Benelli is almost a century old motorcycle manufacturing company, Once a pioneer in manufacturing shotguns, Benelli commenced operations in the year 1911, making them the oldest Italian motorcycle company. The firm’s colorful journey began as the ‘Benelli Garage’ in 1911, where 6 Benelli brothers Giuseppe, Giovanni, Francesco, Filippo, Domenico and Antonio (also known as Tonino) worked together passionately repairing and manufacturing motorcycles. TNT600i was developed under Benelli’s Chinese owner and it is manufactured in China.
As we tested both TNT600GT and TNT600i on the same day. It was a good opportunity to test both bikes together, as both of them are derived from the same platform. Technically The hybrid steel-aluminum frame, classic tubular steel trellis at the front and the fusion of aluminum are same for both motorcycles.
Built with speed and aggression in mind, TNT600i is a well-designed street fighter motorcycle. The headlight unit will take you back in 90’s street bikes looks or even it will resemble to Suzuki’s Inazuma 250. If we could swap it with those like Benelli 899, it would have been a meaner looking motorcycle. Tank incorporated with semi fairing gives the muscular stance to this motorcycle. At rear twin triangular exhaust sit aside triangular LED tail lamp.
Though there are some who find under-seat exhaust old fashioned, they sit up high, away from the center of gravity and hot muffler just where you sit. Trust me when I say without them this street fighter look is incomplete. They are well insulated, Benelli has made sure rider or the pillion will not be affected by the heat discharge.
So we are down to how it rides. At 800mm, you sit a little bit forward as compared to GT, the comfort is pretty good. There is a good thigh grip with the fibre tank. The fit and finish shows not all made in china products are low on quality.
This motorcycle is powered by similar in-line 4-cylinder 600cc motor as that on TNT600GT which churns out 80.84 HP @ 11,000 RPM and 52Nm of torque at 10,500rpm. At low RPM this motor feels slow, but when you twist throttle, it takes all that mass between your legs to a next level. A Throttle is not that sharp, but it pulls lightly. The next very noticeable aspect of this motorcycle is exhaust note, it growls. The symphony is purely bliss to the ears of inline 4 600cc. Many may find it loud, but for motorcycle enthusiasts, it’s a beautiful whistle. It sounds amazing on a standard can. We wish Benelli should bring performance parts to its lineup too.
The suspension setup consists of Benelli 600i is 50mm upside down forks at front and a 123mm Benelli monoshock at the rear. Braking comes from twin 320mm discs with radial mounted 4 piston calipers at the front and a single 260mm disc with double piston caliper at the rear. Due to its riding position the bike feels very much confident while braking and twisting around corners.
As I mentioned in my GT review, We first headed to Lavasa, through Pune’s traffic and then Lonavala. So technically we tested this vehicle three different condition, a city commuter through traffic, a track and a Tourer.
So how it fairs?
Very well sorted gearbox makes it very easy to cruise in city irrespective of you are haulting at signal or riding in tight traffic, being four cylindered there was no sign of overheating, considering the weather conditions of India, Well done Benelli !!!
With 208 kg kerb weight initially you need to put some efforts to maneuver it through corners, but as soon as you get going, it took twisties of Lavasa very easily. The handling of 600i streetfighter is purely fun due to its balanced mass throughout the bike. It was very easy after a round in Lavasa twisties to flick the bike around corner and attacking it at higher and higher speeds. The handling and stability just keep increasing the more you ride this bike.
On a highway with the perfect riding position you can cover miles and miles with comfort, without hurting your back or butt. A small fly screen would have provided better cover from windblast, but it would have killed the looks of the streetfighter bike.
Last but not the least things didn’t impress me about TNT600i, clutch I have a big complaint again, as I mentioned it in GT review and again mentioning it here, it just feels clumsy and bit hard.
Overall Benelli TNT600i is a versatile motorcycle, you can use this motorcycle to go to the office as well as for a weekend spin around the city. The question is do you really need a 1000cc+ bike on Indian roads? As 1000cc bikes are a bit powerfull for Indian roads, plus the frustration you feel when stuck in traffic.
Four cylinder motorcycles have always been a topic of curiosity, especially for the Indian auto enthusiast. Considering its pricing worldwide, looks like DSK is going to price it very aggressively, in bracket of 4.5 to 5.50 lakh INR. TNT600i can prove to be the most affordable yet practical inline-four pocket rocket in India.
Thanks to Anis Shaikh and Arjun Dhawale for beautiful imagery.