Can Benelli’s flagship, the 1131cc TNT R deliver on essential fronts to make a truly desirable sportsbike in India?
Benelli’s flagship sportsbike is called the TNT R. Known as the TNT 1130 in some markets around the globe, this naked motorcycle with Italian heritage is now on sale in India as the bike maker's top-of-the-line offering. Benelli is, for the past decade, a part of the Chinese Qianjiang group that produces over 12 lakh motorcycles a year, including some of the bikes sold in India. The TNT R, however, along with larger engine-equipped TNT bikes, remains completely manufactured in Europe, from where it comes directly to us. We’ve just ridden the TNT R, putting it through its paces in and around the city.
Benelli's TNT R looks quick even when standing still. Its headlight sits visually floating between flank mounted radiators, coming across as neatly designed. Above this, neatly laid out instruments are equipped with a trip and odometer. A power mode selector is also provided, commanding its ECU to lower power when required, and allowing switching between modes on the move. The motorcycle’s switchgear is comprehensive, and unlike on many other big bikes, the TNT R’s headlight can be switched off, with only pilot lights staying on permanently. The big TNT’s grips feel plush and comfortable, and there’s nice, really premium feeling alloy reach adjustable brake and clutch levers that fit the motorcycle’s upmarket image well.
Bifurcating the tank is a black strip. The split saddle on the TNT R looks visually appealing, however, it isn’t as roomy as required, and some really tall riders may find there isn’t quite enough space to move around. The TNT R’s tailpiece houses an under seat muffler, and is really tastefully styled. The R is also equipped with several carbonfibre bits, adding to the chic, modern feel of the bike. The front mudguard and exhaust are made of this, as are a couple of other parts, such as the bike belly panel and fuse box cover. Our test bike came with blood red wheels that go well with the TNT R’s similar coloured chassis, but note that this is an option the company will provide only if asked for at the time of placing your order. Beautifully executed and individual without doubt, the Benelli TNT R makes for amongst the funkiest big bikes you can own in India, and one that always commands attention. Attention-to-detail is good, with Benelli using adequate quality materials, in tune with Italian standards.