A rockstar from the cradle of superbikes

GRANDE! After taming the Benelli TNT 600i, DH Wheel's two test-riders say the formidable bike, with its 16-valve, 600 cc engine, breathes everything I

A rockstar from the cradle of superbikes

It’s a beautiful morning in Bengaluru, made even more alluring by the red machine that we have at our disposal for around four hours. It is massive by every stretch of imagination, towering at a height of 2,150 mm, stretching to a length of 1,280 mm, and settling at a width of 840 mm. The naked motorcycle breathes everything Italian and goes by the name of Benelli TNT 600i.

In recent times, media has been celebrating the arrival of many superbikes and premium roadsters in the Indian market, roaring their way to garner their own niche. The slew of new machines that are on offer, and the taste for the feverish adrenaline rush and the need to propel to higher speeds and quicker gear shifts, have only kept the global motorcycle legends welcome in the country.

But there’s a world of difference between reading about Italian superbikes, and having one in your possession to ride as you please, and tease the machine to bring out its best. Italy can surely be regarded as the cradle of the superbike, where many a maker has successfully etched its wondrous name in the annals of biking glory and heritage. Crafted with intricate aesthetics and built for sheer power, Italian motorcycles are yearned for by their ardent devotees. Benelli came to India with many machines on offer, and that typical Italian promise of a world-class motorcycle. Sold in partnership with DSK Motowheels, Benelli with its Italian DNA claims to pack in the same punch as its cohorts from that country.

Formidable appearance
Getting to ride the Benelli TNT 600i through traffic and then testing its limits on open road, gave us a feel of what an Italian motorcycle is really capable of. The TNT 600i’s bodyworks are composed on a rather simplistic, yet robust platform. Its forward tank extensions — a design feature seeming to be employed across models — and its high gait make the bike appear quite formidable, even for a 600 cc machine. The TNT 600i’s design features include an exhaust mounted beneath the tail section, and a large muscular fuel tank, on which sits proudly the stamp of Benelli, and an attractively-styled headlamp. When we first took the bike to Lalbagh for a morning photoshoot, it quickly drew the adoring eyes of curious onlookers on its chiselled body, with many of them shooting questions about its features and pricing.

A feature that gets a big score is the comfortable split seats, which cozy you up the moment you mount the bike. The high rear seat allows a good view of the road ahead, and enables the pillion rider to be a part of the cruise. 

The bike is ready for its test. With the two of us astride, the Benelli TNT 600i’s destination is the wide, open NICE Road, Bengaluru, where the best of the meanest machines may be tested. As usual, the route between Lalbagh and NICE Road  is dogged with mammoth traffic snarls. A challenge you may think, for a superbike? But wait till the Benelli opens up!

The gallop of a stallion
The TNT 600i motorcycle is composed of an inline four-cylinder, four-stroke, DOHC, water-cooled engine. The power of the 16-valve, 600 cc engine becomes evident the moment the first gear is applied. The bike takes off like a stallion galloping around a racecourse. Of course, the ride requires controlled handling in traffic, with moderate amounts of speed.
For all its heft, the TNT 600i is surprisingly able to negotiate effortlessly around the irritation whenever we encountered any slowdowns on the road. We could leave it all behind, still maintaining an even momentum of 60-80 kmph, all in the first gear.

We reach the NICE Road and waste no time in increasing the revvs. Dressed as knights in shining armour from head-to-toe, following the norm while riding such power machines, we are quick to begin accelerating. Posturing ourselves in tandem with the aerodynamic requirements while cutting through the air, the bike is already cruising at high speed. At first gear, the speed has raced past 100 kmph, all in a few split seconds. The crimson-lit instrument cluster provides riders with every bit of relevant information, and is legible even while the bike is roaring ahead faster and faster.

Smooth as silk transmission
The bike’s engine can dish out a power of 85.07 Bhp @ 11,500 rpm at a steady torque of 54.6 Nm @ 10,500 rpm. The six-speed constant mesh transmission system works as smooth as butter, and the task of riding is suddenly transformed into a charm.

A wide road sans any ditch or pothole is the perfect playing field for the TNT 600i. But a rougher patch little deters the determined bike, for it makes mincemeat of the blemish. With a ground clearance of 150 mm and wheelbase of 1,470 mm, the TNT 600i, can  glide for sure.

On the NICE Road, we experience the full range of the bike’s design and feel. The bike stays stable while turning at deep bends, reaching up to speeds as high as 240 kmph. Even the pillion rider can be king on the bike, thanks to the safe hydraulic disc brakes, ably aided by the inverted fork telescopic front suspension and the hydraulic mono-shock absorber rear suspension.

Like all Benelli bikes, the TNT 600i lacks an ABS system. Some theorise that this might serve as a differentiator for a superbike in a market dominated by products with this feature (often marketed as a safety requirement). It is suggested that the choice made by Benelli puts the rider in better control of the machine and its manoeuvrability.

With a sizeable 16-litre tank, the TNT 600i, if ridden in a controlled manner, dishes out a fuel efficiency of over 20 kmpl, which is quite good for a bike in this segment. Besides, it also sells at a competitive price of Rs 5,24,000 (ex-showroom Bengaluru), and is available in three colours.

The great Roman general Julius Caesar had once famously declared, “Veni, vidi, vici...!” It’s true even in the case of this Italian that once on it, you cannot help but say, “I came, I saw, I conquered...!” This superbike could conquer the road, just as it has our hearts.

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