Test and previews Tue 02 July 2019

Benelli TRK251 - AN OFFBEAT SPORT BIKE

The occasion came with the Queen Trophy organized by the Pepe Bevagna Motoclub.
“Trophy” is one of the ways the IMF calls a tourism-on-bike event based on off-road and cultural food-wine tourism.

The Queen trophy took place on May 25 and 26, in the splendid Apennine land tormented by the earthquake that this time saw the ground shake for the roar of more than 100 participants. The beauty of this land was enriched by skillful rest stops in ancient places like Vallo di Nera that added a touch of conviviality to the paths, skillfully designed by Cesare and his team.
Amongst new enduros and old off-road glories we stood out with our test ride: the BENELLI TRK 251.

You got it right: a sport motorcycle, with only 24.5 hp and slick tires, venturing into a trophy under pouring rain that heavily soaked the off-road track: the grip is excellent, despite the road being soaked wet, and the manageability of the bike along the tiny streets of this small ancient Umbrian town is highly appreciated. We are talking about a riding position that is comfortable right from the start.
Winding roads amongst woods, ups and downs and asphalt flooded by heavy rains do not diminish it compared to any other motorcycle.
First stretch: dirt road, drenched with puddles; our little girl behaves well, the tires don’t lose their grip (17“ rims), the frame is rigid enough and the shock absorbers do their job.

Second stretch: gravel road; the "little bike" continues to behave well; I must confess that it really surprises us.

Third stretch: climb with gravel.
Here the little TRK amazes us: it goes up just like that and plunges down over these little bumps with a nonchalance that makes us forget that it’s a road vehicle with slick tires.
Grand finale: steep climb with loose rocks. Three hundred meters uphill and the Benellli starts to jump on the rocks, losing grip, squirreling around ... and finally bogs down ... yep ... no going up anymore ... it goes without saying that the group of off-roaders comes to the rescue pushing the “TRK251” safely up the climb (it’s easy to push a bike that weighs only 153 kg), but after the climb comes the descent and the road tires on the muddy downhill can be, or better cannot be, felt: no grip at all, so it’s like an icy ski slope, the feet on the ground and the legs wide out act like skis for our rider, who leads the little bike to the bottom but obviously decides to abandon the hard track for the paved road. A phone call to the organization and in no time the route designed to follow the other participants is received. As expected, on blacktop, even if wet, the Benelli TRK251 is at its best: it’s pure fun to let it glide along the winding roads of Umbria and Marche, climbing up to the Gran Sasso with ease and reaching the group for lunch at Leonessa, without delays.

In conclusion: don't test a sport bike on dirt tracks but we had a lot of fun and our rider, Miriam Orlandi even more. Yes, you got it right: a woman riding a sport bike on off-road.

Editor's note: Unfortunately, the thunderstorms that struck during the event forced us to take a photo shoot the following days to obtain the material to be published. In this, we were helped by another traveler and dear friend of Discovery Endual, Elena Donati.

Text: Miriam Orlandi
Tester: Miram Orlandi - Elena Donati