After an absence of a couple of years, Benelli is back on the Aussie market with a range of motorcycles thanks to Melbourne-based importer FX Powersports, who also looks after the Bimota brand locally. The new TnT R160 looks very similar to the TnT Sport that was previously available. Significantly it’s now a couple of grand cheaper than before at $21,990 on-road.
On the mechanical front, the TnT still sports that angry 1131cc fuel-injected triple, but it now pumps out more power and torque than before – up 15kW to a claimed 116kW (158hp) at 10,200rpm and 3Nm to 120Nm at 8400rpm.
The engine isn’t the most refined thing around – in fact it’s far from it – but it certainly makes more than enough mumbo throughout the rev range. It pulls hard from as low as 3000rpm, has enough midrange that you can be super lazy with the gearbox, and a potent top-end that will match pretty much any other nakedbike on the market.
On the downside, it’s noisy. Pull up on the side of the road and you’ll hear your mates screaming at you to turn it off. Pull in the lever on the dry clutch and the cacophony subsides slightly. But once moving the note improves, and the vibes start to even out.
The engine is mated to a six-speed box with a nice spread of ratios. Top gear sees the tacho on a lazy 4000rpm at 100km/h, but at these revs there’s still plenty of grunt for overtaking without a downshift.
Despite the age of the design, the TnT’s chassis is still up there with the best of the nakedbikes. The front-end with its big 50mm USD Marzocchi fork offers great feel and is seriously confidence inspiring. You can go deep into corners, brake late and tip the thing hard onto its side. It’s even quite compliant on bumpy surfaces. The Sachs shock doesn’t quite match the standard of the front-end, but it offers reasonable compliance and decent control.
Big 320mm floating wave-discs gripped by Brembo Monobloc calipers offer more than enough braking power. The rear brake also offers good power and feel, and the lever is well situated.
The engine gets a little hot and bothered around town, and the heat coming off the side-mounted radiators can be a bit much in heavy traffic on a hot day, but get this angry Italian out of town and it feels much more at home. The instruments are well laid out and easy to read, with an analogue tacho and digital speedo, but do you think I could figure out how to reset the trip? Not on your life.
Despite its competitive pricing, you won’t find the Benelli TnT at the top of the sales charts – this really is a machine that only enthusiasts are likely to buy. But if you’re into angry Italians, then this one fits the bill.