Benelli responds to the emerging ‘compact’ market with more features, more power and a lower price tag
When Honda came out with the Honda Grom last year, it left a lot of us scratching our heads. What is this thing? We thought. It’s not quite a monkey bike, but its much smaller than a regular road-bike. Either way, we were interested.
Kawasaki later followed with the Z125 Pro, a similiar 125cc ‘compact’ road bike to challenge the Grom. I soon got a chance to ride both the Honda and the Kwaka, and it suddenly made sense. To me, this new genre represents one thing; fun.
Though they really are as small as they look, the ergonomics allow big people like us to enjoy all the thrills of a mini bike, without being hunched over like a clown on a circus bike. And best of all, they are completely road legal.
Now, Benelli has come out with a compact challenger of its own, with better specs and a nudge more power.
The TnT 125 houses a 125cc air-cooled single, and unlike its Japanese rivals, it features a four-valve head and a five-speed gearbox. The Benelli also wins out on grunt, with an 8.2kW power figure. That’s around 1kW more than both the Honda and the Kawasaki.
Also adding to the Benelli’s appeal, is a set of 41mm upside-down forks, electronic fuel injection and a Combined Braking System which makes use of a two-piston caliper on a single disc at the front, and a single-piston on a single disc at the rear.
The dash comprises of a digital speedometer, fuel gauge, clock, and trip meter, but scores a large analogue tachometer. You don’t get ABS or traction control, but for a bike of this kind, I doubt you’d need it.
The Australian launch of the mini Benelli was suitably held at a small go-kart track in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Now, one of the best things about this caper, is that we get to ride some incredibly fast bikes in all kinds of exotic locations, but a small track paired with the TnT 125 equaled some of the most fun we’ve had.
You need to work the engine and gearbox hard to get up to speed, and I found myself pushing the bike all the way to its 10,000 rpm redline. Benelli says that the bike is capable of 110km/h but I was unable find that kind of speed on track.
With only a set of 12-inch wheels and cheap Cordial tyres, you might not expect this thing to handle. But to my surprise the TnT 125 grips well and allows for a reasonable lean at pace. With a bit of persuasion the bike will wheelie and stoppie. Another tick on the fun factor checklist.
The Benelli TnT 125 is priced at $3250 + On Roads. That’s $849 cheaper than the Kawasaki, and around $100 less than the Honda.
Keep an eye out for a comprehensive review in an upcoming issue of Australian Road Rider magazine.
Type: Air cooled 4-stroke 4-valve
SOHC single cylinder, double spark
Displacement: 125 cc
Bore x Stroke: 54 mm x 54.5 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.8:1
Power (full powered): 8.2 kW (11 hp) @ 9000 rpm
Torque (full powered): 10 Nm @ 7000 rpm
Lubrication: Wet sump
Fuel supply: Electronic injection with one throttle body 28 mm
Exhaust system: Catalytic exhaust
Clutch: Wet clutch
Gearbox: 5 speed
Frame: Steel trellis
Front suspension: 41 mm upside down forks
Rear suspension: Rear swing arm with lateral shock absorber
with spring pre-load adjustment
Front brake: Single 220 mm with radial mounted 2 piston calipers
Rear brake: Single 190 mm disc with single piston caliper
Front rim: Aluminium alloy 12” x MT 3.0 DOT
Rear rim: Aluminium alloy 12” x MT 3.0 DOT
Front tyre: 120/70 – ZR12
Rear tyre: 130/70 – ZR12
Length: 1750 mm
Width (excl. mirrors): 755 mm
Height (excl. mirrors): 1025 mm
Seat height: 780 mm
Wheelbase: 1215 mm
Curb Weight: 121 kg
Fuel tank: 7.2 L
Warranty: 24 months + 24 months roadside assist
RRP: $3250 +ORC
STORY: SPENCER LEECH
PICS: JEFF CROW