Benelli BN 600 GT vs Kawasaki Ninja 650 Comparison Review
Forget all your woes, get on these motorcycles and head out for a real long ride across the country

Shootout: Benelli TNT 600 GT vs Kawasaki Ninja 650

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 6.76 lakhs (Benelli TNT 600 GT), Rs. 6.23 lakhs (Kawasaki Ninja 650)

Both these motorcycles will happily pile on the miles and have ample power on to do so

When it comes to touring motorcycles, there aren’t many options in the Indian market and for the first time, a company has launched a locally assembled tourer in the country, the Benelli TNT 600 GT. This Italian beast isn’t just another tourer, it comes with a powerful engine, has mounts to strap on panniers and also looks all ready to munch miles. However, there is one motorcycle which has been on sale in India for the most part of this decade and although it’s not positioned as a tourer, it can gobble up miles with utmost ease, the Kawasaki Ninja 650. These two motorcycles now have to fight it out because the Benelli is here to threaten the Kawasaki but with the Ninja being a fighter, will it give up so easily?

Motor Quest: While Benelli just entered the Indian market in March 2015, Kawasaki launched the Ninja 650R in India in 2011, launching the updated model without the R suffix in 2012. Both bikes come via the CKD route.

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There is no doubt that the Kawasaki Ninja 650 looks the better proportioned machine

Styling – Just like their street-fighter counterparts, the Benelli TNT 600 GT is bigger than the Kawasaki Ninja 650 in every dimension and thanks to big dimensions, the Italian bike has much more presence. There are some nice bits on the Benelli, like a large fuel tank, LED indicators and projector headlights which are a big boon when you go exploring new places (the Kawasaki lacks it). The GT also gets luggage mounts which immediately conveys its intention of munching miles. It is also offered in more colours including white and black while you can only get the Ninja 650 in Kawasaki’s signature green shade.

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The Benelli TNT 600 GT has elements on its body which shout tourer

Both bikes use an under-belly exhaust and an off-set monoshock, the one on the TNT getting a bright colour for a striking visual appeal. The Kawasaki doesn’t look like a tourer but nor does it look like a sport bike, it walks the fine line in between. The Ninja 650 has a bigger fairing so the parts are well convered unlike the Benelli and the motorcycle does look more proportionate of the two. Yes, the TNT’s bulk makes it look intimidating but the Ninja 650 is more soothing to the eyes. Deciding which one looks better will narrow down to personal choice but most will pick the Kwacker.

Benelli BN 600 GT vs Kawasaki Ninja 650 ShootoutKawasaki Ninja 650 vs Benelli BN 600 GT

Both bikes get an analogue-digital instrument cluster but the Ninja 650’s looks better and has more info on board

Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – Featuring analogue tachometers and a digital display, both bikes have clear instrumentation but the Benelli’s fonts aren’t as easy to read as the Kawasaki’s. The Ninja 650 also carries more information like range and crucially a second trip meter which is a big boon when touring. Neither of these machines have a gear position indicator although both get a hazard light switch. There is a shift light on the Ninja 650 which is absent on the TNT 600 and switchgear quality is better on the Kawasaki.

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Both have upright riding positions with well padded seats for a comfortable long ride

Ergonomics – Both these middle-weights have an upright riding position and although they are faired machines, they still use a handlebar and not clip-ons. The riding position is very comfortable and even long hours on the saddle don’t tire you out. Both bikes get adustable levers for the brakes. The Benelli has better cushioned seats, both for the rider and pillion which makes it more comfortable for two people to tour. Couple that with luggage mounts and the TNT 600 GT easily edges ahead of the 650 Ninja here.

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The Benelli has more power and in spite of being heavier, is still faster

Performance – It again becomes a question of twin vs four because the Kawasaki’s 650cc mill is a parallel-twin while the Benelli’s 600cc motor is an in-line 4. Power output is higher in the TNT 600 GT with 86 PS on offer against the Ninja 650’s 72 PS but the green machine claws back its advantage with a higher torque of 64 Nm against the Italian beast’s 54.6 Nm. The case is the same as the street-fighter siblings of these bikes, the Benelli has power being produced higher up in the rev band while the Kawasaki peaks output much earlier. Thus, the Kwacker has much better low-end grunt and also feels at ease in city riding.

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The engine on the Ninja 650 has much better fuelling and power delivery than the Benelli

The Ninja 650’s motor is more suited to the tourer character, the Benelli is more fun to rev hard

Both these engines are old school but we love the 650’s motor better as it has punch all across the band, it does feel the best in the mid-range while the TNT 600 GT has to be in the top-end for the madness to erupt. There isn’t as good low-end punch in the Benelli although both these bikes fare extremely well when it comes to refinement. Heat management is top class in both bikes and when given the stick, the Benelli will easily outrun the Kawasaki at all speeds, taking marginally lesser time to do the ton. It also beats the Kwacker in top speed.

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Both bikes have an impressive top-end punch; Benelli sounds much sweeter

Both bikes offer a smooth shifting gearbox and although the Kawasaki has slightly better feel of the clutch, both will happily do clutchless shifts. Unlike its naked counterpart, the TNT 600 GT isn’t as loud although still more music to the ears than the good sounding Ninja 650. Where the TNT 600 GT simply blows away the Kawasaki is tank capacity, it can hold a massive 27-litres of fuel while the Ninja 650 can carry just 16-litres in comparison. The Japanese machine is a couple of kms more frugal per km, delivering a mileage of around 22 km/l.

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The handling on the Ninja 650 is much better, it’s very nimble in the city too

Riding Dynamics – You won’t expect these motorcycles to be handlers but they still do a good job nonetheless. The Ninja 650 is underpinned by a perimetre frame while the Benelli makes do with a steel trestle. Again, the TNT uses upside down forks while the Kawasaki uses Indian road friendly telescopic forks. With wider 180 section rear tyre on the Benelli (the Ninja has a 160 mm rear) and drastically more weight of 243 kgs (the 650 is 211 kgs on the weighing scale), the Benelli offers more stability but the Kawasaki is more nimble to ride in the city while also being the better handler.

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Both these motorcycles have a very good ride quality but the 600 GT is slightly better

Ride quality is good on both bikes but the Benelli TNT 600 GT is slightly better when it comes to tackling bumpy roads. Hampering the fun factor around corners for the Italian beast is the massive weight and height. With the panniers added, manoeuvring the TNT 600 GT in city conditions becomes an even bigger challenge, no such issues on the Ninja 650 though. Neither bikes come with ABS, not even as an option which is a shame considering the performance they have on offer, the GT offering better brakes.

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As a product, there is no denying that the Kawasaki Ninja 650 is the better bike here

Verdict – If you are looking for an outright touring machine, then the Benelli TNT 600 GT comes across as the better option. However, if you are looking at an all-rounder, a motorcycle which can take you touring in comfort, can be ridden in the city with little effort while also put a smile on your face when you hit the nearest valley road, then the Kawasaki Ninja 650 is the motorcycle to buy. Not to forget, at Rs. 53,000/- less, the green machine also offers more bang for the buck, making it our choice in this shootout.

The Benelli TNT 600 GT is the better tourer of the two but the Kawasaki Ninja 650 is the better all-rounder. Both these bikes will munch miles with ease when you head out of town but the Kawasaki will also perform city duties well.

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What? No ABS at this price? Neither bikes even get it as an option

Further Reading –

Benelli TNT 600 GT Review
Kawasaki Ninja 650 Review
Kawasaki Ninja 650 Travelogue

Riders: Hrishi Mandke, Viraj David, Prasad Jadhav, Omkar Jadhav; Picture Editing: Sri Manikanta Achanta