The Benelli BN 600 is the first four-cylinder motorcycle in China. Chinese or Italian? It is designed and developed in Italy and is “Made in China” under the QJ brand, which has acquired a century-old European company. Prepare for future development.
Since China’s Qianjiang Company (QJ) acquired Benelli in December 2005, new projects have been delayed due to global economic difficulties and other related details (such as banning the circulation of motorcycles in China). Among the 167 largest cities in the country, 166 cities use non-electricity. In addition, the use of small utility vehicles is becoming more and more affordable. Therefore, out of the 8,000 workers and 1.5 million motorcycles produced by QJ in 2010, there are now 5,500 employees and “only” 800,000 vehicles. solution? foreign market. However, it does not come from simple single-cylinder motorcycles (which are cheaper and higher quality in India), but from motorcycles.
The decision to develop the four-cylinder BN 600 was one of the first decisions made by its chairman Lin Hua Zhong to place QJ as an international motorcycle manufacturer after the acquisition by Benelli. The BN 600 project started in 2006, with chief designers Stefano Michelotti and Gianluca Galasso as test riders. They rode on models disguised as field hornets to avoid arousing suspicion.
Now, in the final stage of development, QJ has the four-cylinder engine technology developed by Benelli, which is unmatched by its domestic competitors, and can compete face-to-face with Japanese and European models, and has a very strict price advantage. Made in China. The BN 600 is the first QJ model with a displacement exceeding 250cc, and a series of variants will be available in the near future.
Since its debut a year ago, 3,000 units have been sold in China, although its specifications are less than the EVO version eventually sold in Europe, North America and Australia. This will be equipped with Brembo brakes, Marzocchi forks and Sachs shock absorbers, which will not hinder the market at a price of close to 6,000 euros at RRP. For example, the Yamaha XJ6 is also in this price environment, but Benelli has better suspension and brakes than Japan, and makes the engine more powerful due to its shorter stroke configuration.
How is it
The BN 600’s in-line four-cylinder engine uses a 16-valve DOHC solution without a balance shaft. The internal dimensions are 65 x 45.2 mm and the precise displacement is 600 cc. Its design maximum speed is 16,000 rpm, but the conservative position for ignition cutoff is 11,500 rpm. The cylinders are tilted 10º forward and are mounted on a very strong crankcase, so that they were originally designed to be used as a chassis. The reason is that, at first, the engine was designed by Pierluigi Marconi, the creator of Bimota Tesi, who hoped that the engine could work for the Benelli Tesi, which was scheduled to be launched in 2008. The rear will pivot on these crankcases, and the two shock absorbers (front and rear) are also very close to the engine. But the Chinese boss had other ideas. Marconi left Benelli to work for a gas company.
Therefore, the chassis of the Benelli BN 600 is a hybrid solution that uses the engine as an integral part of supporting power, with a steel front tube structure and a rear aluminum plate on which an aluminum rear rocker arm pivots. At this time, the design work began until it was developed by the Spanish Carlos Solsona, and finally completed by a Chinese engineer. Its dry weight is 208 kg.
Whether it is compared with products made in Japan or Europe, the quality of materials is the highest requirement, and only details like vintage gear levers make motorcycles look like they are designed at a reasonable price. An obvious example is the Marzocchi fork with a 50mm rod (non-adjustable) or the Sachs shock absorber with preload and rebound but no compression. It is also a complete Brembo equipment equipped with a 320mm disc, equipped with the latest generation of integral radial vernier calipers. The beautiful aluminum alloy wheels are equipped with Metzeler Sportec tires, which are the standard size for most hollow bare cars today.
The exhaust follows the 4-1-2 system with a silencer under the seat. The electronic control unit ECU is American Delphi, which manages an electronic injection device. Each cylinder has only one injector with a diameter of 38 mm. The declared maximum power is 82 hp at 11,500 rpm and the maximum torque is 52 Nm at 10,500 rpm. In contrast, for example, with direct competitors like Yamaha XJ6, the Japanese claim 78 hp at 10,000 rpm and 59.7 Nm of torque at 8,500 rpm, which is “high” but low.
How’s it going
When I first came into contact with the Benelli BN 600, I used a front device, which was on the road along the Adriatic coast around Pesaro, Italy. For people like me, the driving position is very comfortable and the height is about 1.80 m. The 800mm high seat has a very suitable shape, and the front width is narrow enough so that the shortest seat can be stepped on the ground with your feet without sacrificing the comfort of other users. There is little space available for passengers, but although the silencer is sufficient inside, it has two practical handles.
For the rider, the wide handles are equipped with some rearwardly inclined handles. The position is straight, but still relaxed. The brake lever can be adjusted at five points without a clutch. The pedals are a bit high enough to keep your boots up to the limit of Metzelers without dragging them. Metzelers tires are also installed on tires sold in China. In short, with your knees wrapped around its 15-liter fuel tank, you will feel very comfortable, which allows you to travel 250 kilometers without obstacles without having to stop and refuel. This ergonomic principle inspires great confidence, especially for novices, because you integrate it into a motorcycle instead of riding a motorcycle like a sports car.
When operating the starter motor, the idle speed is 1300 rpm. When you are on the lap, the sound will rise a lot, so it will be a huge victory to pass European standards. To enjoy a similar sound, you must purchase it from the official accessories catalog of Triumph Street Triple. Although, of course, what do you expect from the brand of the factory next to Rossini’s house, Rossini’s hometown is the creator of the opera “El Barbero Sevilla”?
But BN 600 is more than just sound. It emits smoothly from a very low position on the knee counter, almost without the use of a clutch. Although it started at 7,000 rpm, it really worked and started to push it to 9,000 rpm. From here until the 11,500 rpm of the ignition switch, the benefits are in droves, just like the Yamaha XJ6, although you need to turn it up a few laps because it doesn’t have the Japanese torque. If you want to accelerate decisively, you must lower some gears
When you speed up, even without a balance shaft, you won’t experience annoying vibrations. It’s smooth, which is why although the first air intake does open suddenly, it is not tiring. This becomes very annoying because you cannot control how you want the rear wheels. This is the same problem that the Japanese brand encountered when it introduced fuel injection to the four-cylinder engine 15 years ago, and this Chinese motorcycle will have to solve it as soon as possible. When you are driving on winding roads, you almost only use third gears like those found in the mountains around Pesaro, thank you very much. I must fix it before repeating the final version.
The gearbox is another advantage of Benelli’s work, and the standard is 100% “Made in Japan.” It is precise and stable, giving people a real sense of pleasure, and is an ideal choice for the engine to work in the best response state. In my opinion, this ratio seems a bit short, and the purpose is to encourage this harsh engine to accelerate.
Although its geometric dimensions are not very large, steering on curved roads will not be affected. It’s a bit low at the rear, but it maintains the lines well and does not push the front wheels. It can provide stability and maneuverability, and it will not malfunction when its powerful Brembo braking device is used decisively at the end of a long straight section. In this section, it works very well and will not block even the strongest braking.
As for the suspension, it also deserves attention. The quality of bitumen under harsh conditions is excellent. The Sachs shock absorber without connecting rod is installed on the right side of the chassis. The fine-tuning work of the former superbike racer and 10-year Bimota test driver Gianluca Galasso has now been carried out in Benelli, which is extraordinary in achieving high-level design on open roads. Only the most exaggerated potholes put the BN 600 in trouble. The fact is that the suspension equipment far exceeds the maximum benefit that this new four-cylinder engine can provide. Like everything in this episode, it can only be described as a real enjoyment.
The Benelli BN 600 is an attractive motorcycle that will be sold at a price beyond interesting. It is estimated that about 3,500 units will be produced in 2014, and a new version with this engine is already in production. Whether there is a hard suitcase or not, this is a small road, and I haven’t thought of a super sports model. In any case, Benelli is back. Trust me.
A bit of history
A detail that may be surprising is that the Benelli BN 600 chose a four-cylinder engine instead of a three-cylinder engine to continue the tradition established in Europe in the Triumph Street Triple and MV Agusta Brutale 675/800 series. . Since Benelli was relaunched in 1997, the brand has specialized in the production of three-cylinder engines, such as the TnT 899 and 1130. However, according to Michelotti, “Chinese officials want to compete with the Japanese in their own fields, so they ask to buy a four-cylinder 600 cc inline cylinder. We have designed a 675 cc three-cylinder, but we must also admit At present, the four-cylinder department concentrates the main sales, and it is easier to work with the four-cylinder solution because the suppliers are more accustomed to this solution.”
Indeed, but as the new Yamaha MT-09 demonstrated, the Japanese set their sights on the three-cylinder terrain. However, Benelli also has a long tradition in four-cylinder engines. Its 1960 250 GP already offers this configuration, although it was unfortunately born at the same time as the first four-cylinder Honda. However, in Benelli, they are also in a leading position in this matter, because since 1940, the Italian company has produced the first water-cooled “four-wheeler with 250 cc competitive supercharging performance.” Motorcycles”, the project was discontinued at the beginning of World War II. Later in 1974, under the leadership of De Tomaso, Benelli produced the famous 250 and 500 four-cylinder engines.