Test riding the Benelli TnT 25
Being the latest, and probably one of the lesser known bike brands, Benelli has its task cut out in India — a market that is already brimming with competitors. Kudos to Benelli, however, for working hard on brand building. Furthermore, a major brand-building exercise usually also requires a diversified product portfolio, which again Benelli has. From a 300-cc twin to a mental 1,130-cc triple, the brand has been catering to a wide clientele. Now the TnT 25, Benelli’s first 250-cc single-cylinder motorcycle, is set to give a fillip to the company’s Indian operations. Here’s what we thought of it.
Visually, the TnT 25 can barely be distinguished from its slightly larger sibling, the TnT 300. Seen head on, in fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at another 300. The obvious difference between the two bikes is the colour scheme, especially the decals that add a bit of raciness to the overall stance of the bike. Once you move to the right side of the bike, you will also notice a matte black upswept end-can in place of the shiny silver underbelly unit of the TnT 300. Get into the saddle, and you’ll also realise that the riding position and the ergonomics are familiar. All in all, everything that was right with the TnT 300 has been retained.
The bike sports the all-new 249.2-cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with 28 PS and 21.6 Nm of peak twist force on tap. Pics/Sanjay Raikar
The biggest difference, however, is the engine. Presenting the all-new 249.2-cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with 28 PS and 21.6 Nm of peak twist force on tap. While the peak power arrives at 9,800 revs, max torque is available at 8,000 RPM. The exhaust note is quite nice…better than the raspy sounds from another set of single-cylinder engines that we have become familiar with.
On the go, the new engine proves itself a strong performer. Power delivery is linear, though not exciting, and there is good grunt throughout the rev range. Although you can get up to fairly high speeds on this bike (we saw just over 130 km/h on the digital speedometer), the TnT 25’s comfort zone is between 100 and 120 km/h. Things stay most relaxed in this range. Twist the throttle hard, and you’ll get some brisk acceleration but it doesn’t come to you in a frenetic manner. If you ride with a sane throttle hand, we expect a near 400-km range as well from its 16.5-litre petrol-tank.
Where the TnT 25 really excels is in the ride quality department. Although the suspension set-up is slightly firmer than the TnT 300’s, the ride quality is still plush enough for Indian road riding purposes. It doesn’t exactly glide over potholes and bumps but it isolates them well enough to keep things comfortable. The TnT 25 is also a lot more agile than its bigger sibling when it comes to handling. It can be flicked easily into turns and it still holds its line well. It isn’t as instinctive as the KTMs when it comes to handling but is capable of holding its own and inspiring confidence in the rider.Braking duties are handled by a single 280-mm disc up front and a 240-mm disc at the rear. Look closely at the front wheel, and you’ll see a mount for a second disc as well, but for now the bike gets just the one rotor at the front. Although the brakes have just about enough bite, they require a hefty tug to get actuated. Besides, there’s little feel of progression.
At the end of a full day’s riding all the way to Lonavala and back to Pune, here’s my take on the Benelli TnT 25. The bike’s nature sits somewhere between the frenetic KTMs and the more relaxed TnT 300. It’ll allow you to cover long distances without much discomfort and, at the same time, will put a smile on your face when you want to have some fun around a bit of smoothly tarmacked twisties. So, yes, Benelli has got a good product that should do well. On the critical issue of pricing, we’d expect a tag below Rs 2 lakh. At that price point it will be a purchase proposition that will be hard to ignore for buyers in that segment.