Benelli is one of the latest entrants in the Indian market with its range of premium motorcycles. A century old Italian manufacturer, Benelli has had a racing heritage and some of their bikes had earned a reputation for reliability and high performance. The TNT 300 is the entry level offering from Benelli, in India and we ride the 2015 edition of this naked motorcycle to see how it fares.
As I entered the DSK Benelli showroom, the first thing that caught my attention was an attractive green TNT 300 standing in front and I was very excited to know that this was the one I would be riding. We had ridden the TNT 300 last year which was a black coloured one, but this green colour in the 2015 edition just looked marvelous. It does have an uncanny resemblance to the Kawasaki ER6n, which we had tested a few months back, with a similarly styled tank, seats and also the off-set rear mono-shock. This Italian beauty looks good from every angle and has stylish elements that add flair, without going overboard. One can also notice Benelli branding on many parts. Good quality fit and finish are a highlight as also the well executed paint job that has the underpinnings of a premium motorcycle. Handlebar grips have a rich feel. I liked the design of the foot pegs. They are short with ball shaped, round ends that do not hurt the legs while maneuvering the bike manually into or out of a parking space, for example. The smart looking headlamp unit houses a powerful multi reflector lamp and the smoked parking lamps offer a distinctive look. The instrument cluster is neat and houses an analogue tachometer with a digital speedometer. It also has a clock, trip meter, fuel gauge and a engine temperature indicator (in units). There is an option to display the speedo in kmph or mph. It misses a gear indicator, which I feel is desirable.
The Benelli TNT 300 is powered by an in-line twin cylinder, 8-valve, DOHC, liquid cooled engine that delivers 38.26bhp of power at 11500 rpm and 26.5Nm of torque at 10000 rpm, with a six-speed transmission. Press the starter and one will be in for complete surprise the way the TNT300 fires up to a really deep growl. This growl further develops into a booming exhaust note as the revs rise and it sounds like a much bigger capacity engine. The way people turned to look at the bike wherever I went, it took me a while to realize that it was not just the looks but mainly the exhaust note that made heads turn. Truly, I have become a fan of the way it sounds. Seating position is upright and comfortable. On the move, the TNT 300 comes across as a smooth and comfortable cruiser. In terms of power delivery, it isn't exactly a scorcher and has a pretty lackluster midrange. The bike comes alive beyond 6000 rpm, where there is decent power available. Close to triple digit speeds, the bike sounds faster than it actually is. However, vibrations are felt through the handlebar and foot pegs beyond 7000 rpm, which is not a pleasant thing, especially on a twin cylinder motorcycle. The TNT 300 is meant for ones looking for relaxed riding, over an aggressive one. Performance is certainly not a forte of this machine.
Braking with the front double discs and rear single disc is good and it manages to retard the 196 kilograms very well. What is missing is an ABS, which the folks at DSK-Benelli are planning to introduce very soon across the entire line-up. The suspension is one of the best ever experienced. The preload setting can be adjusted with a twist-n-click setting on the rear mono-shock. Riding on rough road patches and over ditches was a breeze. This bike is also pretty cornering-friendly and dives into turns as if it loves to do so. One can ride all day long with the comfortable handlebar positioning. The tear-drop shaped rear view mirrors provide a good field of vision. The seats offer enough space and are comfortable for rider and pillion both, especially on long rides. The large 16 litre fuel tank is useful for touring. The bike comes with 17 inch alloy rims with two options of tyres, namely, Pirelli and MRF. While the Pirellis are 120/70 (front) and 160/60 (rear), the MRFs are slimmer at 110/70 (front) and 150/60 (rear). Our test bike was shod with Pirellis and they were brilliant.
The TNT 300 is a CKD and costs Rs.3.28 lacs (on-road, Pune) and if you choose the option of Pirelli tyres, it will set you back by another 11000 bucks at Rs.3.39 lacs. It is available in three colours - Rosso (Red), Verde (Green) and Nero (Black). This bike may not appeal as much to those seeking outright performance, however, what the TNT 300 offers is a premium feel, excellent styling and design, sweet handling, a great suspension and seating that go a long way in providing comfort. It also has a built-to-last kind of feel. Another thing not to forget is the way it sounds, making it one that just cannot pass unnoticed.
Source : MotorOctane