Nearly a year ago, Benelli got our hopes up that it would soon be launching a Leoncino 800 in the global market. Fast forward to today, and that 800cc neo-retro style machine is nowhere in sight. Apart, perhaps from the folks over in Italy, the Benelli Leoncino 800 has remained an elusive bike in most markets, with fans of the Lion of Pesaro having to settle for the smaller Lion Cub, the Leoncino 500.
Despite the fact that the Leoncino 800 has yet to make its debut in the global stage, Benelli has reportedly gone ahead and given the bike a few tweaks. Could this mean that Leoncino 800 could finally be making its debut. Well, multiple motoring publications from all over the world seem to think so. So, what exactly can we expect from the upcoming Leoncino 800? Let’s take a closer look.
For starters, the parallel-twin motor in the Leoncino 800 is expected to receive a bump in displacement, now at 799cc from the first bike’s 754 cubes. A bigger displacement mated to refinements in the motor’s tuning not only makes the bike Euro 5-compliant—effectively future-proofing the bike for Europe and India, for now, at least—it also afford it a little more power. This Lion Cub isn’t such a cub anymore, as it’s expected to pump out a healthy 87 horsepower.
To make things even better, Benelli’s Chinese owner, QJ Motor has tweaked the Leoncino 800’s chassis to be stiffer and lighter. The result of this is a machine which is lighter by a whole 11 kilograms, despite the bump in displacement.
All these specs seem really exciting. However, it remains to be seen exactly when Benelli will be making the Leoncino 800 available in the global market. Having just entered the U.S. market late last year, the Leoncino 800 sounds like the perfect addition to Benelli’s North American lineup. Chances are that the Chinese-owned Italian motorcycle manufacturer will be unveiling the new and improved Leoncino 800 officially at EICMA 2021, to be held this coming November in Milan, Italy.