Sport tourers are dead, unless you’re in China, it seems. Over there, the industry is working on several new sport touring designs, including a cool new 1200 triple bearing the Benelli badge, and a 400 twin from Zongshen.
Zongshen Cyclone RG3
The Zongshen Cyclone RG3 has a liquid-cooled parallel twin that puts out a claimed 42 horsepower at 9,500 rpm. Decent for a Chinese bike, although the North American touring market would sneer at such low output. It looks like the engine may be closely related to Zongshen’s RX3 adventure bike.
The RG3 sport tourer comes with ABS, hard saddlebags, and a built-in video camera for recording your rides. Styling looks decent, too. Will it come to Canada? Don’t bet on it happening, although Euro customers will likely get it, just like all the other fun stuff.
At the other end of the spectrum, Benelli is about to bring its built-in-China 1200GT to the world market (again, don’t expect it in Canada).
The 1200GT is powered by an inline three-cylinder, based on Benelli’s old 898 cc from the late ’90s. In other words, a Chinese copy of an Italian engine, but big-bored and with much more power.
It’s a microcosm of the whole Euro motorcycle industry; all the OEMs are now working on Asian-built, European-designed concepts, but Benelli was first. And, Benelli is the first Euro manufacturer (Chinese-owned, now) to build a bike this big in China.
The GT makes a healthy 134 hp at 9,000 rpm and 88.5 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. It also comes with Brembo brakes, Bosch ABS, a large TFT screen, electronically-adjustable mirrors, heated grips, heated seat, TPMS and many other high-end features.
It actually seems like a very desirable bike, if quality is decent, and it’s unfortunate we’ll probably never see it sold in our market.