Benelli has promised to bring to India an array of motorcycles. These will include smaller 300cc engines and up to as big as 1190cc. They will be entering the Indian market with the expertise of DSK Motowheels.
The Italian two-wheeler manufacturer has decided to launch its products early next year. They had, however, showcased their motorcycles to the media in an exclusive showcasing. Benelli is confident about their success in India and have already been providing us with test bikes.
Last time we tested their BN600i, which will be sold in India under the nomenclature of TNT600. Now we test their most raw and meanest looking machine, the TNT899. It is a totally different motorcycle from what we tested out previously.
The review continues in the next slide.
Model Tested: 2014 DSK Benelli TNT899
Engine: In-line three, 899cc
Road Test Location: Pune
Price: Post Launch
Benelli's TNT899 has an aggressive looking front. It is beefy and muscular from the front view as well. Its headlight seems to be inspired by Transformer robots, it looks like a helmet shield. The TNT899 cannot be mistaken for any other motorcycle—it is truly a uniquely designed two-wheeler.
The TNT899 we rode had white body panels, along with a red powder coated exposed chassis. There was significant black rubberised parts as well to provide a premium finish. We also liked how the radiator and its cooling fan has been placed within the side panels.
The Italian manufacturer has provided its motorcycle with a beefy tyre in the rear. A three-into-one exhaust system has been adopted and placed below the seat. We liked how Benelli have split their brake indicator around the exhaust system. Even from this angle the motorcycle looks muscular.
Benelli have provided their TNT899 with an in-line three cylinder engine. The 899cc engine is liquid cooled and produces 121 horsepower, along with 88 Nm of peak torque. Fuel is provided via an injection system and the engine sports a balancer shaft. The engine gets a wet clutch and is mated to a 6-speed gearbox.
The TNT899 is a heavy bike and feels a bit lethargic, when pushing it through corners. Once turned in though it stays planted and offers immense amount of grip and inspires confidence. The only downside is the weight that makes the motorcycle less flickable.
The in-line three 899cc engine is noisy and at times irritating as well. There is a lot of mechanical sound, which would put off most riders that are used to Japanese motorcycles. However, some would like this motorcycle because it sounds mechanical and not like a Japanese motorcycle's engine.
The riding posture is excellent, it provides a street fighter stance. We always felt in control of Benelli's TNT899. The throttle response could be smoothened out for more linear delivery rather than a jerky and unpredictable feel.
The instrument console on Benelli's TNT899 is simple and clean. We found it easy to read especially when doing high speeds, which is important with a bike like this. It is part analogue and part digital, we prefer this traditional layout compared to the all-digital gauges.
The switches are placed ergonomically well so that the rider can easily find them when on the move. But they do feel a bit hard when pressed and do not have a smooth operational feel. The plastic and rubber around the rider is nice to touch, however, it could be a tad softer.
We have to say Benelli's TNT899 is a stylish looking motorcycle. No matter where we went, crowded cities, small villages, everywhere, there were heads turning. The motorcycle looks like an Italian sculpture chiseled to perfection.
The braking force comes from Brembo and front bite is awesome. Braking on Benelli's TNT899 is instantaneous and the lever provides sufficient feedback. The dual rotors in front also add more drama to design. The inclusion of ABS would be the proverbial ‘icing on the cake'.
We like how the Italian designers have integrated their radiator fan on the exterior side panel of their TNT899. It adds character to the motorcycle and helps it stand out among its Japanese competitors.
The Not So Good
Benelli have provided a rotor petal for the rear brakes, however, it lacks bite and does not inspire much confidence. Jamming them hard is of no actual use as it won't brake any faster. The inclusion of ABS should be mandatory on every 600 plus cc motorcycle in our country traffic.
The Not So Good
The single exhaust below the seat may look nice from a distance, however, it is very uncomfortable for pillion riders. Benelli's TNT899 produces lots of heat, which can be felt from the seat. Even the under seat storage space is just about adequate enough to store documents, nothing else.
The Not So Good
The mirrors are a bit too small for everyday use on Benelli's TNT899. It has a nice design, which is triangular in shape. It can be adjusted to suit one's preference, however, the viewing area is small and is a major hinderance.
- Unknown brand in India.
- Pricing not announced yet.
- Mechanical sounding engine.
- Constricted rider room.
- Italian designed motorcycle.
- Locally assembled in India.
- Brembo braking system.
- Fully adjustable suspension setup.
The Benelli TNT899 does not have any direct competitors. It is among the few motorcycles in India that sports an in-line three cylinder engine. Triumph is the only other manufacturer offering three-cylinder motorcycles in India, in the form of their Street Triple and Speed Triple. Although the TNT has an engine that sits between both Triumph motorcycles, it is going to come down to personal preference when it comes to choosing between either bikes.
Benelli, the famous Italian motorcycle manufacturer, has been in operation since 1911, and is one of the oldest bike makers in the world. Benelli has also tasted success in motorsport in the past, with victories in the European World Championship, Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, and the Isle of Man TT races.
Benelli is now part of the southeastern Chinese company, Group Qianjiang. The company, however, retains the original premises and workforce of Benelli S.p.A.