Benelli TNT600i review, test ride
25th Nov 2014 12:33 pm
We are just back to our desks to report on our ride astride Benelli’s sporty new TNT600i, India’s first in-line four cylinder engine-equipped 600.
DSK-Benelli recently revealed their motorcycle range for India. There’s a range of five bikes to be sold in our market initially, from 300cc to 1130cc. That includes a pair of 600’s, both equipped with in-line four cylinder engines. We have just had a quick spin on the Benelli TNT600i, the sportier bike of this pair.
The Benelli TNT600i is designed in Italy, built in China, and assembled in India by DSK Motowheels - Benelli quality standards adhered to throughout. Viewed head on, the naked Benelli TNT600i’s front bikini fairing lacks the charm many of us have come to associate with Italian bikes. Looking beyond though, the Benelli TNT600i is a handsome and well-proportioned motorcycle overall. Between its dual tone, sleek fuel-tank and contemporary tail piece, sits a wide split saddle. Smart knee recesses are well designed in the tank, and allow the rider good tank grip. The Benelli TNT600i comes with thick looking underseat exhausts that match its sporty intent.
There’s plush, comfortable palm grips, well shaped control levers (reach adjustable for the brake) and smart mirrors. A massive alloy swingarm, attractive alloy wheels and chunky tyres add to the bike’s muscular stance.
Overall quality, fit-finish and attention-to-detail are flawless, with only the instruments and switchgear missing the mark, leaving some room for improvement.
The Benelli TNT600i is equipped with a four-stroke, four-cylinder engine, a first for a 600 in the Indian market. The TNT600i has a liquid-cooled, four-valve per cylinder head driven by dual overhead camshafts.
The Benelli TNT600i makes 80.5bhp at 11,500rpm, while a healthy 5.3kgm of torque steps in at 10,500rpm. The 600i’s twin underseat exhausts sound loud and sporty when on the go, encouraging riders to pin open the bike throttle and ride hard.
The motorcycle’s cable actuated clutch supports a six-speed transmission box.
The Benelli TNT600i’s engine runs smooth and vibe free, with a refined, flexible nature. There’s ample mid-range power, followed up by a strong top end, when you push the motorcycle and ride fast; the engine spinning at over 7,000rpm. With positive clutch feel apparent at the control lever, the TNT600i's six-speed gearbox shifts up or down with rider’s treated to a well weighted, crisp shift action. The gearbox is closely packed, making for brisk acceleration to good cruising speeds in the region of 160kph.
Roomy enough for a six-footer, the new Benelli bike comes with a comfortable enough, split saddle, with firm padding. The Benelli TNT600i has a relatively aggressive riding position as compared to its closely related sibling, the TNT 600GT. The sportier of this Benelli pair, the TNT600i has a tubular steel frame that joins its alloy swingarm at rear. There’s top spec suspension front and rear.
Our test bikes ran really grippy, ample size Pirelli tyres front and rear, with top spec brakes that worked well. Braking is managed by massive, twin 320mm discs in front, and a single disc unit at rear. The Benelli TNT600i is a stable, willing handler that tackles corners with confidence. DSK-Benelli would do well to add the safety net of ABS brakes to the TNT600i, even if only as a paid option.
The Benelli TNT600i is a sporty bike, with ‘pukka’ in-line four character, exotic sounding and capable in the twisties as well. DSK-Benelli has hinted at aggressive pricing for the TNT600i, if delivered, will set the bike for a good start in this fast expanding segment. For all the details on this new Benelli 600, pick up a copy of the latest Autocar India magazine.