Most stories start with an inspiration and there’s no denying that the Diavel has been crucial in the 502C’s expressiveness. The overall stance, especially the tail section, seems to be borrowed by Ducati’s maxi-naked. But once you’re done pointing out the similarities, it’s only a matter of minutes till you conclude that although the Diavel is an aggressive looking machine, it remains inaccessible to many. But with the 502C, that might change. C’mon, they even share their Italian genes!
If this isn’t the biggest reason to rejoice the arrival of a mid-size power cruiser in India, I’m not sure what is. Adventure tourers have been the Messiah for long-distance escapades but not everyone appreciates a pointy beak on the face of their machines. Some would want their stallions to look distinctive. A quick list down of options will only bring forward the Kawasaki Vulcan S, which is simply bland in comparison.
Before fingers are raised, I’ll settle the scores. The Vulcan does benefit from a larger, more capable engine that was engineered for duties in a sport bike. But cruisers aren’t about high-end performance and red-lining capabilities. What they need is abundance of torque, and the tractability to pull along with a twist of the throttle. Despite its smaller capacity and lesser power, the Benelli seems to have the right rhythm for the task.
The eight-valve DOHC engine has enough grunt to be a fearless warrior, letting you utilise its maximum potential between traffic stops. What I absolutely love is the gargling exhaust note with those minuscule pops that are quintessentially Benelli. It doesn’t intimidate you, infact it invites you to be a little playful, a little dominant, a little reckless. Surely suits the overall muscular look of the bike then, doesn’t it? Usable performance, all of it. A sense of joy and celebration that cannot be imitated by a larger, powerful engine that’s only exploited at half its limit.
This very exciting engine can be equally relaxed and friendly too. Stick it to the sixth-gear and you’ll seldom find the need to swap cogs out on the highway. It’s happy to chug along, it’s happy to slurp long distances and is happy to do it all comfortably. The foot-peg positioning does take some time getting used to but you’re rewarded by controls to a crisp, communicative gearbox on the left and a confidence-inspiring braking system on the right. The wide handlebar lets you tame this brawny machine with faith and the suspension – 135mm USDs on the front and a 50mm adjustable coil spring on the rear, make it supremely plush and floaty. Bear in mind, sabre-rattling rumble strips and large potholes could uncalm the 502C, but for the larger part, it’s definitely set up to one’s liking.
The premium-looking single-saddle remained accommodating even for long hours, yet my overly large body frame did incur some stress on the upper torso after a four-hour high speed run. Yet, the average sized rider will find the ergonomics to be good. Then there’s the high-quality build and fit-and-finish that somewhat puts the plain and simple Vulcan S to shame. There’s plenty of equipment, and it’s all very well done. For instance, the LED lighting is extremely powerful, the double-barrel SS exhaust pipes look like a shotgun and a fully digital instrument console with day and night modes.
The Pirelli Angle GTs tone with the bikes riding trait, the rear mono-shock is adjustable (pre-load) to suit the rider’s needs and the integrated pillion backrest; well it’s blessing in disguise. If I had nit-pick, the switchgear doesn’t feel as special as the rest of the bike and yes, screen readability during the day could be a task at some specific angles. Vibrations have been part of Benelli’s persona (unfortunately) and this one feels no different, they begin to creep in only at high rpms and are majorly felt via the footpegs. Deal breaker? Definitely not, because through most of its cursing capabilities it remains settled and calm.
It’s got the performance, and it’s got the attitude. Your mates might call it a monster because of its sinister looks and that’s fine by me because it completely coincides with this swagger of a machine. What the 502C offers is a very distinctive looking motorcycle that’s backed with good quality materials, adequately powerful engine and a package that makes it very desirable for the riders in this price bracket.