Although far from a lightweight at 226kg, the 752S turns well and aside from feeling a bit softly sprung at the rear (the shock lacks damping adjustment but can have its spring preload altered) it can be enjoyed in the bends and is set firmer on its suspension than some rivals.
The ABS system works well but there is a lack of feel from the lever due to braided lines being fitted as standard, which are always a bit unforgiving and harsh in their action.
The upright riding position is comfortable and the pegs well placed to prevent leg aches and while you can hang off it, there seems little point. In a typical piece of Italian design over function, the mirrors taper to a point just when they start to display anything other than your elbow, rendering them next to useless…
Developed and built by Qianjiang, the 754cc parallel-twin has the same bore and stroke as Benelli’s TnT1130 triple motor - just with one less cylinder. Making a claimed 75.1bhp with 49.4ftlb of torque, the engine feels disappointingly sluggish to respond and lacks that zip you get on rivals such as the Yamaha MT-07 and BMW F900R.
Its slow revving nature makes it quite relaxed and vibrations are kept to a minimum, however the overall impression is one of an old and slightly outdated engine that wants to lollop along rather than thrill. The gearbox is also a bit clunky and the clutch on the bike we tested was quite grabby. Middleweights should be fun to ride but the Benelli’s parallel twin is lethargic, making the rest of the bike feel a bit soulless as a result.
Benelli’s reputation is somewhat tarnished in terms of reliability but that was before they were taken over by the Chinese.
Qianjiang are a massive engineering firm and there is no reason to suspect they have the slap-dash attitude that blighted Benelli when it was under Italian ownership. Overall, the level of finish on the 752S seems high, which bodes well.
The fact the 752S is built in China sees its price tag pleasingly low at £6699, which compares very favourably with the class-defining £6695 Yamaha MT-07 (2020 prices) as you get a considerably higher level of spec on the Benelli.
In terms of kerb appeal, the Benelli is streets ahead of the Yamaha with its inverted Marzocchi forks, Brembo radial brakes and classy styling making the MT look a bit bargain basement - with its conventional forks and calipers and brash styling.
It's nowhere near as expensive as the £8660 BMW F900R, but weighs in a fair amount costlier than a characterful £5999 Suzuki SV650 V-twin (2020 prices).
Boasting Marzocchi fully-adjustable forks, Brembo radial brakes (with ABS), a colour dash and Pirelli Angel tyres, the Benelli has quality running gear and you can’t argue that the Italian styling department have done a great job.
The tubular steel frame and swingarm are pleasingly designed and once you junk the pillion pegs to expose the high-set pipe and get shot of that nasty licence plate carrier, the Benelli will have the look like a stripped-back and sporty Ducati Diavel thanks to its sharp rear end.