Published on February 22nd, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Test Ride: Benelli TnT135 – Big Fun in a Small Package
Mini bikes are not exactly uncommon in Malaysia, despite the number being much smaller compared to scooters and kapchais we see on our roads everyday. Kawasaki used to be the only manufacturer to offer a mini motorcycle in the name of KSR 110 but since then, the market has changed and the competition is getting stiffer with the arrival of new models such as the Kawasaki Z125 Pro, Honda MSX 125 and Benelli TnT135, which we had the pleasure of sampling recently.
You’d be forgiven to think that customers will be drawn to the Z125 Pro and MSX 125 simply for the badges the bikes carry but having tested Benelli’s latest offering, it is perhaps fair to say that it has its own appeal to tempt buyers away from the Japanese competitors.
First up, compared to the two competitors which are both imported from Thailand, the TnT135 is assembled locally at Benelli-Keeway Motorcycles’ Rawang facility and this gives the bike an upper hand in terms of cost. Among the three candidates, the TnT135 comes as the most affordable offering at RM7,990, followed by the Z125 Pro at RM10,435 and the MSX 125 at RM11,128.
While it may be the cheapest of the lot, the TnT135 boasts the biggest engine, which is a 134.7 cc single-cylinder unit that churns out 12.6 hp at 9,000 rpm and 10.8 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. Both the Z125 Pro and MSX 125 feature a 125 cc mill.
One look and you’ll notice its in-your-face styling that is distinct from regular small-capacity bikes we have seen. The front section features a familiar headlight design with four gorgeous bulbs, though it’s the rear section that takes the cake with a design that is clearly inspired by the MV Agusta Brutale Dragster.
Additionally, the exposed frame painted in red and unique rear mudguard design enhance the bike’s zestful appearance while the bright front and rear LED lights increase visibility in the dark. The digital instrument panel has a simple layout and is easy to read even under the hot sun.
The TnT135 may look small at a glance but its ergonomics are on par with that of the scooters or kapchais. The seat and the handlebar are positioned at the right height for an average Asian adult (our test rider is about 1.67 meters tall), and the foot pegs are not too high, resulting in a pleasant riding position that will not strain your arms and back in the long run.
That said, looking at the cramped seat, it is safe to say that the TnT135 is not the most clever choice for those with pillion, especially if you cover long distances. But for picking up or dropping off your child at the school, for instance, the TnT135 definitely does the job.
Having ridden different types of motorcycles over the last few years, the TnT135 feels like it has its own party trick that not many has seen. The output may seem small on paper but 12.6 hp and slightly more than 10 Nm of torque is enough to bestow the bike with instant acceleration. In most situations, overtaking can be done almost effortlessly without having to drop a gear.
To be fair, its capability on the open roads is decent. The five-speed manual transmission allows the engine to squeeze every last drop of the power before the cog is changed. The TnT135 is capable of going as fast as 110 km/h with the rev needle hovering around the 10,000-rpm mark and that’s with insufficient wind protection properties.
The ride and handling is balanced in terms of comfort and performance, much to our pleasure. The rear monoshock suspension feels a tad too rigid compared to most mopeds or scooters we’ve ever tested but the stiffness is offset by its unwavering cornering performance. We’re not saying it’s capable of destroying Sepang’s Turn 1 and Turn 2, but if you’re looking for a bit of fun while riding, the TnT135 doesn’t disappoint.
Not only that, its compact demeanor and wide handlebar makes maneuvering around Kuala Lumpur’s dense traffic a breeze. The bike is no short of confidence and its ability to sprint rapidly is something that we sure many commuters will appreciate.
Contrary to popular belief, the small tyres (measuring 120/70 front and 130/70 rear) courtesy of Metzelr do not hinder the bike’s ability to run free. The tyres do have limits especially when the bike is pushed hard around the bend but they proved to be grippy enough to handle wet and slippery surfaces.
While the ever so important ABS is absent, the TnT135 is equipped with enough stopping power thanks to the combination of a 220 mm disc with a two-piston caliper, and a 190 mm disc with a single-piston caliper at the rear.
From the aggressive styling to its lively powertrain, there is not a single doubt that the Benelli TnT135 is developed for a one-of-a-kind riding experience. It may not be as sensible as a scooter but with an interesting price, this mini motorcycle comes as a very inviting offer that is impossible to look right through especially to those who are looking for a start with a small budget. And to the ladies, this could be your first bike too.
Benelli TnT135 Specifications
Engine: SOHC single-cylinder
Capacity: 134.7 cc
Power: 12.6 hp @ 9,000 rpm
Torque: 12.8Nm @ 6,500 rpm
Top speed: –
Price: RM7,990 (without GST)