Its been a couple of years since Benelli entered the local motorcycle market with its trio of 500cc Parallel Twin bikes, namely the 502c Cruiser, the Leoncino Scrambler and its version of the adventure bike, the TRK500.

While these bikes were warmly received by enthusiasts, they were silently waiting for the 4-banger naked bike. After all, it was featured prominently in the fold out brochure of Benelli that was given out during the launch of the Leoncino Scrambler. Was it some sort of teasing, or just gauging the reaction of the market? Whatever reason, Benelli was listening. The 2020 Benelli TNT600i  is here. And we put it through its paces.

Powertrain

The 2020 Benelli TNT600i is driven by a liquid-cooled, inline four cylinder, with dual camshafts and 4-valve-per-cylinder heads, that yields a claimed 80 hp of power at 11,500 rpm and 55 Nm of torque at 8,500 rpm. Transmission is a 6-speed (1 down, 5-up). Anticipating long trips for the rider, a 15-liter fuel tank adorns the bike.

Naked never looked so good.

The TNT600 frame is a hybrid arrangement of shaped alloy casting and steel tubes done in a trellis design. The engine is used as a stressed member, which makes the frame lightweight and affluently rigid. With an inverted fork in front and a preload-adjustable horizontally mounted mono-shock absorber at the rear. Ride profile is comfortable at 800mm (31.4in) seat height; just right for the average Filipino rider. Color keyed Front fairings, headlight bezel and sport front fender give that aggressive look.

Big Brakes

Providing braking power for this screamer are two 320 mm discs at the front, and a single 260 mm disc at the rear. Road traction is handled by 17-inch rims with ZR rated Pirelli 120 mm (front) and 180 mm tires (rear). Kerb weight is at 223kg, a middleweight if you will. ABS is standard.

LED Gauge

The cockpit is dominated by a single multi-display LED display. The tachometer is shown as LED bars, and the speedometer is digital — as opposed to the preferred analog dial. The background light is interchangeable for readability on both day and night. Riders are well informed of the condition of the TNT600 with a gas gauge, engine temperature and gear indicator.

The Ride.

Taking possession of the Benelli TNT600, one will notice the somewhat low seat height. Compared to other makes, this suits a medium height ride; both feet on the ground during stops, and more importantly, pushing the bike backwards when pulling out of parking is easier.

The sweet sound of the inline-4 is unmistakable. A low pitch rumble at idling will let anyone know that this is a serious machine. Twisting the throttle for that useless but satisfying high-revving sound will definitely put a smile in your face. There’s nothing like the scream of a four banger approaching the redline.

Traffic was the first test. You can feel the engine heat during long traffic stops, but fear not; the auxiliary fan kicks in immediately, liberating the engine from heating. Although the fab is noticeably noisy, it is also a reassuring that everything is working fine.

Clutch effort is the same, no hardening even after extended use. In fact, the clutch lever only needs slight pressure to enable to shift smoothly. This is beneficial when speed shifting, engine revs does not drop, therefore eliminating both engine and shift lag.

Power is felt at the higher rpm band, therefore, spending longer duration on 1st gear. Climbing the hills of San Mateo required more time on first and second gears; which reveals the highway gears of the TNT600. But that doesn’t mean it’s a slouch, it just makes power midrange.

The 15-liter tank is much appreciated, giving confidence on long sojourns without more fuel stops. The ride is also comfy, with an adjustable rear shock. By the way, one notable feature is the horizontally mounted offset rear shock, which is on the right side of the frame as opposed to the traditional middle of the frame location. This makes adjustments easier, no more hand gymnastics and special sized tools required.

Tight turns and banking (on deserted roads) is effortless, stability is felt, giving confidence to the rider. The handlebar is easily turned, not a struggle anymore. The front-leaning orientation of the rider’s torso also helps lower the center of gravity.

Verdict

The Benelli TNT600 is a top choice for the Mid Sized Naked bike category. It fits everything in one package; the aggressive looks, the desirable high pitch 4-piston whine and the budget friendly price. The best part is that there is no need to accessorise the TNT; even the twin elevated mufflers sound menacing. But of course, leave it to the enthusiasts who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of the wild motorbike. The Benelli TNT600 is a great way to achieve your superbike dreams. And at almost half the price of its competitors, that dream just became a easier to reach.

Price as Tested: PHP438,000

Visit Benelli Ortigas and Benelli Cavite to see the Benelli Superbikes up close and personal!

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