Big power boost for new Benelli? Latest bike from QJMotor gives hints for next-gen TRK

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Chinese bike firm QJMotor is the sister company to Benelli with a range that closely mirrors the Italian brand’s line-up. Changes to their bikes are therefore likely to be carried across in the future so the adoption of a vastly more powerful engine for the QJMotor SRT800 bodes well for a future Benelli version.

The QJMotor SRT800 has been type-approved in China, indicating that production isn’t far off, and on the surface it looks like a minor cosmetic update to the existing SRT750 – which is the QJ version of Benelli’s new TRK800. However, digging deeper into the paperwork reveals a welcome change to the engine, providing a 20bhp boost in performance.

Brembo brakes and KYB suspension are carried over from the SRT750, as well as the wheels – 17in alloys for the base model, with the SRT800X getting wires with a 19in front.

Benelli QJ288MW engine

The styling update includes a new tank and sidepanels, while the ‘beak’ has been tweaked to add a camera just below the headlight. We haven’t seen the back of the bike yet, but a rear-facing camera is likely to have been added there, too. The cameras can display their view on the TFT dash (now a 5in unit) as well as having the ability to record rides.

That said, the engine changes are more intriguing. Qianjiang – parent to both Benelli and QJMotor – has recently filed patents for a new engine called the ‘QJ288MW’. And it’s this 799cc, 95bhp parallel twin that’s expected to be used in this new machine.

Other Chinese type-approval documents have shown that the 799cc ‘QJ288MW’ is due to be fitted to the Benelli Leoncino 800, and Qianjiang’s design patent for the engine clearly shows the Benelli TNT logo on the head, suggesting a TNT800 is in the works.

Benelli Leoncino 500

By adopting a 95bhp, 799cc twin for models that currently use the older 754cc Benelli-designed twin, Qianjiang is opening the door for another engine slightly lower in the range.

We’ve already seen the Benelli TRK702 get type-approved in China using a 75bhp, 693cc and QJMotor has approved the use of the same engine in several other future models including two sportsbikes – the 701 and 701R – being developed to compete with the Yamaha R7, which has just gone on sale in China to a sportsbike-hungry audience.

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Ben Purvis

By Ben Purvis