Ever since the KTM Duke 200 came into the picture, the rules of performance motorcycling in India have been re-written. Thanks to the oodles of performance and style it packs in an accessible and affordable package, the Duke 200 became an instant hit. Now, Italian-cum-Chinese brand Benelli wants to grab its share of enthusiasm generated by the Duke 200 in the quarter liter segment.
Along with the TNT 300 with which it is marking its foray into the Indian market, Benelli will also launch the TNT 25 at a later stage in India. Based on the TNT 300, the TNT 25 carries a lot of essence of the former, but in a scaled down package. The motorcycle promises to be one pocket rocket, which not only intends to establish Benelli in the mass market segment, but also aims to become the first proper competitor to the Duke 200. Will the TNT 25 be able to conquer its tall aspirations? Here’s a quick review of Benelli’s most affordable motorcycle internationally - TNT 25
Click past jump to learn more about the Benelli TNT 25
As said before, the TNT 25 will be based on the TNT 300. But that doesn’t mean that the former will be a complete replica of the latter in terms of aesthetics - something which is in the case of Duke 200 and Duke 390. There are a lot of noticeable changes, which draw a substantial line between the TNT 25 and TNT 300.
The front headlamp on the TNT 25, however, is shared by the TNT 300, which though being large and functional looks like a plain-jane face. The main headlamp is assisted with a pilot lamp below it and a small tinted visor below it, which completes the front fascia of the TNT 25.
On moving sideways, changes between the TNT 25 and TNT 300 start becoming prominent, with the curvaceous fuel tank of the latter being replaced by a rakish and angular fuel tank. The design, though, strongly reminds you of that of the Duke 200. The large belly pan below the engine and a mildly exposed red trellis frame further accentuates the hooligan appeal of the TNT 25.
Unlike the stubby exhaust can of the TNT 300, the exhaust pipe on the TNT 25 is a longer unit. The rear side body panels too are a bit different, which make the bike look shorter and more muscular than the TNT 300 from rear. At the back, there exists a small LED tail lamp which has been shared from the TNT 300 again.
One more component which has been shared between both the bikes is the instrument console, which has a simple yet comprehensive approach in its design. The console includes an LCD screen which displays digital readouts for speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer, two trip meters and a clock, which is then further assisted with an analof tachometer. The basic tell tale lamps are positioned on the left hand side of the console.
Overall, the TNT 25 manages to appear as a best of both worlds, carrying both the aggressive as well as understated design language together effectively - something which will definitely appeal to mature set of motorcyclists.
Unlike the twin-cylinder 302cc engine on the TNT 300, Benelli has equipped the TNT 25 with a lesser powerful liquid-cooled, single cylinder 251cc engine. But losing out on one cylinder doesn’t make the TNT 25 any lesser animal-ish, the engine is healthy enough to pump out 24.5 bhp of power and 21 Nm of torque.
The engine is coupled to a six-speed gearbox with shorter throws for instantaneous acceleration. Tipping the weighing scales at 150 kgs, the TNT 25 promises to deliver some impressive performance numbers on the go.
It’s not only the department of engine which has gone under scrutiny for the development of TNT 25 on the lines of TNT 300. The suspension and brakes too have been toned down to keep the costs in check. Though the front inverted telescopic forks have been retained, the side-mounted rear monoshock of the TNT 300 has been replaced with a conventional center mounted monoshock at the rear.
In the case of brakes too, instead of getting twin discs at front like the TNT 300, the TNT 25 gets a single disc at front, while the rear continues to get a single disc brake. The 17-inch alloy wheels too get a lower profile rubber as compared to that of the TNT 300.
The TNT 25 will be the first motorcycle which Benelli will be producing at a later stage in 2015. Given its local assembly in India through the CKD route with the parts sourced from China, the TNT 25 is expected to get a price tag in the range of Rs. 1.6-1.8 lakh. The motorcycle will be launched only in one variant sans the ABS.
As mentioned above, the most evident competitor which will make the going for Benelli TNT 25 tougher and uneasy is KTM’s Duke 200. Both these motorcycles seem to mirror each other on a number of fronts, though differ on lot aspects. Where the Duke 200 intends to be outrageous, the TNT 25 manages to stay in the safe zone of delivering a subtle feel with enough amount of adrenaline when needed.
The performance outputs of both the motorcycles are somewhat similar, delivering nearly identical power and torque outputs. The Duke 200 scores on the aspects of instantaneous performance and hardware, but only marginally. And where the TNT 25 edges out the Duke 200 by a wafer thin margin is the comfort level owing to its lesser stiff suspension, which thus enables the bike to be a more comfortable machine on a daily usage basis.
The Benelli TNT 25 is one perfect recipe in the quarter liter streetfighter segment. It looks the part, the hardware justifies the bike of this persona and delivers a more real-world performance with a perfect balance of power and comfort. It may not have the frenzy appeal of the Duke 200, but that’s what makes it special and more tractable. It may be the lowest priced model of Benelli in India, but in terms of sheer fun factor, it is no short of its stablemates as well as competitors.