Benelli TNT600GT review, test ride
24th Nov 2014 8:55 am
Italian bike marquee Benelli is bringing India its 600cc tourer, the TNT600GT. We’ve just taken it for a ride.
The Benelli TNT600GT joins the TNT600i in an exclusive club of 600cc four-cylinder sportbikes in India. The generously proportioned TNT600GT makes its debut in India along with four other Benelli sportbikes, all aiming to take on rival motorcycles in their respective segments and give Benelli a toehold in the massively important Indian two-wheeler market.
Like all Benelli bikes for our shores, the TNT600GT is designed in Italy, made in China (home to Benelli owner QJ), and assembled in India by DSK Motowheels.The Benelli TNT600GT has a powerful presence with its faired-in structure. The GT’s distinctive nose fairing shows off neatly integrated turn signal indicators, and a potent looking headlight. Look further behind, and the TNT600GT comes across as a handsome, well-proportioned motorcycle, with a sleek fuel-tank and substantial riding saddle. The instruments and switchgear could be better on the GT, both seeming a bit dated and somewhat out of place on this modern looking bike. There’s a pair of comfortable palm grips, machined control levers (the brake lever reach adjustable), and smart, tapered mirrors. The Benelli TNT600GT also comes with neat alloy footrests.
There’s a large alloy swingarm, and chunky tyres. The TNT600GT offers the option of lockable pannier storage bays, easily attached and detached as required. Speaking of which, you can’t help admire the Benelli’s flip to open ignition key.
The Benelli TNT600GT sports a 600cc, four-stroke powerplant. With this, Benelli has entered this segment as pioneers offering in-line four power. The TNT600GT runs a liquid-cooled four-valve per cylinder head, driven by dual overhead camshafts. Claimed power is 80.5bhp, made at11,000rpm, with peak torque 5.6kgm, achieved significantly lower than the TNT600i at 8,000rpm, in keeping with the GT’s more sober persona.
The TNT 600GT's engine displays gentle manners, making this the right 600 for riders who want to enjoy long distance cruising in lazy comfort. There’s a typical in-line four smoothness, present from low speeds, and the bike engine displays really flexible nature, making it easy to come to terms with, and power along on Indian roads.
You never need to play the gearbox to derive the best from the TNT600GT. It’s not the correct way to ride, but the 600GT can pull away cleanly from 30kph even if stuck in sixth. The motorcycle pulls with real gusto once you’ve breached the 7,000rpm mark, feeling quick, but its soft, gentle exhaust tone will remind you of this engine’s understated nature.
Power delivery is vibe free, with a typical in-line four smoothness and character, requiring you to pull the engine to relatively higher revs than on a twin, when you need to extract the new Benelli’s performance potential. Clutch feel is positive, and the gearbox shifts in the 1-down, 5-up pattern with a well weighted, precise feel. The Benelli TNT600GT can effortlessly cruise at speeds of 160kph, its wide fairing ensuring the occasional dart to higher speeds is possible without wind buffet becoming unbearable.
The Benelli TNT600GT proves to be a comfortable bike, living up to its name in seating riders in an upright, comfortable riding posture, with handlebars reaching back. Benelli has given the GT an alloy rear swingarm, and top spec suspension front and rear. The TNT600GT is roomy enough for a six-footer, and it has good suspension that works to provide nice ride quality, firm enough while being plush too, allowing long distance riding.
Benelli’s providing the TNT600GT with ample size Pirelli rubber front and rear in India, and top spec brakes as well, discs all round with massive twin 320mm rotors up-front, and steel braided hydraulic hoses. Brake feel is powerful, yet it feels progressive at the lever. The GT takes on corners with confidence, and neutral steering means the new Benelli doesn’t hesitate to follow your desired line. On the flip side, its turning radius is wide, and the GT isn’t the lightest handling machine out there, though this does help it be a stable, willing handler on the go. DSK-Benelli however, will do well to add ABS brakes to the GT, even if it is as a paid option.
The large, faired-in GT makes a good distance munching companion, offering comfortable ergonomics, quiet and character-rich engine, with adequate luggage carrying capability. DSK-Benelli has hinted at affordable pricing for its new motorcycle, if achieved, does make the TNT600GT a potent, versatile package within its 600cc segment.