2006 Benelli Tornado LE | QuickShift

Why invest U.S. currency in Italian metal? That is the $30,000 question, and frankly there is no entirely rational answer. One thing is sure, however. If you have even the slightest leaning toward Italian machinery, just one look at the Benelli Tornado headed your way will send logic and sound reasoning scrambling for higher ground. (Click image to enlarge)

Herein lies the absolute, infuriatingly magnetic lure of Italian machinery. It defies the sensible purchase procedure. It is akin to the greatest pair of Italian shoes fashioned from paper-thin Napa leather with barely 3mm of quick-wearing sole. Their impracticality drives you crazy, but every time they embrace your feet you marvel at their delicate composition, their perfect complexion. Like Italian metal, they are far too easily purchased on some unquantifiable whim.

The Benelli demands to be looked at and flaunts itself shamelessly, challenging the onlooker to find fault. But there is none to be found. This motorcycle is strikingly new in terms of design, technical specifications, and the exclusivity of its parts manifest. A case in point is the ground-breaking placement of the radiator beneath the seat, giving the Tornado its exquisitely tapered front end, reducing heat buildup at the center of the machine, and further enhancing the aerodynamics of a motorcycle that virtually eliminates the wind turbulence that normally afflicts riders. (Click image to enlarge)

Stats and specs seem so mundane when discussing a motorcycle that evokes raw emotion, but you must consider a few: the ultra-compact 898cc three-cylinder inline engine with a slipper wet clutch and a fully removable six-speed

cassette gearbox; a two-piece frame (the front trellis is constructed of chrome-moly steel tubing, the hollow rear box section is cast from aluminum) that is joined using aerospace technology to eliminate vibration; a Marzocchi fork and Brembo wheels, both built to Benelli design; an Extreme Technology rear shock with an Ergal 55 central body; Brembo Gold Series brake system; and a 407-pound dry weight.

Just 25 of the orginal Limited Edition versions of the Benelli Tornado have been imported and distributed nationwide to a select number of dealers. Priced for the lucky few it will have been well worth the wait. The exquisite construction of the Benelli Tornado defies what the market has come to expect from an inaugural two-wheeler, particularly a cutting edge sports machine such as this. It is a perfect extrapolation of the classic, age-old Italian blueprint of form and function—a bike that has already proven itself dynamically excellent, both on the track and street.





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