Benelli TNT 300 Ownership Review

Benelli TNT 300 Ownership Review




Pros: Best exhaust note ever from quarter litre bike, ride comfort, adjustable front and rear suspension, initial cost, low end torque, bigger tank

Cons: Spares availability, slow revving engine, high kerb weight, high cost of ownership, ground clearance, service cost, engine block is integrated with crank case
                       
  The Benelli TNT 300 was launched in India, somewhere around Jan 2015. As, everybody knows this company is basically from Italy, however the manufacturing has been shifted to Qianjiang Group, China. The bike is brought via the CKD route to India and being assembled in Wai, near Pune, and will be soon moved to new manufacturing facility at Chakan. Pune, is already a destination of choice for a number of automobile manufacturers already. DSK partnering up with Benelli and assembling their bikes in Pune has only increased it's oomph factor, amongst Pune's numerous bike enthusiasts.

Let’s get down to business now. The TNT 300 is for the people who are in a sense more attracted to the aural drama, rather than the actual performance of a bike. That being said, it doesn’t mean that this 196kg (dry weight) entry level performance bike lacks the power or punch, so as to say. Only thing is that you need to wring the throttle pretty hard to extract the juices out of the 300cc, 38bhp motor.

Performance and Tractability:
The bike is powered by a twin cylinder 300 cc engine making a total power of 38.5bhp @ 11,500rpm and a torque figure of 27Nm @9000rpm. The engine layout is massive and the overall engine weighs the most part of the bike. Push start the starter and the bike comes alive into its life and idles at a thrum. The refinement levels are way high here as compared to the rivals. There isn’t any hammerhead sounds either coming from it. The clutch is neither hard nor soft. Slot into the first (yes, there’s a sound once you slot it as in the bigger bikes do in first gear) and releasing the clutch eases the bike gently ahead. The way it leaves you wanting to change the gears, is only due to the fact that the silencer makes one of the best sounds, through the gears. Second look is guaranteed everywhere- on the streets, in your apartment parking, office parking – absolutely everywhere. 
Engine crank case of the TNT 300
                                        The engine is so refined that you don’t want to rip apart from the 1st gear itself. 0-100 figures are under 10 seconds – 8.5 seconds roughly, given the heavy weight of this bike. But, as I said earlier in the review, it’s a bike for people who prefer the sound as their first factor in a bike over everything else. The performance figures aren’t heart breaking though. The beauty lies in moving the bike ahead progressively & gently while making an inline-4 cylinder noise from the exhaust. This however doesn’t mean that the bike doesn’t behave in power mode if given the stick. All you have to do is to keep it in a power band (above 5k is her fav place). This isn’t a wheelie machine though given a proper stunter, this bike can be worked out to get you one (and all this while, making a vroom sound). Gearing is short. A longer 5th& 6th would have translated this bike into a proper tourer. The bike doesn’t feel short of breath post you slot her into 6th though. There is ample torque to keep you going(26.5Nm) and triple digit speeds is where you would cruise at ease on the highways. The bike climbed to 150kmph and then till 170kmph and in doing so on the speedo, it made a bassy note through the silencer. 
Benelli TNT 300 performing top speed

The weight turns out to be a positive factor in this case as the bike is rock steady and stable at these speeds. There are some vibes creeping in at around 135kmph but then it’s obvious. The negative side you ask- is ofcourse the wind blast in your face and chest. You hav to crouch down but if you have luggage attached to your tank, this might not be possible. Remedy? Get a transparent fairing above the bikini fairing. Should help you in such situations. The way this bike zooms ahead is amazing accompanied by the bass sound it produces while doing so. Some people might even think that you are riding a bigger inline-4 cylinder bike. There are aftermarket silencers available for the TNT, one at 14,000 INR and other around 22,000 INR. They are said to increase the power as well as the sound of this beast.
The bike returns a fuel efficiency of around 30kmpl keeping the right wrist under control and doing occasional blasts once you get enough room on the road. The efficiency is bound to go down towards 25ish given some stick. However, once you start enjoying the sound, you don’t care about the efficiency. She’s that exciting.

Styling & features:
The TNT is a naked bike which has some really interesting cuts and creases. The front headlamp is quite sharpin design is a two unit- upper part for low beam and the lower section for high beam(yes , you read that correctly) Sharp - is also the smallest bikini fairing covering the ana-digi speedo and so are the triangular RVMs. The RearViewMirrors do their job nicely and are quite outwards to give a better view.  The beefy 41mm front UpSideDown forks(finished in not-so-glossy silver) just emphasize that it’s a bigg bike. The tyres upfront (120/70X17) and rear(160/70X17) do justice to the overall proportion of the bike. More about their performance in later part. The bike gets dual front discs (260mm each) and a rear disc(single caliper 240mm). The massive 17liter tank is a boon for long distance touring. It’s made of steel so you could easily attach your magnet based tank bags to it, no need to attach unnecessary straps around the tank. The bike is held by an exposed trellis frame and boy, it looks gorgeous for the black and white colored versions (as the frame is painted red for Black & white bikes but black for red bikes, in India). Color quality is top notch and the finish is simply superb. The handlebar is pretty fat one at that; the paint of the handlebar is also pretty good and finished in matt metallic silver. 
                               And on the right is – well, an offset monoshock, with red springs. The swingarm is split into two from the engine side and merges neatly towards the end of the bike; again, the paint quality is amazing on this one too. The seat is a single piece unit and is well padded. It even has Benelli inscribed on it and finished with red stitching. Awesome! Actually, the Benelli branding is almost everywhere – the tank, the disc brake calipers, the mirrors, and even the clutch lever rubber covering!  The grab rails also have matt black finish and are rightly placed below the pillion rider’s seat at a good distance. The tail lamp is consisting of 7 LEDs, 3 of which are in the upper part. The visibility of the tail lamp is quite good from a long distance. 
LED tail lamp on the TNT 300

The tail tidy is also quite good and holds the number plate as well as the twin 3 LED indicators at the rear. The rims are finished in dark shade of grey. The silencer is placed below the bike and is actually a cuboid of steel before emerging via I small opening finished in glossy steel (More about the sound later).

Ride & Handling:
The TNT is a naked bike and has the handlebar quite up. The setup makes for a relaxed seating position for the rider, the rider isn’t crouched on the handlebars. The foot-pegs though are somewhat rear set but not too much. Thus, this bike is best suited for everyday rides and long distance travel
The braking duties on the TNT 300 are done by twin petal discs up front and a single pot disc at the rear. The bike doesn’t wallow or leave its line while applying both the brakes simultaneously at a speed of 70 kmph. The brakes are not sharp and does not have enough bite to assure you that you will stop in time, you need to be be more conscious and get used to the brakes. The fatter Pirelli rubbers do their job pretty well and give the rider enough confidence through corners. The bike is heavy and newer riders would require time to put it through its paces. As the throttle response isn’t sharp, riders should be aware of the speed they are carrying through a corner. The left handers would be easy however, when you tip the bike on the right side, the silencer of the bike scraps the tarmac. A heavy rider of a softer suspension would adverse this situation. The bike also has tendency to scrape (the silencer) the tarmac on every speed breaker if it’s high enough. Riders should be very careful about the same. The rear suspension is adjustable so a rider can twist the small dial to make the ride stiff or soft depending upon the type of riding he/she is going to do.
Adjustable rear suspension

The seat cushioning is so perfect that you wouldn’t think of any other bike in this class to do a long distance trip – both, for the rider as well as the pillion.
The front brakes levers are adjustable too just like the bigger bikes out there. 
Adjustable brake lever

There are total 4 clicks to which you can tune the front brake leverage. However the brake lever adjustments doesn't make a great convenience due to lack of precise design of the lever mechanism.  The front USD setup is also adjustable and resembles Kawasaki Ninja 10R’s setup. With so many customization one can really enjoy each ride on the Benelli TNT 300.
           The bike has lots of suspension customization to its virtue, appropriately cushioned seat, fatter tyres, relaxed seating position. It’s made for a more matured rider who doesn’t always want to go fast. It’s a machine made for everyday office rides, weekend rides and also long rides.The bike does weigh a lot and also lacks ABS as a safety feature.

Benelli TNT 300 riding poster
Reliability & After Sales Service: 
The company also has less number of service centres in India, but claims to add new showrooms and service centres in 8 cities in coming year. The cost of the spare parts is also on the higher side and may be cut you pockets deep in some of the regular spares needed. The quality however, is plush and does justice to the cost associated with them. You can carry basic spares with yourself if you are travelling for a long distance and also need to know the “How to’s” from the service centre mechanics before you head out. As, many of the road side mechanics won’t touch your bike should you have a breakdown. The company however gives you Free Road Side Assistance for a distance of 200 kms though. Anything more than that would cost you the fare for the difference in the distance after 200kms. 
That said, and DSK head, Sirish Kulkarni has already stated that they would be increasing the number of showrooms and service centres across India making it more accessible for the people, who want to own such beauties without the need to worry about the after sales service.

Verdict:
There is no better way to say this; the Benelli TNT 300 is one of the best entry level twin cylinder performance bikes which is capable of doing long tours and making one helluva noise while doing that. I would buy one for all the above reasons, but then, most of all, for the intoxicating exhaust note!! If you are not a track loving guy then this is the bike.


Benelli Logo branding on the Rear brake calipers

Benelli Branding on the hand stitched seat like finish 
Benelli TNT 300 Speedo dial

Benelli Branding on the Clutch lever rubber


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