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Benelli TNT 150 Review

The life that many will not understand
30 October 2020
Hadithi hadithi?!
24 April 2021
Written by Micky Omondi | Photos by Dann Mwendwah

For the past 8 months I have been a proud owner Benelli TNT 150 and have ridden it to slightly above 20,000kms on the odo. I believe my experience with the bike is enough to warrant a review which I’ll be breaking down into small sub-pointers.

Looks and ergonomics

The bike is an outright charmer and looks more expensive than it actually is. This amounts to less bullying on the roads and more respect from cagers especially while lane splitting. The sitting position is upright and the seat is quite comfy. Expect long riding hours without butt fatigue. Furthermore, the bike doesn’t feel small to ride even for tall riders like myself at 6’1.

Power delivery

Despite being a heavy bike, I’d its performance as above average for a 150cc. Most people claim a bajaj boxer can outrun this bike. I’m yet to meet one that can outrun mine. Gear 1 gets you to around 30kph, gear 2 pushes to the neighbourhood of 60kph, gear 3 gets you to 80kph, gear 4 hits 100kph, then gear 5 gets you to between 105 and 120kph depending on ground conditions. The highest I’ve hit was 130kph at some down stretch along Thika road just before Witeithie. Power delivery is smooth thus very friendly for beginners its power band kicks in at around 5k to 6k rpms and sustain all the way to 8…9k rpms before you hit the rev limiter.

P/S: these are figures I achieved before modifying my bike with some performance parts. i.e ignition coil, high-flow pod air filter, and iridium plugs. It currently accelerates better than a stock version making it ideal for the stop and go scenarios of Nairobi traffic.

 

Maintenance costs

This is the part where I expected the bike to let me down but it did not. Under the right care, it’s not a needy bike. I was told I’d replace tappets at 10k kms. 20k kms later, I don’t know what tappets are. The only huge sum I ever spent on non-perishable parts was 3.5k for a Denso ignition coil. I added some mods to the bike which further lowered the maintenance costs. These include a washable pod air filter and NGK iridium plug. This reduces the service to oil change, oil filter cleaning/change, air filter cleaning, carb inspection, chain service, cables check and comprehensive bolts and nuts check. As a DIY person, my last service at 19800kms cost me 415ksh- 365 for shell advance AX5 and ksh 50 for petrol to clean the oil filter. Under proper care the bike is arguably maintenance free.

 

Handling

The bike has a rear monoshock and inverted forks at the front. The suspension handles well both on and off road (read Mombasa road) without any hiccups.

Braking power is tip top with very short braking distances. P/S: A hard tap on the brakes will skid you to the ground.

With stock tyres the bike can lean around corners though not to a greater degree due to low traction of these tyres. However with an upgrade to street or dual sport tyres, the leaning angle increases

Highway stability is top thanks to the weight you’ll hardly feel the wind trying to push you off the road at high speed. Cross winds are a big enemy to the bike though. Sometimes they might even decide you won’t go past 80kph and there’s nothing you’ll do.

In terms of size, the bike small enough to fit in between cars in high traffic density scenarios thus manoeuvring during rush hour is quite easy. P/S: The handlebars are wide so expect to knock a few mirrors before perfecting the art.

Durability

I’d rather let pictures speak for it. Mind you this is a bike that has had 3 falls and no I have never repainted it or taken it for fibre works. Do you see any faults on it? No? The bike was seemingly built to last.

Consumption

When in good condition, i.e good plugs and clean air filter. The bike gives between 40 to 45kms per litre from personal analysis which is quite economical for town running. Throw in a faulty plug or clogged air filter and see yourself hitting 30kmpl with reduced performance of course. Then you can say Chinese bikes get slower with time.


Cons

I feel like the bike could use more power… a bigger engine I guess. Or maybe it’s just my upgrade cravings.

The dealer hardly stocks replacement parts. But there’s a way around it. I once crashed my headlight, ordered another one and in less than 2 weeks the bike was back to its lost glory. Some parts can also be done away with (read stock air filter).

Parting shot

if I had money to upgrade without the need to sell it, I’d keep it. That’s how good the bike is….and it’s arguably the best bike under 200k in the market currently. And… under good maintenance Chinese bikes can last.

N/B: If you own a tnt 250 or 300 and are willing to let it go by the end of this month please let me know.

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