Benelli Opens New Flagship Store in China

Benelli JiNan, Shandong, China Opening Chinese firm Group Qianjiang purchased the Benelli motorcycle company in the early part of 2005 from Italian interest Gruppo Merloni. The new owners have so far kept the Pesaro, Italy factory running and producing the exceptionally exotic motorcycles for which Benelli is world-famous as they have promised, and there is no sign of that changing.

However, an important new development has taken place in the homeland of the parent company – they opened their third large-scale location. The new flagship dealer is located in JiNan, which is the capital city of the Shandong province of China. The store was actually opened rather early due to the overwhelming success of the Beijing and Shanghai dealerships – sales have been very brisk at both shops.

This interesting development does make any business-minded creature begin to think that Benelli Q.J. would be smart to build a new factory so as to supply Asia with the same machines built in Italy with less revenue spent on freight. Of course, there will be many Italophiles who are opposed to that very thing; it is possible that some of the special cachet Benelli has always maintained will be lost if they grow too large – or the company starts using lower standards for different markets.

It will be important for the company that the motorcycles built elsewhere retain the same specifications, components and character with which the Italian factory builds them. One should not change the soul of the Benelli motorcycle. Benelli JiNan, Shandong, China Opening

At the ceremony opening the new store, dignitaries from the local and provincial governments joined representatives from the local auto association, Benelli Q.J. and the national press to witness the ribbon-cutting. This new location’s significance was not lost on the attendees.

The potential market for Benelli’s large displacement bikes in the local market is enormous; the top boss at the Chinese division, Pan Yongzhong, addressed this directly at the opening by stating the obvious – new Chinese consumers are (rightly) enamored with Italian products, and high performance Italian motorcycles are akin to street-legal, instant cool. Benelli scooters are also likely to be big hits on the more fashionable streets of China.

Next on the schedule for Benelli Q.J. are the openings of four more such flagship stores in other large markets within greater China. This is expected to take place by the start of 2012, if not earlier.

Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Middle Kingdom Ride: 2 Brothers 2 Bikes

Middle Kingdom Ride logoChina seems to be a more and more popular topic for conversation lately. That is no different for this story as the Middle Kingdom, a literal translation of the characters which make up the Chinese name for their homeland, is a protagonist herein. The other important subjects are the two brothers from Canada, Colin and Ryan Pyle, and their two motorcycles, both are BMW’s F800GS. The ride involves 11,589 miles (18,651 Km) and 65 days over some of the roughest terrain, the wettest paths, and the longest traffic jams on Earth. And the cause is for the SEVA Foundation, a group whose sole purpose is to help alleviate the suffering of people caused by disease and poverty. Interested yet?

The Pyle brothers departed Shanghai in August of this year and arrived in the same city 65 days later on 17 October 2010 at 14:00. It was a full five days longer than they had planned, though it is understandable given the obstacles they encountered. They ran into issues with a burned-out clutch on one of the BMW F800GS bikes in a very remote part of Tibet. Shortly afterwards the ride was delayed again due to being detoured around another part of Tibet to which they were forbidden access. Brothers Pyle were also involved in that world-famous 19 mile long traffic jam on the Beijing to Tibet Expressway.

By far the worst parts of the odyssey were the constantly shifting weather conditions. One example would be a day when they were riding along in 72°F (22°C) with bright sun, and within an hour it had become 41°F (5°C) with a pummeling rainstorm mixed with hail.

Luckily, the Pyle brothers are interested in doing things right and were well prepared for the journey. They were also smart enough to hook up with some very helpful sponsors. The list is very long, so head to the website for everyone involved: http://www.mkride.com/. It would also be a good idea to donate a little something for their efforts and the incredibly decent people at the SEVA Foundation; Colin and Ryan Pyle went through a great deal to help a large number of people, give them a hand.

Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

The 44th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix

Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Macau Grand Prix Poster The Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix has a sort of shadow following; the people who know of the event do their best to get there, or at least try to watch it, and the ones that don’t simply reply ‘huh?’ when asked about it. This is the nature of a ‘real roads’ race held on what many would call the far side of the planet: Macau, China. Since it was left out of any points earning series, the only riders who attended were those who could afford it (or barely afford it), often driven by the pure desire to race, and some professional racers who could earn a purse for participating. One part of this will change at this, the 44th running of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix to be held on 18 – 21 November. As of 2010, the race is now a part of the Duke Road Race Rankings.

The Duke system has been around for nine years and is the only series which creates a points race for real roads racing. The Macau Grand Prix now joins the other prestigious points-earning events: Isle of Man TT, North West 200, and the Ulster Grand Prix. The Macau addition was made official back in February making it 26 races in all for the series.

This means that many of the riders we see take to the tarmac in those mostly European races will also be seen on the Guia circuit of Macau. And, it means that the competition there will be even fiercer as racers are working for points and a Championship. Fortunate readers will see Stuart Easton, Keith Amor, Cameron Donald, Michael Rutter, Martin Jessop, John McGuinness, Rico Penzkofer, Mark Miller, Jeremy Toye and local racers Joao Fernandes, Sou Sio Hong, and Ip Weng Keong all riding their very best on those dangerous lanes.

Macau is a beautiful place with influences both European (it was once a Portuguese colony) and Chinese. The food is incredible, the shopping interesting, and the gambling industry there has finally come into the 21st century, so there is much to distract any visitor. Hopefully, the riders can stay focused on the course. Given the newfound importance of this event, and the fact that most consider it extremely tough and challenging, they had better concentrate hard. Macau is likely to change the face of the Duke Road Racing Rankings and the important fight to clench the Championship.