India came to know about the monkey bikes when the then ‘Escorts’ group designed and built the Rajdoot GTS (Grand Touring Sports) 175 in the 60s’ and 70s’. It was powered by the stock-in-trade 175cc, single cylinder, air-cooled, two-stroke engine that was borrowed from a Polish motorcycle maker called Cekop. It is also fondly called as ‘Bobby’ which was christened because of the movie it was shown in.
India’s second ‘Monkey’ nearly after half a century is our very own amiably cute and luring Honda Navi. It was an instant hit amongst the youth for its unique design which brought in some fresh air to the otherwise very conventional market of ours. It reigned the segment for quite sometime now but it is time for it to look up. The Italians are coming in to take over the crown. Enter the DSK Benelli TNT 135.
The Benelli was first showcased at the Auto Expo 2016, rumours have it that it is undergoing road tests on Indian soil as we speak.
Heavy styling cues are picked up from its elder sibling, the TNT-25 and contoured it into a modern and youthful looking monkey bike. It sports an aggressive naked sport outlook with sharp and chiselled lines running all across the motorcycle. The bikini fairings and the tank shrouds integrate well together with the tank and the body simply flows into the rear segment.
It boasts a dual-tone saddle and shoddy 12" alloy wheels that makes this a proper Monkey squad. The cynosure of all is the twin-exhaust outlet that jet right below the pillion seat and that screams of Italian flair. The front will sport dual headlamp units – halogen and a strip of projectors which might or might not make it to the Indian model.
The lattice-steel frame is exposed in red and the bike shows it off proudly. A fully digital instrument cluster sits atop the headlamp cowl. The rear gets an all LED treatment with the hazard lights/indicators being sculpted within the rear body panel.
The motorcycle approves the old adage “Size Isn’t Everything” in literal terms. A raunchy 4-valve, oil cooled, 135 cc SOHC, single cylinder motor spins under the belly. It punches a healthy 13 bhp at 9000 rpm and peaks the torque graph at 11 Nm at 7000 rpm. It cranks all this power to the rear through a five-speed transmission.
The power mill is quite refined and the smooth, controllable power bands offer ample amount of fun and thrashing capabilities. The 1 into 2 aluminium exhaust port looks fab and carries a rather hefty catalytic converter making this a Euro 4 certified machine.
|Bore/ Stroke mm||54/58.8|
|Type||ingle cylinder, 4 stroke, air cooled 4 valves, SOHC, double spark|
|Valves per cylinder||4|
|Clutch type||Wet- Multiplate|
The motorcycle features a flat end bar along with footpeg positions suitable for a comfortable upright riding position. The two tone saddle sits at a rather low 780 mm which will accommodate all sizes of riders.
Super strong lattis frame holds the bike like its larger brothers in the Benelli line-up. Suspension duties are handled by USD beefy 41 mm forks at the front and 50 mm rear lateral shock attached to the rear swing with spring pre-load adjustment. ABS gives a miss or could be optional, we hope.
Both wheels get disc braking units with 220 mm and 2 pistons calliper at the front and a single disc 190 mm with single piston calliper at the rear. Aluminum 12” alloys carry fat, sticky tyres that ensures the tiny TNT to handle the roads like a pro.
|Suspension / Front||41 mm Upside-down forks|
|Suspension / Rear||Rear swing arm with lateral shock absorber with spring pre-load adjustment|
|Brakes / Front||Single 220 mm disc. Calliper: Dual piston|
|Brakes / Rear||Single 190 mm disc. Calliper: Single piston|
|Tyres / Front||120/70-ZR12|
|Tyres / Rear||130/70 - ZR12|
Although no official announcements have been made regarding the price and availability, we are speculating Benelli to price the 135 between ₹1.3 to 1.5 lakh only because it will be got into the country through the CKD route and assembled in Wai, Maharashtra.
You can get the TNT in White, Black and Red colour pallets with the exposed red frame.
As of current situations, there is no motorcycle present in the Indian two wheeler industry to match the TNT 135 head to head. The only Monkey motorcycle is the Honda Navi. The Japanese has given us a pocket bike that is light on our pockets as well. But no match to the TNT.
Under the very slim, moped like profile of the Navi is a very familiar powertrain. The Navi sources its power from a four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 109.2cc engine, which already has been doing the duty on all the 110cc scooters of Honda. Mated to a V-matic automatic transmission, the engine is good enough to produce a maximum power output of 8.3 PS and a maximum torque output of 8.96 bhp, figures close to that of the Activa and other scooters of Honda.
This will change the whole dimension of the segment in the country. When it lands, it will be the most powerful Monkey motorcycle and the least powerful Benelli to be offered.
It is constructed mainly to please the young, and new riders looking for some fun and entertaining piece of machinery. It is quite literally the easiest manual motorcycle to ride with ‘advanced suspension, a strong steel frame, alloy wheels with disc brakes, grippy, all-weather tires and racy, naked-bike styling that will have you grinning all day long’.
The sporty ergonomics and race inspired instruments along with a good performance package will make this a highly saughted pocket-bike.