BENELLI 502C (2019 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £120
Power: 47 bhp
Seat height: Low (29.5 in / 750 mm)
Weight: Medium (478 lbs / 217 kg)

Prices

New £5,499
Used £4,000 - £4,700

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Yes, it bares more than a passing resemblance to that superbike-engined cruiser made in Bologna, an hour up the road from Benelli’s factory in Pesaro. But let’s not get caught up in who copied who, because the A2 licence-friendly 502C is a revelation.

Benelli has created a very capable mid-sized cruiser with the new 502C. It might not be dripping in wow factor but it has its own rumbling character, a refined Honda-like motor and is great value for money.

It’s packed with lots of tasty equipment and performs well around town and beyond. If you’re into this style of bike and you have an A2 licence it’s the perfect place to start your biking journey. The Italian/Chinese company have turned a corner producing well-made, genuinely desirable machines and the 502C is just the beginning.

Benelli 502C with trees in the background

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

It looks a bit odd from the rear with its skinny 160/70 x 17 rear tyre, after being used to looking at you-know-who’s monstrous 240-section hoop, but the Benelli’s all the better for it in the handling department with light, flickable steering.

You can cruise and have fun on the Benelli up to around 80mph, but after that the motor gets a little stressy and windblast becomes a problem, but you’d rarely do more than that for sustained periods on a bigger capacity machine cruiser, anyway. It turns remarkably accurately at speed for a bike so raked-out, stability is superb and so is grip from the Pirelli Angel sports touring tyres, especially in the wet.

It’s surprisingly comfy, too. The 502c’s low, dished seat cups you nicely in and with feet right out in front of you, legroom is never an issue. It takes a stretch to reach those wide bars, although that’s the cruiser style, but levers are too far away to get a good claw on them. You can adjust the brake lever span, but even with it all the way in, those who are small of hand will struggle.

Benelli 502C front brake

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Also powering Benelli’s CB500X-beating TRK502 adventure bike and Leoncino naked, the 502C’s ('500'cc, '2' cylinder) liquid-cooled, 47bhp parallel twin cylinder engine is as refined as anything you’ll find from its Japanese or European rivals.

With its dark, rumbling exhaust note, befitting of its sultry looks, the motor doesn’t buzz, vibrate or do anything it shouldn’t. Refined and perfectly fuelled, it’ll be easy to manage for the inexperienced and it’s packed with low down torque for lazy-geared cruising. There’s also enough punch up to 8000rpm to keep you interested when you turn up the wick.

The gearbox generally works well, but a few times during our ride it jumps out of first into neutral, but only accelerating hard out of hairpins, which won’t be normal riding for most owners.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Although quality checked in their historic Pesaro factory on the Adriatic coast, Benellis are now made in China by the Qianjiang group. Now, don’t let that put you off, or start getting misty eyed about the world going to hell in a Chinese handcart. If it wasn’t for the Asian bailout, Benelli would be just another fallen, great Italian badge gathering dust.

What’s more, their latest offerings are now as good as their rivals and step up from previous generation machines, like the BN500, not to mention more finished than 'real' Benellis of old, especially those poorly-fuelled, unreliable, rushed-out Tornados and TNTs of the early to mid noughties.

Just last month we pitched the latest Benelli TRK 502 against the new Honda CB500X and incredibly it trumped the Honda - the first time China has beaten Japan. It’s a new dawn.

The Benelli impressed us up against the Honda CB500X

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Benelli has created a business-like, affordable machine with a smattering of Italian style, but it is missing a bit of wow factor, but surely, it’s only a matter of time before the Chinese nail that, too. Overall finish is excellent, but is let down in places, like the hurried-looking welding on its exhaust hanger.

Even under their former Italian owners, Benelli struggled to produce truly desirable, reliable and affordable machines, but under Chinese ownership that’s all changing and they’re slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

A poke around the new 502C, Benelli’s first mid-sized 'urban cruise', reveals a raft of nice touches and equipment: fat bars, LED lights all round, wavy discs, radial brakes and a humongous 21-litre fuel tank. Benelli claims 67mph, so that’s 320 cruisy miles between fill-ups.

It wasn’t that long ago that Chinese displays had all the modernity of a 70s digital watch, looking back at you as a permanent reminder that you should have bought better, but the Benelli’s crisp, colour TFT dash is bang up to date.

Benelli 502C dash

Specs

Engine size 500cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 12 litres
Seat height 750mm
Bike weight 217kg
Front suspension 41mm upside down forks. Non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single shock, adjustable for preload.
Front brake 2 x 260mm discs with four-piston caliper. ABS
Rear brake 240mm rear disc with single-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £84
Annual service cost £120
New price £5,499
Used price £4,000 - £4,700
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 47 bhp
Max torque 33 ft-lb
Top speed 100 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

Launched in 2019, with no other versions.

Other versions

Just this model exists.

Owners' reviews for the BENELLI 502C (2019 - on)

6 owners have reviewed their BENELLI 502C (2019 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BENELLI 502C (2019 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Equipment: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £120
5 out of 5 A nice surprise.
12 April 2023 by Tel.

Version: Matt black.

Year: 2022

Annual servicing cost: £200

Exceptional quality and value for money compared to Japanese or other European bikes.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

As expected with this style of bike the rear shock and ride are very choppy over broken surfaces. The handling is amazing for a cruiser styled bike, better than any other I have owned or ridden. I needed a cruiser due to many injuries and orthopaedic problems/restrictions.

Engine 5 out of 5

Much nicer than the Honda 500. I've owned a Leoncino 500 before this and in the past owned a CB500F, CB500X and 500 Rebel so I know what I'm saying is true. Perky acceleration and sounds and feels better than any of the CB500 variants.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

So far, so good. Only had it 6 weeks after buying a 6 month old bike with 2k miles covered [just run-in!].

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Cheap to buy and massive tank with good fuel economy.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Fitted a Puig screen and Benelli backrest today and they look good and help to tie luggage to the rear seat because there are no grab rails to tie luggage to as standard. I also got my mechanic to fit the Mivv linkpipe to replace the catalytic converter but the bike was deafening so got the cat re-fitted.

Buying experience: Paid £4999 from Bolton Motorcycles. They were very helpful and real-world sensible and had the bike delivered to my door.

5 out of 5 Benelli hit gold with this one.
06 April 2023 by The Benelli Rider

Version: 502c Custom painted

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £140

Well where do i start My 502c opened up the biking world again for me after a full knee replacment in 2019. And why the 502c well i could manage 20-30mins on my K1300s before the pain was to bad and on the 502c i can go for 2-3-4hours only stopping to fuel up. It rides and handles like a street bike with the comfort of a cruiser and would i recomend it to a friend Hell yes i would the build quality is every bit as good as any other main stream bike and way better than some to. It runs like a swiss watch on good juice dont use crap petrol it wont like it and believe me ive done tests with all different quality petrol's and the running and economy differs massively. as for fuel economy mind blowing is what i would describe it on V power and optima, i get out of my 21L tank 350Mls to flashing red giving it the beans mixed road and duel carriageway work and i got whopping 437Mls on a pootling motorway run i kept it at 60mph just relaxed and enjoyed the ride lol well as much as is possible on a bloody motorway.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Its power belies its CC big time i can keep up with the lads on the big bikes no problem. and its sooo comfortable i can ride tank full to empty no problem no stopping. Pillion room is poor so not a great touring two up bike but i go on my own and its fine.

Engine 5 out of 5

Its smooth it sounds great with a nice end can i have the twin shotguns from MIVV on. It has lots of usable torque from right across the rev range feels like more than the claimed A2 compliant figures it pulls from low and screams from about six and a half. Overall a great little engine

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No problems at all service was a bit heavy at £140.00 for oil n filter change and a look over but it is what it is i will be doing it from now on so it will be the price of the parts. As for the build quality for the price of the bike its on another level as good as any bike thousands dearer its as good as any bike ive owned poss. except the BMWs

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Servicing is about what you would expect £140.00 for first service with a full being about £200.00+. Fuel economy is out of this world if your used to a sports or street bike and its power belies its CC big time i can keep up with the lads on the big bikes no problem.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Everything feels like quality from the grips and adjustable levers to the comes as standard Crash bungs hugger, clutch and generator covers that usually would cost a few hundred quid as extras.

Buying experience: I bought it from Robinsons of Rochdale and the did me an awesome deal I got £500.00 more for my PX and a great price on the Benelli. i paid £4,700.00 it was pre reg with 53 miles on the clock..

4 out of 5 502c
26 July 2021 by Squid

Year: 2021

Annual servicing cost: £140

Best looking bike av owned and comfort

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

All stainless fixings, exhaust no corrosion solid built no rattles or vibs

Engine 4 out of 5

Sounds nice quiet but deep note on full

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Excellent considering its price better than most jap bikes and BMW similar priced

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

First service 600 mile was excessive paid £140 local benelli dealer Newcastle

Equipment 3 out of 5

Not much apart from fuel gauge

Buying experience: Bought from MSC at good deal on px

5 out of 5 Was a little dubious, but no regrets. Just gets better and better.
17 July 2021 by Yorkshire Owl

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £100

Just look at it. Rides even better than it looks.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Extremely comfortable, 21 litre tank only really need to stop when refuelling.

Engine 5 out of 5

Loads of torque

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No problems at all. 2 year warranty so no worries if it does!

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Benelli dealer network isn’t as widespread as mainstream manufacturers

Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: Great p/x on my ninja and low APR deal

5 out of 5 I can still feel the taste of Italian bike
21 January 2021 by Albert Rafael

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £50

Beautiful design, great torque at low rpm. Heavy but light to drive and very stable and comfortable. With a beautiful design and pleasant sound this is a very enjoyable bike to ride.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Very comfortable feels like riding a big bike with a med size engine. The front brakes and USD are awesome.

Engine 5 out of 5

Good torque at low rpm

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

You will realize that this bike still carries Italian DNA and quality

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Double disk, USD, Light, Speedometer full digital and colors.

5 out of 5 Worth every penny
31 July 2020 by CheapPete

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £100

Excellent build quality, comfortable and capable.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Front brakes are excellent, rear are useful. Not the best.

Engine 4 out of 5

Fun, relatively vibration free for a twin. Sounds good on full chat.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No corrosion showing one year on, maintenance intervals are every 3k miles.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Comes standard with all of the parts people normally change, led lights all over, crash bars on the side, even bobbins for your paddock stand.

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