Benelli TNT 300, sleek and no holds barred HAVING experience success with the TNT 600 motorcycle globally, Benelli hopes to repeat that feat with its latest offering, the new TNT 300 naked sports machine aimed for the masses – but for Malaysians, that idea may be limited as its engine capacity means those holding a B2 license (up to 250cc) are not eligible to ride it.

This is because the majority of local riders are holders of B2 license for motorcycles, which enable them to ride any 2-wheel machine from 50cc to 250cc. Anything above 250cc requires the rider to possess either a B1 or Full B license. The logical debate is if any rider does possess a B1 or Full B license, he would go for a 500cc than a 300cc bike.

That may be true but the making a 300cc model available is not confined just to Malaysian soil as the market outlook is global, where riding such an engine capacity machine is within the same category as the 250cc type elsewhere. Other manufacturers such as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha already have their 300cc motorcycles in addition to their 250cc version.

Austrian motorcycle maker KTM via its local CKD partner, has been selling the Duke 390 as well as the newly-introduced RC390 locally.

The new Benelli TNT 300 looks like a mixture between an Aprilia Shiver and Kawasaki’s ER-6N, coupled with an engine grunt that sounds similar to a Ducati. And every unit of it is locally assembled in Malaysia for the domestic and export markets.

Engine capacity aside, the Benelli TNT 300 comes with several features that will attract local bikers possessing B1 or Full B license into considering it – inverted telescopic forks, dual disc front brakes and default Pirelli tyres, all these for a sales price of less than RM20,000 w/GST. The price itself is significantly lower than most twin-cylinder 250cc motorcycles in the market, with Yamaha’s new R-25 being the closest in matching it for the price but not on the features.

We collected the Benelli TNT 300 straight from its assembly plant located at Bukit Beruntung Industrial Zone not far from Rawang and rode it back to Kuala Lumpur via the PLUS highway and exited towards Guthrie Corridor, heading towards Glenmarie Industrial Zone and back to the office. It was a nice warm-up ride after the collection but the actual test was yet to come.

For the actual test, we rode it for a 365km-round journey over three States – Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka within five hours including short breaks in-between. The final stop was at Bandar Utama and the ride was originally estimated to last six hours but it was accomplished an hour earlier.

The engine feels good as new even after that long ride, and there was no problem of it overheating nor producing any strange noise thereafter. Unlike its elder sibling, the TNT 300 did not suffer from front cowling buzzing at high speeds. Its overall weight plus the inverted forks and rear shock absorber combined make the TNT 300 ideal for fast cornering on old twisty roads along the way.

However, if you are looking for a faster speed upon exiting from such corners into the straights, the acceleration is quite wanting in this aspect. The various twin-cylinder 250cc bikes from the competitions will be able to outgun the TNT 300 in this aspect but none of them has the rock-steady stability in entering and exiting the corners in higher speeds.

And for a 300cc motorcycle, its fuel consumption is slightly higher than most 250cc – it managed a reasonable 330km distance (averaging 21km per litre) on a 16-litre tank. It is not built for speed but meant for a comfortable ride over long distance and utmost reliability, making it the bike to go for if these two aspects are what you are looking for in a medium capacity motorcycle.

Benelli TNT 300 profile_2   Benelli TNT 300 profile   Benelli TNT 300 rear suspensiion   Benelli TNT 300 wheel and suspension   Benelli TNT 300 top leftBenelli TNT 300 top right   Benelli TNT 300 rear   Benelli TNT 300 fuel tank   Benelli TNT 300 instrument cluster   Benelli TNT 300Benelli TNT 300 on the road

Benelli TNT 300 Specifications:

Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve per cylinder, Inline 2-cylinder
Capacity: 299.8cc
Compression Ratio: 12:1
Transmission: 6-speed
Bore & Stroke: 65 x 45.2mm
Fuel System: Fuel Injection w/two 38mm throttle bodies
Maximum Horsepower: 37hp @11,000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 27 Nm @ 8,000 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 16.5-Litre; 0.5 is reserve
Seat Height: 795mm
Suspensions: Front – 41mm inverted telescopic forks; Rear –
shock absorber with spring preload adjustment
Brakes: Dual 260mm discs (front); Single 240mm disc (rear)
Wet Weight: 183 kg
Sales Price: RM18,990 non-OTR, non-GST, without ABS

Story and images by Philip Chong