and while it could do better in terms of feel, stopping potential is adequate and certainly one of the better ones in the segment.

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This is where the Leoncino 250 really holds its own. Despite being a high-revving engine, the little Leoncino returned rather impressive fuel-efficiency figures. Our standard tests delivered 33.9kpl in the city and 39.4kpl out on the highway, for a combined average of 36.6kpl – admirable for a bike with these specifications.

While the characteristics mentioned above add to the visual presence of the bike, some of them take a toll on the ergonomics. For starters, the seat is a bit too narrow and small. The use of a softer padding and some more space for the pillion would have done a great deal in improving overall comfort. However, what’s really bothersome is the position of the rider foot pegs; they are aggressively rear-set, resulting in a cramped riding position. In fact, the riding ergos and the suspension setup feel more in line with a sporty naked, and that means standing up and riding through broken stretches (as you would on a scrambler) doesn’t feel like a natural process. Having said that, I wouldn’t categorise the Leoncino 250 as particularly uncomfortable. While you could get away with commuting on it every day, the ergonomics and comfort are just not what you’d expect from a motorcycle in the category.

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Seat is narrow and firm, very little room for a pillion.

 

The Leoncino 250 is a motorcycle that has its charms, but the price is certainly a deal-breaker. An ex-showroom price of Rs 2.5 lakh puts it a whole Rs 1 lakh above the Suzuki Gixxer 250, a motorcycle with very similar levels of performance. You could also get yourself its fully faired counterpart in the form of the Gixxer SF250, which costs close to Rs 10,000 more than the naked variant. The pricing of the Leoncino 250 puts it in the space of more accomplished machines. For this money, you could get the KTM 390 Duke, or the Honda CB300R, or even the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 – all motorcycles the little Leoncino would seriously be out of its depth around. If (or rather when) Benelli figures out a way to bring the price down to an appropriate level, the Leoncino 250 will make for a quirky, left of field alternative to the established crowd.

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PRICE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Ex-showroom - Delhi Rs 2.5 lakh
ENGINE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
No of Cylinders 1
Cubic Capacity (cc) 249cc
Bore/Stroke (mm) 72/61.2mm
Max Power (hp @ rpm) 25.8hp at 9250rpm
Max Torque (nm @ rpm) 21Nm at 8000rpm
Power to Weight Ratio (hp/tonne) 159.25hp/tonne
TRANSMISSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
No of Gears 6
BRAKES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front Brake Type Disc
Front Brake Size (mm) 280mm
Rear Brake Type Disc
Rear Brake Size (mm) 240mm
SUSPENSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front Suspension 41mm USD fork
Rear Suspension Monoshock
WHEELS AND TYRES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front wheel (inch) 17
Front Tyre 110/70 R17
Rear wheel (inch) 17
Rear Tyre 150/60 R17
ACCELERATION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
0 - 10 kph (sec) 0.37s
0 - 20 kph (sec) 0.77s
0 - 30 kph (sec) 1.36s
0 - 40 kph (sec) 1.93s
0 - 50 kph (sec) 2.67s
0 - 60 kph (sec) 3.49s
0 - 70 kph (sec) 4.64s
0 - 80 kph (sec) 5.88s
0 - 90 kph (sec) 7.72s
0 - 100 kph (sec) 9.68s
BRAKING Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
60 - 0 kph (mts, sec) 15.19m
EFFICIENCY Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
City (kpl) 33.9kpl
Highway (kpl) 39.4kpl
Overall (kpl) 36.6kpl
Overall Range (kms) 458.1km
Benelli Leoncino 250 review, road test
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