Last month we tested the 2021 Benelli TRK502X adventure motorcycle and were blown away. At first glance, the standard TRK502 doesn’t look much different from the X version. However, there are distinctions and they are significant. The two motorcycles are not in the same category. Turns out the standard 2021 Benelli TRK502 is a motorcycle with much broader appeal and at a lower price point. We did some long rides on the TRK502, and this is what we found out.
benelli trk 502 2021 opinions
- Although it shares the same Italian styling, the 2021 Benelli TRK502 differs from the X in essential ways. The TRK502 has 17-inch aluminum wheels with Pirelli Angel ST sports tires, compared to the wire-spoke wheels on the X, which uses Metzeler Tourance ADV tires and a 19-inch front wheel. The X has an exhaust canister located out of the way of off-road obstacles, while the standard 502 has a compact under-frame muffler designed for street use. Suspension travel is longer on the 502X, although we can’t tell you exactly how much; Benelli says nothing about that. Regardless, the 502’s seat height is more than 1.5 inches lower than the 502X.
- These differences take the TRK502 out of the ADV category of the X and position the standard 502 as a sports touring motorcycle. As there are many ADV motorcycles out there and fewer sports cars, we welcome the market split of the two TRKs.
- The 31.5-inch seat height opens the door for more passengers. When it comes to seat height, an inch and a half can make a big difference, especially on a motorcycle that tips the scales at 518 pounds with its 5.3-gallon fuel tank topped with premium, which is heavier than a BMW. F 850 GS. While I could handle the TRK502X on my toes with my 30.5-inch inseam, I was 100 percent more comfortable with the 1.6-inch shorter TRK502. From the moment I swung one leg over the seat and found I could step on it, I knew I was going to have a good time on the 502.
- Adventure ergonomics are very upright and confident. Although the TRK502 is a physically large motorcycle, the upright seats and wide bars keep the motorcycle from feeling like a handful. The reach of the high curve handlebars is a bit long for me, an unusual problem for me, so we twisted them towards the saddle to get them a little closer and have more to hand. The footrests are neutrally positioned and high enough to maintain a sporty feel and have plenty of cornering clearance. There is plenty of room to move around in the wide, thickly padded seat, making it a safe and comfortable place for sporting trips. The seated riding position creates a sense of connectedness and security, and with my legs tucked comfortably under the tank, I feel in command.
- Instead of the huge high-mount muffler on the 502X, the 502 has a compact unit tucked under the rider’s right heel. This allows for the addition of optional full-size aftermarket saddlebags on both sides of the 502, while the 502X manages with a modified right-side box. Fortunately, the snug location of the exhaust doesn’t conflict with my right heel, even when I’m on my tiptoes. Plus, it looks great.
- The liquid-cooled 500cc DOHC parallel twin is powerful, friendly, and satisfying. Going out idle is drama-free with the smooth and easy power delivery of the barely oversized power plant. Peak torque hits 5000rpm, 1000rpm earlier than the 502X, and pull is fairly constant up to the 9000rpm redline. This makes the TRK502 a very pleasant ride.
trk 502 x 2021
- Impressively, the 2021 Benelli TRK502 handles fast motorways quite well. It’s not a fast throttle, it’s a 500 that pushes a lot of weight and frontal resistance. So you’ll have to downshift and turn the throttle hard if you only have a short opening to pass. However, once the 502 is moving, there is a freight train-like quality to the momentum it carries. While chasing a larger motorcycle to a long upgrade to 80 mph, the TRK502 was able to comfortably keep up. Sure, it’s revving in the 8000+ rpm range, but it does it without screaming. The red line is at 9000, and the rev limiter kicks in sometime after that.
- Turns through canyons and back roads are a blast as the engine torque and suspension combine for nimble handling on the bike. The…