The Benelli TNT 899 has oodles of character and is quite stunning with the gorgeous hardware, says Faisal Ali Khan of MotorBeam.com
Performance motorcycles are seeing a surge in demand in India and now one of the oldest two-wheeler companies in the world, Benelli, is entering our market. The iconic brand comes to India in a JV with DSK Motowheels (the same company handles Hyosung in India) and plans to launch five motorcycles next month, being brought in via the CKD (completely knocked down) route.
One of the hot offerings is the Benelli TNT 899 which competes with the Triumph Street Triple and Kawasaki Z800 in the middle-weight space. We ride it to find out what makes this Italian machine such a want.
The styling of the Benelli TNT 899 is nothing like you have seen before. It's wicked and sci-fi with such attention to detail that you will be spellbound with the kind of attention it attracts on the road. The front features an insect inspired headlight which looks angry.
The bike has a lot of mass but the elements are pure eye candy like the radiator fans on the side, contrast coloured frame and swingarm, under-seat exhaust and delicious wave discs. This bike is a looker.
The instrument cluster isn't a big unit but is very functional. You get an analogue tachometer which takes centre space and does a full swipe on start-up. The digital display has all the other vital bits including speedo, odo, fuel and trip meters, there is also a clock. The riding position is sporty yet comfortable but the pillion seat isn't a nice place to be on due to the position of the exhaust which generates a lot of heat.
The Benelli TNT 899 is powered by a 898cc, 3-cylinder motor which is liquid-cooled and has 12-valves. This powerplant outputs 118 HP of power at 9500 RPM and 88 Nm of torque at 8000 RPM.
0-100 km/hr takes just 3.5 seconds while top speed is 240 km/hr. That's a lot of performance and riding this bike on full pelt can freak you out; the TNT 899 just takes off in a jiffy. There is good low-end grunt but it's really the mid-range which shines on this bike, with a nice top-end to accompany the madness.
The under-seat exhaust makes a nice note once you get past 4000 RPM but at idle, the motor sounds unrefined. The refinement levels are excellent but only on the move, the mill sounding sporty.
The 6-speed gearbox offers smooth shifts and the clutch is progressive, one can also do clutchless shifts without any issue. The bike feels at home in higher gears and can do 55 km/hr in sixth gear while the top whack can be achieved in the same cog, so there is lot of tractability.
The mileage is 20 km/l in normal riding which is good.
The Benelli TNT 899 has good underpinnings which reflects in the way it moves. With some good bits like trestle frame, Marzocchi upside-down front forks, Sachs monoshock and Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, the Italian motorcycle has acres of grip on offer and remains stable at all speeds.
It offers good handling but does weigh a bit. The ride quality is on the stiffer side and one can feel the bad roads on this bike. Braking performance is good but the bike should be offered with ABS as it has a lot of punch on offer.
The Benelli TNT 899 is a very engaging bike to ride, it has the performance and the grip to ensure riding fast is an easy task. With some excellent hardware and wicked looks, the TNT 899 impresses by being crazy like a street-fighter should be.
To be priced around Rs 9 lakh (on-road, Mumbai), the TNT 899 makes for a good alternative to its rivals.