We are onto month four with the Benelli Leoncino 800 Trail long-termer! Zane heads out to Mount Keira, a perfect little picnic location with fun roads to have a fang on the way there!

It’s month number four on the little Benelli Leoncino 800 Trail and what better way to experience it than hitting some twisties that have a high level of sentiment. Mount Keira might not be the best road to ride, but it sure has some amazing views…

For this months update on the Benelli Leoncino 800 Trail long-termer Zane runs you through one of his local twisties, Mount Keira!

For this months update on the Benelli Leoncino 800 Trail Zane runs you through one of his local twisties, Mount Keira!

Mount Keira is a pretty bloody important road to me, all of my earliest memories of getting my motorcycle and car licence started on Mount Keira Road. This little twisty section can either be made into a sprint up and down to the peak, which stretches 5.8km. Or, you can make it into a full loop if you go down Mount Kembla, which stretches 13.9km if you want to end up at the picturesque Mount Kembla lookout.


Mount Keira/Mount Kembla Loop


My long history with Mount Keira starts back when I was 13/14. The road was closed for many years as they repaired landslides and repaved some sections. While it was closed, my friends and I would catch the bus to the bottom, walk up and skateboard down on our downhill boards.


Stay up to date with all of Zane’s Leoncino 800 Trail updates here…


It wasn’t long until I was riding on the road at 16 and 9 months, after many laps up and down on my motorbike I was finally able to get my car licence. The afternoon after I got my licence, I just cut laps up, then down and then back up again as I got to experience what true freedom on the road was like.



Since I went to high school just down the road, I made it a ritual to sneak out during my free periods for a cheeky ciggy and just drive up and down the mountain. I can’t imagine the conversation that would’ve ensued if one of the teachers caught me, but we are all 17 once and it helped to pass a lot of that trials and HSC stress at the time. That hour or so each day is something I look back upon fondly, I still ride or drive there at least once a week.

Mount Keira is just west of Wollongong. It’s super easy to find, you pretty much just head west from the CBD and follow the signs.

Mount Keira is just west of Wollongong. It’s super easy to find, you just head west from the CBD and follow the signs.

Anyway, Mount Keira is just west of Wollongong. It’s super easy to find, you pretty much just head west from the CBD and follow the signs. It starts just before the RFS Brigade and it’s tight enough that you’ll have more fun on something without heaps of power but lots of torque to blast out of the corners, like the Leoncino 800.



I recommend that you don’t come here a day or two after it has been raining, the road is covered by trees and it’ll be mega slippery, it’ll also be covered in debris. It’s a little slippery as I manoeuvre through the first few corners that lead me up to the archery club. This is a pretty cool little spot to sit and watch people fire arrows off.

his hairpin is plenty of fun, you can get the bike cranked over through here at the speed-limit on the way up with ease!

This hairpin is plenty of fun, you can get the bike cranked over through here at the speed-limit on the way up with ease!

The next section are the two straights and hairpin. While I rarely ever see highway patrol along here, I recommend that you don’t go full pelt on the straights, there are often mountain bike riders heading back to the peak and the road isn’t the best. This hairpin is plenty of fun, you can get the bike cranked over through here at the speed-limit on the way up with ease! It’s also one of the spots where the sun gets through so the road is rarely slippery, perfect for the Leoncino’s knobby hoops.



You head down the next straight and round a right hander to my favourite section. This is where they have repaved it and all the corners flow really well, I hit this section on the Benelli quite a few times. As you pass the scout-camp, it can get a little slippery here as moss lines the outsides of the turns. There’s a corner that tightens at the end which catches a lot of people out too, I highly recommend doing a few slow runs up to get to grips with the road.



When you make it out of the tree’s there’s a turn off to the first look-out. Up the top is a spectacularly set up spot for a little picnic.

Make sure you stop up at the Mount Keira lookout, the view over the Illawarra is spectacular.

Make sure you stop up at the Mount Keira lookout, the view over the Illawarra is spectacular.

There is a little café (which was weirdly closed when I went there mid-day on a Thursday), bubblers, toilets, picnic tables and the most gorgeous view of the Illawarra. You can see from Thirroul all the way to lake Illawarra and beyond here, put your partner on the back of the bike, pack some lunch and have a lovely day out.



On to the next lookout as I use the grunt of the little Leoncino out of the turns, the next section is a tight two-lane twisty road with no lines painted. When you get up to the main intersection, turn left and head to “Robertson Lookout”. The view is just as spectacular here but not as equipped as the main lookout.



From here you can decide to either ride down Mount Kembla, the roads aren’t the best but they’re working on it, or turn around and restart the run up Keira. If you do decide to go down Mount Kembla, you’ll pass the Kembla motocross track where the likes of Jay Marmont and Robbie Maddison would’ve been cutting laps in their early career.

There are seriously so many cool lookouts, awesome riding roads and picnic locations all within a few KM.

There are seriously so many cool lookouts, awesome riding roads and picnic locations all within a few KM.

You’ll get to the township at the bottom of the mountain, where you hit a right at the intersection and head up Windy Gully to get to yet another lookout! There used to be an awesome gravel road that takes you further, but Wollongong seemed to want to close all legal riding trails. There’s a good historic pub just up the road called Mount Kembla Village Hotel, stop off here for a spot of lunch then head back up to complete a lap of one of my favourite loops!



I recommend going mid-week if you want to go for a spirited ride, it’s never really busy on these roads but the second it hits quitting time for work or the weekend, it’s littered with cyclists and hikers. If you’re all about going for a hike, this is the place to do It. There are seriously so many trails to walk here!

As for the Leoncino 800 Trail, not much has changed. It’s still an awesome tool I’ve been using to get from place to place.

As for the Leoncino 800 Trail, not much has changed. It’s still an awesome tool I’ve been using to get around.

As for the Leoncino 800 Trail, not much has changed. It’s still an awesome tool I’ve been using to get from place to place. However, I would really like to change to some road hoops. I rarely take it off road and some more grip through the corners would be awesome. “But Zane, why not just swap it for the road version?”, the trail simply just looks better, and the longer travel is heaps more comfortable.

Mucking around with the preload adjuster on the rear sees some improvement in overall handling on the road.

I still haven’t done any of the things I said I’d do to this bike besides ride it. But, I still have eight more months to work on it! Make sure you check back in next month…


SMSP

Benelli Leoncino 800 Trail Tech Talk 

The heart of Leoncino 800 is the 754cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, twin-cylinder engine; which is now Euro 5 approved. Suitable for off road use thanks to the configuration with crank pin angle phase of 90° from which it gets an irregular firing sequence (0° – 270° – 450°).



The new cylinder-head has been redesigned to integrate a secondary air system, and optimise the intake and cooling system. The distribution case has also been stiffened in order to reduce noise emissions and strengthen the engine/chassis fixing points.


Kawasaki

The suspension consists of a front upside-down fork with 50mm tubes. On the back there is a swingarm with central adjustable monoshock with spring preload and rebound damping. The frame is a steel tube trellis (ALS 420) with cast and forged details. It has four engine fixing points on each side. The engine is used to strengthen and stiffen the overall frame. 



The braking is sorted by dual 320mm diameter semi-floating discs on the front and four-piston radial-mount monoblock calipers, with a 260mm diameter disc on the back with a double-piston caliper. Despite early press information showing Brembo calipers and Marzocchi suspension, Australia will not receive this equipment. Suspension, Brakes and ABS were all development in-house at Benelli. 

The Leoncino 800 Trail features everything from the standard model but adds a double exhaust in a raised position and 19in front wheel. Also different is suspension travel length. 



The transmission has undergone updates to the clutch (spring calibration, discs and clutch damper) and to the final ratio, now reduced with the 46 tooth sprocket. The exhaust system has been completely redesigned, low and short silencer for road version, high with double exit for Trail version.


Shannons Q2 24

In turn, the suspension has been upgraded: the  front fork has longer travel, from 130mm in the road model to 140mm in the Trail version. The same upgrade took place on the rear, travel was increased from 130mm to 140mmm. The Leoncino 800 Trail seat is raised to 834mm from 805mm seen on the road model.



Also different on the Trail model are the spoked rims with tubeless tyres (19in front, 17in rear), the bike comes stock with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, 120/70 19in front and 170/60 17in rear.


 

Shannons Q2 24
 

2023 Benelli Leoncino 800 Trail Specifications

benelli.com.au

Price: $13,990 rideaway
Colours: Forest Green, Rock Grey and Terrain Brown
Claimed Power: 56kW@8500rpm
Claimed Torque: 67Nm@6500rpm
Wet Weight: 234kg
Fuel capacity: 15L


Engine: Liquid-cooled, in-line two-cylinder, four-stroke, DOHC, four-valves per cylinder, 754cc, 88 x 62mm bore x stroke, 43mm throttle-bodies, 11.5:1 compression ratio, 6-speed gearbox, slipper clutch.


Chassis: Frame: Trellis steel tubes
Rake: N/A Trail: N/A
Suspension: Upside-down forks with 50mm tubes 140mm Travel (f) Aluminium rear swing arm with central shock absorber spring preload and hydraulic rebound adjustable 140mm Travel (r)
Brakes: Twin semi-floating disc 320mm, mono block radial caliper 4-pistons and ABS (f) Single disc 260mm with double piston and ABS (r)
Wheels & Tyres: Spoked Wheel, 19in x MT3.00, 17in x MT4.25.


Dimensions:
Length: 2200mm
Height: 1210mm
Width: 870mm
Seat Height: 834mm
Wheelbase: 1480mm
Ground clearance: 191mm


Instruments & Electronics: DRL, LED lighting, TFT Dash


Editor’s Note: If you are reading this article on any website other than BikeReview.com.au, please report it to BikeReview via our contact page, as it has been stolen or re-published without authority.


 

Aprilia Q1
 


Editor’s Note: If you are reading this article on any website other than BikeReview.com.au, please report it to BikeReview via our contact page, as it has been stolen or re-published without authority.


UMI
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