I have a poster on my bedroom wall back home in Calcutta of a rather unique silver and green superbike. The bike in question? The Benelli Tornado 1130. A youth in the in the middle of the dial-up decade, I scoured the city’s bookstalls until I found the copy of Motorcycle News where they had reviewed the bike. More than a decade on, in a social media battle scarred 4G landscape, I find myself looking at a similar colour scheme on a motorcycle bearing the name Benelli.

Only the motorcycle is a more down to earth 300cc one. One that would have been launched in India by the time this magazine gets off the press. Behold the Benelli 302R, a motorcycle that was first shown to the world and the Indian bike journalist junta at the 2015 EICMA. At the time the bike was due for launch in 2016. Better late than never, I guess.

The 302R certainly looks good. There are just enough cuts and slashes to make it look racy without being overdone.

Understated in parts and flashy in others, the 302R is eye-catching for sure. Especially in that same silver and green combination that was the signature of the old Benelli Tornado 1130. This much was evident from the number of heads that the motorcycle can turn. Swinging a leg over it, I find planting both my feet firmly on terra firma is easy for the 302R isn’t a particularly tall bike - saddle height is a moderate 785mm. Ergonomics are fairly well sorted and I felt quite comfortable with the seat-footresthandlebar relationship. Switchgear is within easy reach too.

Start the machine and you’ll find a nice rorty sound from the double barrel exhaust - a nod to the original Tornado’s exhaust note perhaps, which MCN had described as an “almighty exhaust soundtrack”. I’m willing to wager that this is probably the best sounding 300cc motorcycle out there right now.

The six-speed gearbox slots in well enough but doesn’t have a lot of positivity. Unlike a sportsbike, the 302R doesn’t really shoot off the blocks. Part of this is definitely down to that 198-kilo weight, which the engine’s 38.26PS and 26.5Nm peak output has to pull. But a part of it is also down to the engine’s nature.The motor seems to store most of its strength towards the top. So you’ve really got to cane her to get going really fast. The bike can however potter through traffic as long as you’re not looking for quick bursts of acceleration.

Dynamically, the bike is quite stable on straights thanks to that longish 1410mm wheelbase and holds its line well once tipped in. However turn in isn’t particularly quick. Ride quality though is quite nice and the bike feels pliant over Pune’s road imperfections.

For stopping you have a pair of 260mm discs with 4-pot callipers up front and a 240mm disc with a single piston calliper at the rear. Thankfully, DSK Benelli will be providing switchable dual channel ABS right from the word go. So peace of mind is available straight off the rack when you buy this bike. The brakes do the job well enough but feel at the lever is somewhat spongy at first. But the ABS certainly works. I found out when a bus decided to make an unscheduled stop. On the whole, the Benelli 302R is a mix of good and not so good. And in that sense doesn’t really set any benchmarks. The point to ponder upon however is the all-important issue of pricing and there DSK Benelli will have to play smart in order to edge out the competition with a low initial pricing. That being the case, the 302R should provide decent value. Now, over to DSK Benelli.

Type 300cc, l-c, parallel-twin
Bore X Stroke 65.0 x 45.2mm
Compression 12.0:1
Fuelling EFI, 34mm throttle bodies
Maximum Power 38.26PS @ 11,500rpm
Maximum Torque 26.5Nm @ 10,000rpm
RBW/Riding Modes No
Traction Control No
ABS ABS, Dual channel
Quickshifter No
Wheelie Control No
Launch Control No
Frame Steel trestle
Front Suspension 41mm USD
Rear Suspension Monoshock
Front Brakes 4-piston callipers, 260mm discs
Rear Brakes 1-piston calliper, 240mm disc
Wheelbase 1,410mm
Seat Height 785mm
Kerb weight 198kg
Fuel Capacity 14 litres