There is this thing about us motorcyclists, no matter how old we are (or huge, in my case), you show us a new bike and we will jump like toddlers on balloon castles, we are just like that, highly enthusiastic bunch of men finding it hard to behave our age around motorcycles.
Needless to say it then, when I got a chance to ride the Benelli TNT 300 around Bangalore I jumped to grab it. The occasion was DSK Benelli celebrating 100 bike retails in just 90 Days from their Bangalore dealership making Benelli the fastest growing Premium motorcycle brand in India, an outstanding achievement considering, Benelli has been largely an unknown manufacturer for the Indian masses as compared to its other iconic Italian counterparts. For the same, DSK-Benelli had organized a ride from Bangalore to Kalor, a ride of around 70 km one side ending at a rather well looking mid way which seems to be a riders spot for riders enjoying weekend rides.
The first thing you notice astride the TNT is its compact dimensions, the bike is thin at the tank sections where the rider knee recesses are present while the rest of the tank bulges enough to accommodate its 16 liter fuel capacity, Benelli has been smart in giving the TNT 300 with such a fuel tank capacity, making it a very suitable city bike you can also tour on.
I got a chance to ride a 'Verde' shade (Green - Flamboyant Green, for the less Italian, I guess) and the colour did justice to the TNT 300, making it look striking, sporty and Premium at the same time. The things start getting special the moment you are handed the keys of the bike, the way Benelli has designed it, instantly make you feel that you are going to ride a special bike. Thump the starter and the inline twin settles into a nice sounding burble at idle, which is a treat to the ears.
Slot into the first, the gear shift feels smooth yet solid and the bike pulls away at a brisk pace in the first 3 gears, the acceleration is not as frantic as, say the Duke 390 but it is still a tastefully fast bike. However, once passed the 5000-5500rpm mark, the bike is transformed into a spiritedly fast accelerating thing on two wheels, combine that with a beautiful exhaust note the TNT 300 sings during acceleration makes riding this bike a special experience.
The bike is not exactly very smooth, and vibration does creep in during acceleration, while anything above 4000rpm produces a slight vibration on the handle bars which are never bothering but are always there, if you are like me who wouldn't mind some roughness in the way a bike does the things it can, then you might actually like the character of the TNT 300. The bike seemed to be giving a decent fuel economy after the ride, we did around 150-160 kms and the fuel gauge was still showing around 60-65% fuel remaining, considering we left with full fuel tank, it was a promising sign. However, the bar gauge for fuel levels are notorious to have a mind of their own and thus we will refrain ourselves from commenting on fuel efficiency figures till we actually get to road test it properly.
Overall, the TNT 300 promises to be a brilliant product in the sub 400cc segment as it might have a wider spectrum of compatibilities than a few of its rivals, however, like I said, more can only be understood about the bike once we get a chance to road test it thoroughly, and we hope it will be sooner than later.
But then, it is not the end of the story, On my way back from the ride I exchanged my TNT 300 for another Benelli, the 600 GT!! and that is a story for another day....
Ride Safe and wait for our first ride review of the Benelli TNT 600GT which will be up soon!