Thanks to SSR Motorsports, distributor and designer of off-road bikes, ATVs and scooters, Chinese-owned Italian brand Benelli is returning to the United States. SSR Motorsports will be the official distributor of Benelli motorcycles and Keeway scooters in the US, by the Qinjiang Group, of Wenling, China. Benelli currently offers eight motorcycles ranging from 250ccs to 1130ccs and five scooters.
Benelli is one of the Italian motorcycle manufacturers with great heritage. The brand was founded in a garage in 1911 by 6 Benelli brothers. In 1919 the first engine was born, a single cylinder 75cc two stroke engine adapted to a bicycle frame. 1921 brought the first real Benelli motorcycle, the “Velomotore” a 98cc two stroke offered in a Sport or Touring model, followed by a 147cc version two years later. In 1926 Benelli designed a new motorcycle, a 175cc 4-stroke overhead camshaft engine which was equal to or superior to its larger displacement competitors. Over the next several decades, Benelli produced many more race winning 250cc and 500cc models.
In 1995, the Merloni Group of Fabriano purchased the majority stake in the company. With aggressive new ideas came new models of scooters such as the 491, and the Tornado 900cc three-cylinder and the TNT 1130cc sport bike. In December 2005, Benelli became part of the Chinese Q.J. Group.
Qianjiang (Q.J.) is a corporation located in Wenling, China, employing 14,000 people who produce over 1.2 million vehicles and two million engines per year. Including ATVs, electric bicycles, lawnmowers, golf carts, generators, pumps and other gardening equipment which are distributed worldwide.
Now Benelli returns to the U.S. market by importer SSR Motorsports. Founded in 2002, SSR Motorsports has become a premier distributor of deluxe pit bikes and on/off-road vehicles.
The Italians currently have eight motorcycle and five scooter models on their line-up. According to SSR’s press release, the BN302 and the BN600i bikes will be distributed from the start with MSRPs of $3,999, and $6,999 respectively, with other bikes to follow.
The DN302 is a 300cc street bike that features a DOHC engine delivering 37hp. Other features include Delphi MTOS ignition, 41mm upside down forks, twin 260mm front disc brakes, adjustable rear suspension, underslung muffler, LED indicators and all mounted around a trellis frame.
The BN600i is the largest displacement bike on the line-up, it has a liquid-cooled, DOHC inline-four that has a maximum output of 82hp and 52 Nm of torque. It also has a Pesaro built steel frame with an aluminium rear frame, adjustable mono shock rear suspension and capable brakes.