Benelli TNT 600i is one of the brand’s finest fighting machines waiting to launch in India. During our brief date with the 600i, we learnt a lot about the machine, but within the first few minutes of interaction, we began to wish for a second date.
What’s so special about the 600i, on top of our heads, is that the bike does not show too much of attitude. While some, nay, most get turned on seeing some radioactive attitude, it may not be too good for intimacy, which this Benelli specialises in.
Before getting to the crux of this naked street fighter, lets observe the dame in disguise. Benelli TNT 600i has the stance of a soldier. Not a combative one at that, but an elegant one. The kind that has moved up the order. A decorated soldier, like Dr. Watson. Filled with pride and full of potential. Yet quite understated and not way too flashy or frightening. Intimidating in a refined level.
Its face, the headlamp unit, is horizontally split, each part dedicated for high- and low-beam; and two pilot lamps, one on either upper-corner. It is covered by a crown of body coloured cowl, with minimal visor to enable the bike to fit into the common crowd. The cheek sections have ornamental vents, kind of like ear hoops. Indicators, much like ordinary naked bikes in the field, are sleek, and stick out of the bikini fairing, without being embedded into the same or into the tank extensions.
The entire head unit, along with needle-type-tacho dominant digital instrument cluster, is attached to Benelli-made inverted telescopic fork, that mounts (also) Benelli-made disc brake system on either leg.
The (15 litre) fuel tank, complex and muscular, with multi-face wedges, extrudes (not literally) into really solid extensions that not only aid the ride aerodynamically, but also adds aggression.
Then the seats, they are very ergonomic, very supportive during knee-downs and have good amount of hardness. And despite how the pillion’s position looks, Benelli has made sure the twin-canisters pounding under the seat do not heat up the cushion or the grab-rails much. Good shielding there.
And about the exhausts, they have kind of the best note in the company’s entire portfolio, better than a model above it. Exhaust thumps are really racy and exhilarating, of course in higher rev band. In low-range, they are played down, upholding the bike’s gentle nature.
Now, to say about the mill that launches the 600i off ground, it is a sweet, ultra-refined, (in-line) four-cylinder engine with DOHC, that pumps out 82 hp max power and 52 Nm peak torque, at 11,500 rpm and 10,500 rpm respectively. It has a smooth 6-speed gearbox, with gears so tall, one won’t easily be able to hit the red-line in city. When he’s not consciously looking at the tacho, the rev tone may signal that its been so long, lets shift up. But a quick eyeball to the needle will surprise the rider how early it would have actually been to toe-up.
Yet, the bike does not feel so powerless. There is very good torque spread that keeps the rider pretty satisfied throughout the rev-clock. In city, lump of power (at low-range) would anyway be futile, and on a good stretch, revving high will extract and provide all the fun from the drivetrain. In a way, it is nice to feel such an engine-gearbox marriage. Plus, there is thrilling exhaust tune all the while, so there is no loss of enthusiasm.
Also, such everest gearing helps in negotiating winding routes very well. In any demanding situation, thanks to brilliant suspension tune and disciplined throttle response, tactical manoeuvres are a breeze. Sudden speed shed and throttle up is also welcomed even without having to ditch the current cog. Smooth ride quality and superb cornering ability are ensured by grippy Pirelli Angel GT, 120/70 ZR17 upfront and 180/55 ZR17 at the rear.
To summarise in a few lines, Benelli TNT 600i is a very good step up from much lower class of motorcycles, due to admirable refinement and nimbleness. It is a very good all-rounder, would be great for touring as well. Only downside is the braking; teeth are not sharp enough for enthusiasts, otherwise there is no complaint about deceleration.
Also consider Benelli TNT 899 if you are ready to up your game.