DSK Motowheels and Benelli have announced a partnership to enter the Indian two-wheeler market. On the sidelines, DSK-Benelli has also revealed five new big bikes, which will go on sale in India a few weeks from now. This joint venture marks a significant step in our market, with a wide fleet of premium Benelli motorcycles earmarked for assembly here by DSK.
Benelli is Italy’s oldest bike-maker, having been in the business a century, starting pre-1920, scripting a colourful history with plenty of ups, downs, and a richly chequered racing heritage. Like so many of the famous European automotive houses, Benelli has over the years changed hands numerous times. It is, since 2005, a European wing of the mammoth, flourishing Qianjiang (Q.J.) corporation, based in Wenling, China.
DSK-Benelli marks the biggest two-wheeler merger of 2014 for us, coming on the heels of TVS-BMW Motorrad and the super successful, path-leading and now well settled, Bajaj-KTM merger. There’s immense potential for this new Indo-Italian venture, with gains visible for both firms.
The DSK-Benelli motorcycle line-up for India covers all bases, with bikes to reach us starting from 300cc, all the way up to a thoroughbred 1130cc superbike. The DSK-Benelli range will comprise the Benelli TNT302, TNT600i, TNT600GT, TNT899 and TNT1130R. TNT stands for ‘Tornado Naked Tre’ a name that’s over the years become synonymous with Benelli.
Of the motorcycles mentioned, Benelli produces the TNT302, TNT600i and the TNT600GT in China, built to conform to strict Italian quality control norms, while the TNT899 and TNT1130R remain manufactured in Italy.
DSK-Benelli will commence sales for its motorcycles here around the end of this calendar year. Benelli aims to have exclusive dealerships in 20 cities across India, over the span of a year. The first few dealerships will come up in the major metros of Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai and Kolkata, all expected to open doors over the next quarter. The sales will be supported by trained after sales service too.
Let’s take a closer look at the motorcycle range DSK-Benelli is soon to bring us.
Easily the most significant DSK-Benelli motorcycle for this market, the TNT302 is a well equipped, twin-cylinder motorcycle. The TNT302 is a naked bike with a muscular air about it. An obvious choice on Indian roads for DSK and Benelli, the trellis frame harnessed BN302 hits a sweet spot in the sporty, small capacity performance bike market where many manufacturers aim to build their presence. KTM has already shown our market the present day pinnacle of a street single bike, in the potent 390 Duke platform.
The TNT302 is powered by a 300cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine producing 36.2bhp at 11,500rpm. The TNT302 is fuel-injected via a set of 38mm throttle bodies, and makes peak torque of 2.75kgm at 9,000rpm. This naked twin has USD front suspension mated to a rear horizontally-mounted monoshock, while double disc brakes are provided in front, and there’s a single disc brake at the rear, all using petal type disc rotors.
The silencer sits smartly tucked away under the motorcycle engine.
Next up from DSK-Benelli is the TNT600i, a naked sportsbike with clean, smooth styling lines. The TNT600i is powered by a 600cc, four-stroke, in-line four cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that produces 80.5bhp at 11,500rpm. The TNT600i also manages an output of 5.3kgm of torque at 10,500rpm.
The Benelli TNT600i sports USD front suspension, mated to a side-mounted rear monoshock absorber. Twin underseat silencers make their way onto the TNT600i. For stopping power, the 600cc Benelli bike uses a set of disc brakes in front, and single disc unit at rear.
The Benelli TNT600GT looks a slightly more relaxed version of the TNT600i. This DSK-Benelli bike will sell encased within a half-fairing, a projector light doing duty in front for good visibility when riding at night. There’s a single saddle, which is deeply dished for the rider. The smoothly sculpted TNT600GT lines flow smartly back on the motorcycle, making this look like quite a tourer friendly machine.
Make no mistake however, this is no lethargic machine. The TNT600GT, powered by a Benelli made, 600cc, in-line four, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine produces 80.5bhp at 11,000rpm and 5.6kgm of torque at 8,000rpm. The TNT600GT deploys USD front suspension and a monoshock rear suspension. The TNT600GT has dual disc brakes in front and a single disc brake at the rear.
The Benelli TNT899 is a naked sportbike that, with its ‘bug-eyed’ fascia, a red steel trellis chassis, and smartly crafted body, gives it a distinctive, eye catching appearance. The TNT899 appears styled to concept bike standards.
Benelli has given the sporty TNT899, an 899cc, in-line three cylinder, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine which produces 123.4bhp at 9,500rpm.
Peak torque of 9kgm is produced at 8,000rpm. The Benelli TNT899 is a promising machine, and comes to our market well positioned with little competition to face off. The TNT899 runs USD front suspension and a rear monoshock. For stopping power, the TNT899 uses twin petal type disc brakes in front, and a single disc brake at the rear.
DSK-Benelli's flagship model for India, the TNT1130R is a naked sportsbike. The TNT1130R is packed with goodies, including a couple of carbon fibre bits. The Benelli TNT1130R is powered by a 1131cc, in-line three, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine producing 155.6bhp at 10,200rpm and 12.2kgm of torque at 8,400rpm, figures fit for a true superbike.
These robust power figures put the TNT1130R at par with its competition in the segment, which is undoubtedly set to heat up and get more exciting. The TNT1130R has top spec front USD telescopic forks, and a monoshock in place at the rear. For stopping power, the TNT1130R has twin disc brakes in the front and a single disc brake unit at the rear.
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