There is an unmistakable aura surrounding the BN 251; perhaps it is due to the iconic emblem enshrined on its body, or possibly because of its emphatically arresting presence. It is likely an aggregate of the two, but the aura is undoubtedly present. It was palpable to the gentleman who approached me in the middle of the street, mid-traffic, to inquire about the bike.
The BN 251 is designed with simplicity, and it evokes a sense of style without resorting to any gaudy design choices. The tubular steel frame adds an aggressive edge to the design, ably complemented by the angular headlamps. The overall look of the bike is not far removed from that of the standard 250 CC naked bikes found around Kathmandu, yet the BN 251’s Italian heritage and some sensible design choices present the bike with an added appeal.
The seats, both the primary and pillion, are comfortable and that comfort will undoubtedly come into play during long rides. The instrument cluster at the front is a combination of analogue and digital.
All things considered, from an aesthetics standpoint, the BN 251 is a winner on all fronts. Aggressive, stylish, and exciting, the bike will attract plenty of eyeballs. The bike is available in three colour variants – Red, White, and Black.
Engine, Performance and Ride Quality
Equipped with a fuel-ignition system, the engine is powerful, responsive, and perfectly suited for urban use. The six-speed gearbox is well tuned and responsive as well; shifting between gears is quick and enjoyable. The bike’s acceleration is commendable, and with a claimed top speed of 150 Kmph, the BN 251 is well equipped to satiate the urges of riders who feel the need for speed.
For the more sedate riders, the bike should serve as a capable and powerful vehicle, whether for daily commutes or a trip out of town. The responsive gearbox combined with the powerful engine ensures that overtaking during hectic traffic hours is a breeze. Further, the generous 17-litre fuel complements the claimed 35 Km mileage, which is encouraging for riders looking to go out of town on long rides.
The most noticeably impressive aspect of the BN 251 is its agility. Turning corners and weaving through traffic is remarkably comfortable courtesy of the bike’s lithe built and excellent handling. The ride quality is excellent, and the suspension is bolstered by upside-down 41mm front forks giving 120mm of travel and a centrally located shock absorber on the rear swingarm aids travel on rough terrain while simultaneously instilling confidence in the rider.
Braking and Safety
The BN 251 sports Metzeler Sportec M5 tyres at both the front and back. On the back, there is a 240mm single disc with a 4-piston calliper and on the front a 280mm single disc with a dual piston calliper. While that is a capable braking mechanism itself, the addition of dual-channel ABS is the factor that ties it all together. There is a genuine and worrying dearth of moderately priced ABS-enabled bikes in the country, exacerbated by the fact that bikes remain the vehicle of choice for many. The inclusion on ABS is on the BN 251 is a welcome sight and dramatically enhances the safety of the bike. The brakes themselves offer tremendous bite and excellent response times, a must for safely navigating the roads of Kathmandu.
Given the Benelli BN 251’s stylish appearance, powerful engine and the weight of its Italian legacy, a price tag of Rs 520,000 is certainly reasonable in the current market. That relatively moderate price for a bike sporting the Benelli badge is likely to attract bike enthusiasts to the BN 251. What they will discover is that the BN 251 is an attractive, reliable, and robust piece of machinery. It is indeed the Italian Stallion.