First seen at the NEC show in the late ninties as a concept bike it wowed fans with its underseat radiator and massive rear fans that aped the looks of jet engines.
It was first seen on the road in 2001/2 (can't remember because I never saw one) with a price tag of 12 grand. It hardly flew out of the shops, the price was in the Ducati league and it didn't have the race winning pedigree to justify this.
Fast forward to 2006 where dealers are punting them out for 6 g's and the scripts looking more realistic with buyers being tempted to try something different. At this price with a 2 year warranty and all the trick bits you'll find on a Ducati or Aprillia it's got to be worth a look, hasn't it?
Well yes and no. The looks are the main foible, whatever was going through the designers mind is anyones guess but they're definatley take it or leave it. A triple cylinder motor doesn't get the pulse racing either as Foggy Petronas bikes and other unlikley to be raced bikes spring to mind, why would be a good question.
See the idea was / is that a triple should give the traction of a twin with the reviness and power of a four and it does indeed combine the two traits giving a split between the two. The rad at the rear may have been to give the chasis more balance or just a styling exercise, we'll never know, but the chasis is every bit as sweet as anything else out there. It does lose out to a Ducati on the brakes as the weight is more heavily distributed on the front causing relative instability, but the quality suspension and brakes (which are very well adjusted out of the box) more than make up for it.
The package as a whole works better than anything else I have ridden to date, the 207RR Dunlops help make the best of whats there and if you can live with the quirky looks and want something different I would recomend this bike over the current Ducati's and Aprillia's. At 6grand it's a bargain new, if you decide to go second hand make sure you have plenty of warrany just in case as Benneli's reliability record isn't the best.
On the other hand if your taking passengers forget it. Unless your pillion reguarly competes in mini-moto endurance races he/she will find the riding position unbearable after only a few minutes. I'm only 5ft 6 and had lost circulation to my feet after less than 20 minutes, this is definatly a bike for solo missions only, if you must have exotica go for a biposto Ducati instead.