A short history of Benelli
Benelli is one of the oldest Italian motorcycle manufacturing companies which was founded in 1911 in Pesaro, Italy by Teresa Benelli. Teresa became a widow and decided to invest all her savings into a small garage to secure the future of her 6 sons – Giuseppe, Giovanni, Filippo, Francesco, Domenico and Antonio “Tonino” Benelli. The workshop repaired bicycles and motorcycles and also produced spares for cars/bikes. They also produced guns for the Italian military during the first world war.
Benelli produced their first motorcycle engine, a single cylinder 2-stroke 75 cc machine – that was put into a bicycle frame but it didn’t work that well. They built their first proper motorcycle in 1921 and have never looked back since. Benelli won many racing championships in Italy and Europe, thanks to Tonino Benelli, who was a gifted rider. The company went on to produce many different motorcycles for civilian and military use, including some ground breaking models like a 250cc supercharged engine in 1940.
Over its 100+ year history, Benelli has seen many ups and downs, the most prominent of them being the complete destruction of its factories during World War II and then shut down in 1988 due to declining sales. But each time, the company has risen up from the ashes like a phoenix and has given us some really desirable machines.
Benelli is currently owned by a Chinese group called the Qianjiang group who make everything from scooters to quads, electric bikes, generators, pumps, etc. The QJ group produces about 1.2 million two wheelers per year.
However don’t let the Chinese connection dissuade you from considering this brand. The quality is top notch. And like many luxury brands (Apple etc), some Benellis will also be made in China.
Benelli has set foot for the first time on the Indian soil with the help of DSK Motowheels and looks set to launch 5 motorcycles from its current stable. We thank DSK Motowheels for bringing these Italian beauties for us and wish them all the success.
DSK Motowheels: Established in 2012, DSK Motowheels, a part of the DSK Group (a diversified business group with a turnover of over Rs 5000 crore) forayed into India’s rapidly growing automobile sector when they bought Hyosung from Garware and started selling the Koreans under the brand name of DSK-Hyosung.
Headed by Mr. Shirish Kulkarni, who is an avid biker himself and a great person to hang out with, DSK Motowheels soon made it clear that they are here to stay when they announced their plans for setting up a new plant in Maharashtra for assembling and manufacturing the Hyosung bikes and also their plans to enter the mass market by bringing motorcycles in the 125 cc category.
They added another jewel to their crown by announcing their partnership with Benelli, one of the oldest Italian motorcycle brands and bringing them to India.
DSK Motowheels will be opening 7 exclusive Benelli showrooms across the country to begin with. These showrooms will be opened in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata.
The DSK Motowheels – Benelli joint venture will be assembling and selling the following bikes in India from their stable – TNT 302 (inline two cylinder 300cc), TNT 600i (600cc, inline four), TNT 600GT (600cc, inline four), TNT 899 (898cc inline three), and also TNT 1130R (1130cc, inline three).
With a CKD plant in Maharashtra, the brand enjoys the status of having the strongest and most well entrenched superbike network in India. DSK Motowheels is known for its high-end biking experience, extended product line, technology and quality. DSK Motowheels also prides itself in providing the best customer centric service and aftersales support in the Indian Superbike Market.
We believe that the arrival of Benelli motorcycles will write a new chapter in the Indian motorcycling history as it will give more options to the Indian motorcycle enthusiasts and give them access to an iconic and exotic yet affordable (going by DSK Motowheels’ history and our discussions with the company officials) brand of motorcycles.
DSK now will have big biggies at both ends of the spectrum – Hyosung can be bought by people who want affordability while Benelli can be bought by people who are brand conscious and have a statement to make.