About 6 months ago we brought you the first pictures of Benelli’s future 1200cc touring bike and now we have seen images of the new three-cylinder engine that’s going to power it and also, more than likely, a big-bore adventure bike.
These pictures, from a Chinese design patent, reveal in detail Benelli’s new triple cylinder engine. While they show the name Qjiang – reflecting Benelli’s Chinese ownership by the QiangJiang Group – the cam cover still proudly bears the Benelli name. Although partially hidden by hoses feeding the oil cooler, there’s also what appears to be a ‘1200’ script on the right-hand side of the cylinder casting.
The pictures confirm that, while the engine bears similarities to the existing 1130cc triple cylinder used in Benelli’s Tre-K and TNT, itself a descendant of the original Tornado Tre 900cc engine, it doesn’t share any major components.
The crankcases, cylinders and cylinder head are all-new castings, but there’s still clearly a balancer shaft mounted ahead of the crankshaft, and the general layout remains similar to the existing Benelli triple.
One big departure is the use of a shaft-drive transmission instead of a chain drive. That’s because the engine is set to appear first in the large touring bike that we snagged patent pictures of last year. It’s also likely to show up in a big adventure bike model. As such, its closest rival will surely be the similar 1200cc three-cylinder used in the Triumph Trophy and Explorer models.