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Benelli TNT 300 review, road test

24th Mar 2015 8:30 am

We put Benelli’s quarter-litre TNT300 through our road test treatment to tell you how it performs in Indian conditions.

  • Make : Benelli
  • Model : TNT300

DSK Motowheels and Benelli joined hands recently, to unveil a sporty range of motorcycles that will make their way to India shortly. The most significant one among these, for India, is the new TNT 300, powered by a twin-cylinder engine.

The TNT 300 is a naked streetbike designed in Italy and manufactured in China by Benelli’s now owner, the Qianjiang Corporation. Benelli has, in the past, turned out some of the world’s most inspiring motorcycle designs.

And the TNT 300 is nothing short of beautiful, here with us now. We give it the complete road test treatment, taking a close look at how it performs in India.

The twin cylinder TNT 300 manages to deliver good economy despite its sporty performance. Within congested city limits, the TNT 300 returned 26.6kpl. And while cruising at speeds of around 80kph on the highway, this went up to 29.3kpl.

On average, the bike delivered 27.8kpl.  

The Benelli TNT 300 makes a thoroughly inviting motorcycle for both new and seasoned riders alike.

It sports neat muscular curves, which give it an unmistakable Italian look. On the black motorcycle provided to us, subtle red graphic lines ran neatly across the front body panels, making for a nice contrast. A neatly shaped headlight sits within a bikini front fairing, and provides good visibility at night, while behind it, the flattish alloy handlebar gets a pair of functional rear-view mirrors and plush-feeling rider grips. Both buffed alloy control levers feel good to touch, with the brake lever offering four-way reach adjustment. Switchgear is, likewise, of good quality; Benelli provides a hazard light switch and useful pass-light flasher. The digi-analogue instrument console could have been smarter, and houses an analogue tachometer, while the clock, speedometer, trip-meter and fuel gauge are all part of the comprehensive liquid crystal display.

The shapely 16-litre fuel tank has good knee recesses that provide welcome inner thigh grip. Benelli, unlike many other bike makers, provides a hinge for the fuel-filler cap for convenience at the pump. Underneath the tank, a bright red trellis frame connects to an offset, bright red monoshock. The smartly contoured, wide and stepped saddle looks neat with a large ‘Benelli’ logo printed on the lumbar support, stitched using high-quality fabric. The tank’s shoulders overlap the crimson frame to house the bike radiator. An underbelly sump guard is also provided with the TNT 300.

The tail fairing is elegantly styled and looks up to date, tapering into a comfortable grab handle and dual-tone, LED powered tail-light. Seen under all this is a rear tyre hugger.

Overall quality of material and finish on the TNT 300, including paint and plastics is good, keeping with the bike’s Italian lineage.

The Benelli TNT 300’s fuel-injected engine growls to life without hesitation, immediately settling down into a steady idle; making cold starts no cause for concern throughout our testing. The TNT 300 uses a four-stroke, 300cc, parallel twin-cylinder and shortstroke (bore and stroke, 65mm x 45.2mm) engine. Dual overhead camshafts drive the engine’s eight valves. Liquid-cooling is standard, with injection via twin, 38mm injectors.

The TNT 300 outputs adequate power of 36.2bhp at 11,500rpm, and 2.75kgm of torque at 9,000rpm. The motorcycle’s ample wave of bottom-end torque enables it to power past most traffic in stop-and-go conditions.

The wet clutch pulls in with a slightly heavier feel than expected, yet isn’t too much of a strain, and works with progressive action. The gearbox shifts smoothly with a well-weighted feel in a one-down, five-up, toe-shifted pattern. The TNT 300 is capable of quick performance, yes, and comes into
its element when cruising comfortably on a highway. Once you start unleashing its horses, the character-rich engine outputs brisk acceleration, with a decent mid-range, thereafter flying past 7,000rpm with power still rushing in as the bike delivers screaming performance all the way up to its limiter, around 11,000rpm. Well thought out gear ratios make this a competent bike astride which to tackle city traffic, as well as for cruising on the highways, without any hassle.

The TNT 300’s potent motor took us past 60kph from standstill in 3.41 seconds during performance testing, 100kph in 8.38sec and 130kph in 15.38s. Third gear was good for 99kph, fourth taking over from here to 115kph and fifth bringing you to 130kph. We recorded a true top speed of 154kph on the Benelli in sixth gear.

The Benelli TNT 300’s engine is refined, smooth and performs effortlessly with true Italian character and feel.

The Benelli TNT 300 is held together by a high-tensile steel construction trellis frame and swingarm. A light lean into the handlebars, with legs stretching slightly backwards gives riders a sporty, still upright riding posture. The roomy saddle is comfortable enough for long distances, both for rider and pillion, making the TNT 300 a comfortable touring bike.

Benelli provides beefy 41mm upside-down forks with 115mm of travel and an adjustable offset monoshock at the rear. The suspension soaks up bumps without difficulty and is capable of absorbing moderate potholes when called for, without bottoming out. When attacking the twisties, the TNT 300 handles direction changes with composed manners, the bike’s forgiving, and steadfast handling suddenly morphing into a quick and fun nature.

Ride quality is plush, sporty and always comfortable; body weight isn’t forced on the wrists. The motorcycle always stays stable and well balanced, whether crawling or pushing to the limit. Likewise, the TNT 300 steers with confidence, going where you want it to without undue effort.

The TNT 300 comes with tubeless, radial Pirelli tyres front and rear, providing secure grip at all times. The tyres worked well on a wet patch of road as well.

The Benelli bike comes well equipped with strong brakes, steel-braided, line-fed 260mm petal discs doing duty in front (radial mounted calipers) and at the rear (240mm). Both front and rear brakes provide strong bite, and impart confidence on the go. ABS brakes are sadly not standard. During our brake testing, the TNT 300 stopped in an impressive 14.58 metres from 60kph. 

Benelli has excelled to make the TNT 300 look and feel a segment higher. And the TNT 300 does well to impart a quality feel, along with a spot of true Italian flavour. Apart from these, Benelli has also provided the TNT 300 with a flexible engine and adequate torque to both negotiate bumper-to-bumper traffic and spread its wings when blasting away at high speed. Shifting through the six-speed gearbox is pleasurable enough. The deep exhaust note sounds fine, and then there’s goodies including powerful twin disc powered front brakes, and a smart looking offset rear monoshock. The Benelli also handles and rides with grace, making the lack of ABS brakes the only real Achilles heel here. Overall though, this doesn’t really dent the TNT 300’s solid appeal.

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