Saturday, September 13, 2008

Benelli TNT 899S riding impression

The Benelli TNT 899S. Exotic styling, 120bhp three-cylinder engine and proper handling. Sorted!
Pics: Motociclismo

Benelli took their standard TNT 899 and bolted on a fully adjustable 43mm USD fork, a two-piece seat, and carbonfibre front mudguard and side-panels. Then they painted the bike orange, and lo!, the TNT 899S was born.

Powered by Benelli’s 899cc, 12-valve, DOHC triple that makes a claimed 120bhp at 9,500rpm and 88Nm of torque at 8,000 revs, the TNT 899S is a bit more affordable than the TNT 1130, but looks every bit as exotic. Motociclismo recently tested the bike, and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about it:

We wonder what the ‘TNT’ in Benelli TNT 899S stands for. Tornado Naked Tre? Or is it TNT, the explosive? Despite having a smaller engine than the 1130, the 899S packs amazing performance. Twisting the throttle is like the lighting the fuse on a detonator – it’s an explosion of sheer exhilaration.

Despite their ‘naked’ design and high handlebars, Benelli TNT bikes are explosive sportsbikes. Benelli developed the 899 to offer a bike that would be more affordable than the 1130, but the bike’s character hasn’t changed much and the aggressive design remains the same. It’s still a proper streetfighter all right…

It's bit cheaper than the TNT 1130, but the 899S is almost as hard-edged

To ride, the 899S is smooth and balanced – more refined than its bigger cousin. The three-cylinder engine sounds terrific and is very responsive, though power delivery is softer than that on the TNT 1130. With a claimed 120bhp on tap, performance is never lacking. The six-speed gearbox is slick and accurate, and the bike’s ergonomics are outstanding.

In terms of handling, the TNT 899S, like the 1130, feels firm and composed – it corners with remarkable aplomb. With a dry weight of around 200 kilos, the 899 also feels more agile than the bigger TNT and changes direction even more quickly. While exiting fast bends, you can really wind open the throttle and the bike accelerates hard, without ever threatening to lose traction.

The 899S suspension is quite firm, which feels good on smooth tarmac, but can be a bit uncomfortable on the rough stuff. The brakes are all right, though the rear has a tendency to lock up a bit too soon.

Overall, the Benelli TNT 899S offers optimum performance, versatility and great character, at a price that... could have been a bit lower! It’s still almost reasonable though, and the motorcycle, after all, is a strikingly cool Italian machine.

Full test report on Motociclismo here

Also see:
First pics: 2009 Yamaha XJ6 Diversion and Yamaha FZ6R
2009 Honda Fireblade gets C-ABS!
First pics: 2009 KTM Supermoto 990R...
2009 Yamaha V-Max riding impression...
MV Agusta F4 1078RR 312 riding impression...
Bimota DB7: The Black Edition...
Blast from the Past: Kawasaki Z1300!
Moto Guzzi V7 Classic riding impression...

Elsewhere today:
Triumph in the early-1980s...
A visit to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum...

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