Benelli TNT 300 vs Ninja 300 Comparison Review

Benelli TNT 300 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

The TNT 300 is a muscular looking street naked bike whereas the Kawasaki Ninja is a mini super sport fully-faired bike. So, why should we compare these two? Because – they have one common feature, i.e. the the engine layout – they both are parallel twins and are both of the same capacity- 300cc.

Benelli TNT 300: Priced low comparatively, bigger fuel tank, best cushioned seat, upright posture, awesome engine sound, wider tires, adjustable front and rear suspensions
Kawasaki Ninja 300: Bigger fuel tank, awesome handling, good acceleration, great styling, light weight, better maneuverability

Benelli TNT 300: Heavy machine, sluggish engine performance, braking not up-to the mark, engine cylinder block integrated with engine crank case, high cost of ownership, less dealers across India
Kawasaki Ninja 300: Lost of plastic exterior parts, less comfortable seats, thinner section tires, high cost of ownership, spares unavailability

Styling and features:
The TNT 300 is a pure naked bike and is designed quite proportionately according to us. The big sculpted tank gives it a macho look, beefy front forks (UpSideDowns); fatter tires do give it a big bike feel. The trellis frame gives the bike more sex-appeal in a true Italian style. The Ninja on the other hand has aerodynamic full fairing and oh-so-sexy twin headlamps like the Ninja 6R. The green colored bike also looks proportionate, though we wouldn't have liked fatter rims and tyres. The front –forks aren’t USD, which should have been included considering the price of the bike. Ninja is quite sharp and aggressive overall, while the Benelli does with more ease when looked in profile. Ninja’s shoes are also somewhat narrower than the Benelli’s, but this allows for more tractability on a set of twisties.
Benelli TNT 300 Speedo cluster
TNT 300 front headlamp is quite sharp in design is a two unit- upper part for low beam and the lower section for high beam- 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 Ninja does have the twin headlamp advantage and they look so similar to its bigger siblings Ninja 6R, 10R alike! The brightness is superb from both the headlamps though.
                                    The instrumentation on the TNT 300 is analogue-digital combination and would be quite basic in this class. The Ninja 300 has a gorgeous display in analogue-digital combo. However, we found it somewhat cluttered as there are many tell-tell lights placed very close by. However, the tacho is simply amazing which is seen while red-lining the Ninja!
Kawasaki Ninja 300 Speedo cluster
                                 What the Ninja 300 does have is lighter alloy wheels than the TNT 300. And we especially liked the Ninja 300’s wheels more than the TNT 300s – designed simple and also light weighted! Benelli has provided the TNT 300 with dual 260 mm petal discs at the front and a single pot 240 mm petal disc at the rear. The Ninja has one large – 290 mm petal disc at front and 220 mm petal at the rear. Both the bikes do not come with ABS- even as an option.

             TNT 300 has an offset mono-shock, with red springs, whereas the Ninja does with a unit linked mono-shock which isn’t visible from the side.
Both the bikes feature a 17 litre tank and are quite bigger than the ‘other’ performance machines out there in the country in the same league.

The TNT 300 has a underbelly exhaust whereas the Ninja has one protruding outside as in the case of normal bikes, from the right side. The exhaust has a very well-finished steel plate on it, accentuating the looks of the bike. The paint quality on both the bikes is superb and a special mention about the Ninja here, being, if you ever want to buy a Ninja, buy it in the Ninja green, nothing else gives it justice!

Performance & tractability:
TNT 300 is powered by a twin cylinder 300 cc engine making a total power of 38.5 bhp @ 11,500 rpm and a torque figure of 27 Nm @ 9000 rpm. The engine layout is massive and the overall engine weighs the most part of the bike. Push 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 aren’t any hammerhead sounds either coming from it. The clutch is neither hard nor soft. Slot into the first 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. 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.

The Ninja has a parallel twin cylinder 300cc engine producing 39 bhp @ 11000 rpm and 27 Nm of torque @10,000 rpm. The Ninja too has a very refined engine and the engine cranking is also very smooth. The sweet tune of the Ninja can be felt once on the move, as soon as you use the light clutch to change gears. The engine is high-revving and can rev till the redline in a jiffy. The Ninja is clearly more eager to go ahead than the TNT 300, thanks to its 24 kg less weight than the Italian. The Ninja quickly climbs up the revs and you hit 0-100 in around 6.5 secs, almost 3 whole seconds faster than the TNT 300. The Ninja 300 is track breed machine and this performance is surely expected from it. 

Both the bikes have good exhaust notes, Ninja making a sweet tune whereas the Benelli making a loud bassy note of an in-line 4 bike. Both good in their own way!

The Ninja 300 goes on to register a speedo indicated top-speed of around 185 kmph, whereas TNT 300 achieves around 180 kmph on the console taking a whole lot of time than the Kwacker, thanks to its weight. The Ninja is high-revving machine and is easily first in 0-60, 0-100 and even to the top speed. Kawasaki’s race engineering is imbibed in this entry level sports bike too, and it shows!
One more thing to notice here is the Ninja 300 has been given the Slipper clutch which aids in extracting the best of track handling without having to worry about downshifting from a high speed before the apex. Simply Superb! The TNT 300 doesn’t have this privilege and does with a normal clutch layout.

However, we find the Kawasaki’s engine to be more refined than the Benelli’s. The Benelli's is somewhat sedate when compared to the Kawasaki’s high revving motor which keeps exciting from the word GO. The TNT 300 comes in its own post the 5k RPM mark though and then on, the loud exhaust notes make you push the bike and keep her in the power band.

Ride & Handling:
The TNT 300 is a naked sports tourer bike and has the handlebar quite up. Thus, this bike is best suited for everyday rides and long distance travel. The Ninja on the other hand gives the rider a somewhat sporty clip-ons which however don’t require the rider to crouch too low as other sports bikes currently available in India.

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 leave its line while applying both the brakes simultaneously at a speed of 70 kmph till the rubber is new. The brakes are not sharp and enough bite is not felt at times thanks to its weight. The fatter Pirelli rubbers do their job pretty well and give the rider enough confidence through corners. The bike also has tendency to touch (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, the 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.

The Ninja on the other hand, has slimmer tyres and hence make up for good directional changes whenever required. Ninja 300 has a single petal disc brake (290 mm) in the front and a smaller 220 mm petal disc brake at the rear. The newer bike (2017 special edition) also boasts of having ABS. Hence, from the safety aspect, the Ninja scores high over the Italian. The Ninja also inherits its track traits from its elder siblings and that shows clearly on track and twisties around the mountains. A seasoned rider would be able to extract all the handling prowess that the Ninja has to offer. The Ninja cuts through the corners just as a hot knife through butter. The responses are lightning fast and you can be a local “Rossi” easily. It’s that easy to handle! The reason for this is the light but firm front suspension and the rear unit linked suspension.

Fuel Efficiency:
The TNT 300 gives a fuel efficiency of 34-36 kmpl overall whereas the Ninja 300 delivers around 28-32 kmpl. It totally depends how and where you ride the bike as in worst conditions both bikes can reach as low as 22 kmpl as well.

Comfort & Ergonomics: 

One thing that hampers the performance of the TNT 300 is its naked styling, whereas the Ninja enjoys an aerodynamic fairing giving it more advantage to extract the juices out of its engine. Though the setup on the Benelli 300 is made for a relaxed seating position for the rider; the rider isn’t crouched on the handlebars. The TNT 300’s seat is a single piece and one of the best in class for comfort- both for the rider as well as the pillion. The foot-pegs though are somewhat rear set but not too much. 

            On Kawasaki the footpegs are rear set though. Overall the position is quite sporty but we are unsure of the rider being at ease even after 200 kms of ride. The bike behaves absolutely outstanding on any given set of roads. However, as the suspension is firm along with a hard seat, long distance travelling isn’t the actual forte of this Kwacker. The Ninja does with a split seat setup. Both the cushions being on the firmer side. But for long tours, we suggest you get extra padding from a cushion maker.  However works in the favor of track racing in the Ninja. The bike however comes with bungee hooks under the rear seat, giving the tourers some access to attach their luggage.

    TNT 300s handlebar is single piece too and the mirrors give a lot of visibility of what you have left behind.  The Ninja 300 has a clip-on handlebar and aids in better handling. The clip-ons are not too low, giving the Ninja 300 some brownie points in long distance touring.

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The Benelli TNT 300 is one of the best entry level twin cylinder performance bike which is capable of doing long tours and making one helluva noise while doing that. The bike has lots of suspension customization's to its virtue, a bigger capacity tank, appropriately cushioned seat, fatter tyres, excellent illumination at night, 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. I would buy one for all the above reasons, but then, most of all, for the intoxicating exhaust note!!

But if you want to do faster laps on tracks as well as reach the destination way ahead, then the Ninja is the bike you should be looking to buy. Its sharp, nimble, has great handling, sounds sweet, has the Ninja lineage and looks so damn good, that she can hardly get unnoticed in that trademark Kawasaki green!
But it’s not always about reaching the destination first; it sometimes is also about the journey reaching the destination in comfort. Hence, here is where the TNT 300 shines. So, it’s up-to you what kind of rider you are and what kind of rides you think you will be doing in the future. The Ninja is also almost 60-65 thousand more than the TNT. A tough choice to make! 

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