Small bikes are becoming more and more popular all over the world. Even in the U.S., people are beginning to realize that large-displacement engines and high horsepower figures aren’t an absolute necessity. While it is cool and exciting to have close to or more than a hundred ponies on tap, that much firepower just isn’t needed for a practical and stylish city commuter.
It’s interesting to see bikes like the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 and the KTM 200 Duke available in the U.S. market. With barely enough horsepower to sustain freeway speeds, these bikes truly shine in the urban environment and on tight twisty roads. Outside of the U.S., other brands have been hard at work in spicing up their small bike lineup. Benelli, for instance, has debuted its new and improved Leoncino 250 in the Philippine market, with the bike expected to hit showroom floors all across Southeast Asia in the coming months.
Now, the name Leoncino literally translates to lion cub. With the most popular iteration of this bike being the Leoncino 500, the baby lion cub, if that even makes sense, is even smaller—both engine-wise and size-wise. For starters, it gets a petite 250cc single-cylinder engine. Liquid-cooling, fuel-injection, and dual-overhead cams afford this mill a rather peppy 26 ponies, and its 6-speed transmission will likely make this bike capable of around 70 miles per hour. The bike is clad in rather svelte bodywork, which, due to the way the tank is shaped, as well as the skinny engine, bears quite a resemblance to the Husqvarna Svartpilen 401.
It’s clear to see that Benelli is positioning this bike as a fun, urban-oriented runabout. I mean the bike’s promo video clearly shows it hooning around city streets and doing burnouts and skids in an empty warehouse. The bikes meaty single-cylinder exhaust note figures prominently too, and is reminiscent to that of a fun little dirt bike. As far as pricing goes, the new Lion Cub retails for an attractive PHP 199,000, or the equivalent of $4,000 USD, just a few hundred dollars more than the retail price of its closest competitor, the Husqvarna Svartpilen 200, which retails for PHP 175,000, or around $3,600 USD.