Benelli TNT 25 Review
Bike Tested: 2016 Benelli TNT 25 Standard; Road Test No. 643
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 2,02,120/- (Standard), Rs. 2,10,210/- (Premium)
The Benelli TNT 25 is by far the cheapest Italian motorcycle you can buy in India currently
Good days for motorcycle enthusiasts in India as the entry-level performance segment is seeing a slew of new options and that too non-Japanese. In recent times, two very interesting street-fighters have been launched in the 200-300cc space, there was the Mahindra Mojo and now the Benelli TNT 25 which is also the entry-level bike for the Italian bike maker in India. The TNT 25 is priced quite attractively for a locally assembled model and on paper, looks very strong to win but out on the road, things do turn out different.
Motor Quest: One of the oldest Italian bike manufacturers, Benelli stormed into India last year with 5 models while the TNT 25 is the sixth launch from the company in 2015. The motorcycles are sold in India in association with the DSK Group.
Styling – The Benelli TNT 25 will remind you of the bigger TNT 300 as there are a lot of common design elements between both these bikes. The motorcycle does look unique on the road with the red-coloured frame standing out on a white coloured motorcycle. The front forks are finished in silver, the tank is slim and gets a black strip in the centre. Besides that, the alloy wheels get a rather different design with multiple spokes and the tyres are wide, giving the motorcycle a good presence.
The TNT 25 has good quality parts and looks visually striking in this paint shade
The headlight is a bit plain but follows the street-fighter design rule while the side mounted exhaust gets all black finishing. The split seats look good while the side panels, the ones near the engine also come across as visually enhancing elements. The motorcycle gets LED indicators and an LED tail light which add to the cool factor while even the mirrors get a nice design. Benelli offers the TNT 25 in three colours and there are three graphic schemes available as well.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The console on the Benelli TNT 25 is an analogue digital unit but is a bit too crowded and appears a bit dated now. The good bit is of course the analogue tachometer which makes it easy to keep a note of engine speed while the LCD screen on the right shows the speed, fuel level, temperature meter, time, odometer, trip meter and gear position. The indicator warning lights are on the top while tell-tale lights for neutral, high beam and FI warnings are on the left of the tachometer. Build quality is good and the switchgear is standard affair with buttons having a reassuring feel.
Ergonomics – The rider sits upright on the Benelli TNT 25 and the riding position is very comfortable as the shoulders aren’t under stress while the back doesn’t get additional pressure on it either. The pegs are well positioned too and are a bit rear-set. The seat has good padding and thus long rides on the TNT 25 are welcome. Pillion comfort is also decent and short rides on the TNT 25 aren’t an issue. The problem though lies with the mirrors as they are designed more for style than rear visibility and thus with a riding jacket on, seeing what’s behind isn’t an easy task.
Performance – The Benelli TNT 25 draws power from a 249cc, single-cylinder engine which gets liquid-cooling, DOHC and 4-valves. This is the only Benelli bike in India to use a single-cylinder motor, in the interest of costs, producing an impressive 28.16 BHP of power and 21.61 Nm of torque. These figures did make us have huge expectations from the bike but we were disappointed. The TNT 25 takes 9.91 seconds to do the 0-100 km/hr sprint which makes it slower than the heavier Mahindra Mojo while what really spoils the riding experience are the vibrations.
Low and mid-range performance is good but it’s best to avoid the TNT’s top-end
The vibrations from the motor are just way too much, you can feel them on the handlebar, footpegs and even the seat. Of course they aren’t that apparent at low revs where one will appreciate the good performance that makes ambling around town a breeze. There is no over-heating whatsoever when you crawl in traffic while selecting higher gears at low speeds is not a problem for this Italian bike. Mid-range performance is also quite good but the top-end disappoints as redline comes in quick at just 10,000 RPM and there is a lot of buzz from the motor.
The linear power delivery makes the TNT 25 a bike which is best ridden at cruising speeds of around the ton although the top speed is a respectable 140 km/hr. Just like all other Benelli bikes, what really impresses is the exhaust note, even the single-cylinder model being quite an aural delight with a bassy tune. The 6-speed gearbox offers smooth shifts but the clutch is heavy and can tire one out in city riding. The 17-litre fuel tank, coupled with a mileage of 30 km/l, gives the TNT 25 an impressive tank range.
Riding Dynamics – The Benelli TNT 25 gets top-drawer hardware, so the frame is trellis, the front forks are upside-down and the rear suspension uses a monoshock. The tyres on the Standard variant are MRFs while the Premium version gets grippy Metzeler rubber. But handling isn’t the TNT 25’s forte as it’s a heavy bike which isn’t quick to turn-in. While handling is pleasant, it’s not a corner craver but the TNT 25 more than makes up for all that with its splendid ride quality. Comfort is high on Benelli’s list and the single-cylinder TNT does soak up the bumps in its stride with utmost confidence.
The lack of feel from the front brake lever is really disheartening on the TNT
Stability too is very good and the TNT 25 remains glued to the road at high speeds although being a naked bike, it simply can’t tackle windblast. Braking duties are taken care by petal discs at both ends with good stopping power but there is a big issue. The front brake lever is a 4-way adjustable unit, which isn’t the issue but the absolute lack of feel from the lever is. In the past few years, this is the only bike which I have come across that has such poor feel at the lever and Benelli has also skipped on ABS.
Verdict – When you talk about the price of the Benelli TNT 25, it sure looks attractive for a CKD model but buyers don’t care how the bike was made so this motorcycle does turn out to be expensive for what it offers. Performance is decent and comfort is excellent too, the latter being the only reason worth considering this motorcycle. But when you factor in the vibrations and lack of front-brake feel, you tend to think that DSK rushed the product in. Carrying the highest price in the segment only makes the company’s ambition to sell 8000 bikes in a year a far fetched possibility.
The entry-level Benelli doesn’t offer the same experience as the previous entry-level model, the TNT 300. While the twin-cylinder TNT is more expensive, it offers way more than the TNT 25, so if you must have a Benelli motorcycle, the more expensive TNT is worth saving up for.
* Linear power delivery makes it manageable in the city
* Grippy Metzeler tyres on the Premium variant
* Comfortable riding position and good ride quality
* Exhaust note is sweet, even on a single-cylinder bike
What’s Not So Cool
* Loads of vibrations from the engine, can be felt almost everywhere
* Poor front-brake feel, one really has to grab the lever hard
* On paper performance doesn’t translate on the road
Alternatives: KTM Duke 200, Mahindra Mojo
Benelli TNT 25 Specifications
* Engine: 249cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-valves, DOHC
* Power: 28.16 BHP @ 9800 RPM
* Torque: 21.61 Nm @ 8000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-Speed
* 0-100 km/hr: 9.91 seconds
* Top Speed: 140 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 28-30 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Trellis
* Suspension: Upside Down Forks (Front), Adjustable Monoshock (Rear)
* Tyres: 110/70/17 (Front), 150/60/17 (Rear)
* Brakes: 280 mm Petal Disc (Front), 240 mm Petal Disc (Rear)
Benelli TNT 25 Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 2080 x 810 x 1125
* Wheelbase: 1400 mm
* Ground Clearance: 160 mm
* Seat Height: 800 mm (est.)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 17-litres
* Kerb weight: 159 kgs
Picture Editing: Sri Manikanta Achanta
Further Reading –