I’m sure you already know that Chinese owned Italian motorcycle maker Benelli has finally, after a delay of 3 months, launched its range of bikes in India. The pricing and photos are all over the internet, and for good reason. Their mid-range bikes, from 300 to 600cc, are priced at a pretty kick ass level. Can’t say the same for their big bikes, but I’ll let you decide that on your own. Here are their ex-showroom Delhi prices:

  • Benelli TNT 302: Rs 2,83,000
  • Benelli TNT 600i: Rs 5,15,000
  • Benelli TNT 600GT: Rs 5,62,000
  • Benelli TNT 899: Rs 9,48,000
  • Benelli TNT 1130: Rs 11,81,000 

You can read here what I had to say about their machines when the news first broke of Benelli attempting to penetrate India. You can find all the specs and shit over there, or at any other pus-ridden website for that matter. I’ve seen the bikes in flesh, first at IBW, and then at the sad little Xbhp meet for the pointless #ThankYouRide. Let’s talk about the positives and negatives of Benelli and their bikes in India.

Benelli in India – The negatives:

1. The DSK connection: Benelli has been brought to India through DSK, the company best known for fucking up the whole Hyosung thing. Maybe I’m being too harsh on them, maybe Hyosung was fucked to begin with, but it’s an undeniable fact that DSK hasn’t really helped the cause.

What you have to understand is that DSK has nothing to do with motorcycles, it’s a business house that invests in whatever it thinks will make profit. You can read what they have to say about themselves here, and excuse me for not trusting a company that started with the “innovative” idea of scented telephone service.

2. No ABS: By far my biggest grouse with Benelli, I mean what the fuck are they thinking? Apart from the 300, all of their bikes will have a top speed somewhere around 200 kmph. This is a time when companies are shoving electronics down their motorcycles, technologies like cornering ABS, cornering lights, multi-level traction control, active suspension, and 3 mode orgasm enhancers are coming as standard. And Benelli can’t even manage something as simple as ABS?

A lot of people say that bikes should have as less electronics as possible, and I totally agree with them. Sensors and wires are all points of failure, the more of them you have, the less confidence you’ll have in your machine. What I don’t agree with are people who treat rider aid electronics as some kind of automated castration machine. I’m sure you have heard such slimy goo oozing out of these ignorant G-strings at some point in your life:

Real men don’t need ABS or traction control. If you stay within your limits and have total domination over your motorcycle, nothing will ever go wrong. Also, real men don’t need condoms. If you pull your cock out just before it’s about to sneeze inside someone’s cha-cha, you’ll never have overconfident man-childs like me dying around on our city streets.

I really hope Benelli is not making the same mistake Royal Enfield has, to cling back to the past and attempt to sell based only on tradition bullshit. Benelli is the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, and they may be taking that too seriously. Yes your designs are still alien looking, yes your bikes feel tough and reliable, but don’t take that to mean that stuff that was awesome in 1958 works for all even today.

3. Lack of Remarkability: Most bike manufacturers are known for something. Kawasaki Yamaha, and Suzuki are known for speed, reliability and surgical refinement, Ducati is known for looks, Harley is known for chrome, Triumph is known for being British. Benelli is not known for ANYTHING. When you think of Benelli, nothing comes to your mind apart from weird looking machines that sound nice.

Benelli is not a remarkable brand. There is nothing that they are masters of. Their machines are known to be unreliable and unrefined, not universally loved for their looks, don’t involve any chrome, and are not British. Even though they might have a long history behind them, Benelli as a brand comes off as very confused.

4. The Italian connection: Italians are known for beauty, and I personally like how the Benellis look. What Italians are not known for is everything else. Reliability, practicality, refinement, usability, price, speaking understandable English, you name it and Italians will find a way to suck at it.

There is not one single long term, positive ownership review that I can find of ANY Benelli bike on the entire internet. This is a very troubling thing, because you can find anything on the internet. You want a possum humping a kingfisher mid-flight, or a baby panda sneezing, or 2 random girls vomiting into each other’s mouths, you’ll get it on the internet, no questions asked.

One thing that you will get is their track record and public image of making nice but unreliable bikes. Check out this thread on ADVrider and you’ll see what I mean.

Benelli is like that girlfriend that you want to love and marry someday, but you can’t simply because she is an unpredictable psychopath you can never trust with your life.

Benelli in India – The positives:

1. The pricing: Yes, the pricing is impressive, especially considering the shitfest Triumph brought in after promising a beautiful spring morning. The 300 looks nice, and although at over 3 lac on-road and without ABS I think it’ll be a tough choice to make over a Duke 390. The Z250 has now some competition though.

The 600i and 600GT are priced just right. The benchmark is obviously Kawasaki ER-6n, which undercuts both the bikes, but I think the Benellis have an advantage over the Kawasaki. First, they have more exotic appeal. Second, they sound much better than the disappointing murmur of the Kawa. Third, the Benellis look much more purposeful, they are 2 different bikes meant for 2 different things, the ER-6n is kinda in no man’s land.

The Kawa on the other hand has a well established fan base, thousands of happy customers, and a service network that’s spreading faster than swine flu. I am kinda in 2 minds about the 600i, it looks and sounds exactly the way I want my bike to. It’s priced not bad too, but then I know it’s a very bad idea to buy the first batch of any motorcycle, so I’m not gonna be the guinea pig.

The 600GT’s most remarkable feature has to be the 27 liter fuel tank. Being a 390 owner, that number is something that makes jizz all over my pants. The negative of the GT, and for that matter all Benelli bikes, is their weight. I’m a small guy, I can’t handle something that weighs more than a juvenile rhinoceros.

The 899 and the 1130 have been priced higher than what I had expected, and I don’t think they are going to be a big success. But then again I don’t think DSK or Benelli are looking at it as a numbers game. In fact, I don’t even understand what game they are playing. Why does DSK always partner up with such weird brands? Why does Benelli have such a pathetic reputation even after being in business the longest?

2. The 250: The TNT 25, although not the most radical looking motorcycle out there, is probably going to be the biggest seller from the Benelli stable, especially considering its ugly looking cousin, the 7-day-old-black-piece-of-shit Blackster. I saw it at IBW, and it kinda reminded me of the old FZ. Having said that, a 250cc 24 bhp bike would make a lot of sense to fill in the giant holes present in the Indian market.

Having said that too, pricing will again be important. It can’t be in the Duke 390 territory, although it can be slightly higher than the Duke 200. If Benelli wants to stay in India for long, this looks like their trump card, the one that’ll bring in the most money. But then again I don’t know 2 shits about how business works, so don’t take my word on it.

3. The network: Given Benelli’s strong reputation of breaking down without notice, it’s very important that there’s a big service network to fix whatever goes wrong. From what I’ve seen DSK Benelli has done some good work with that. I can see 9 places over the country where you can find a mechanic, and hopefully it will go up with time.

Although there are a lot of people who buy a gazillion rupee motorcycles only to lick their exhausts every other Sunday, those are not the people who steer the public opinion about a brand. This is simply because it is the people who actually ride these bikes that find problems and then try to find a solution to them. These people need support, and hopefully Benelli is up to the task.

4. The sound: All bullshit aside, I have to commend Benelli for giving their motorcycles probably the loudest pipes that you’ll ever find stock on any bike. I don’t understand these pussy manufacturers nowadays, cribbing about noise levels and providing shitty sounding exhausts on super costly machines.

I’m not a big fan of PowerDrift. They started out brilliantly, but have recently become too repetitive and overly nice. They still have the best Youtube channel in the country though, and it is there that I first heard the sound of 600i with those menacing IXIL exhausts.

If that doesn’t satisfy your motorcycle porn requirements, you are a sexually deviant perverted piece of godlessness. The 899 and 1130 sound kick ass too, thanks to the triple configuration. That dry clutch is a bit of a turn off though, and hopefully won’t just choke on our dirty air and die anytime soon.

********************

So yeah, these are my thoughts about Benelli in India through the DSK route. I, from the bottom of my heart, wish that they do well, but somewhere in there I also know that both Benelli’s and DSK’s past records are not the most encouraging ones. If I had to buy one bike from their stable, it would certainly be the 600i. Even though I’m a tourer, I don’t think the 600GT makes much sense for me. I don’t like how it looks, will certainly not be able to handle that weight, and don’t really need a 600cc inline 4 to travel across India.

Even though I detest these superbikers revving the shit out of their machines at IBW, somewhere deep inside I’ve always wanted a machine that sounds good. I’ve owned a Pulsar 150 and a Duke 390 till date, both of which sound slightly better than Justin Beiber with a dick down his throat. To add to that, I hate fiddling with my bike, to put in aftermarket crap, or to fuck with what came from the factory, which makes me love the stock Benellis even more.

But then again, who gives a fuck, I don’t have 6 lacs lying around anyways. Do you?

comments (35)

  • Reply

    January 11, 2016

    do you have bangalore presense

  • Reply

    December 15, 2015

    I’ve got a 600 I for 2 months now , love the bike , especially the engine , low on torque but great on highways , have touched 200 km/hr . Overall it’s a good bike . Yes service at svc sucks .

  • Reply

    December 1, 2015

    loved your article man…these are the very things even I considered when I thought of Benelli. So I am waiting for them to get ABS and establish themselves. I even want the 600i and as you mentioned this bike has the most amazing stock exhaust sound ever. really guys u have to hear it in person…I work in the BLR airport and there is one here….believe me on this….I cannot hear the planes when this bike goes.

  • Reply

    August 25, 2015

    No thank you!

  • Reply

    August 25, 2015

    great article

  • Reply

    July 18, 2015

    Showroom in my neighborhood. Kinda too old for these bike now although I still drool each day I pass them bikes. Now for me it is only one big bad arse cruiser with a big butt seat that will not cramp my growing beer belly. HOHOHO … I have been waiting for Santa though and he is late each year to bring me my Cruiser.

  • Reply

    July 13, 2015

    ” you name it and Italians will find a way to suck at it” … probably the best line i hv ever heard abt italians…lol

    Nice column tho…i dont know man i couldnt resist the 600i wid the ixils…booked mine in black

    So far the showroom guys r the best i hv ever dealt wid….i hope DSK does well

    • Reply

      July 14, 2015

      Awesome! I am also finding it hard to stay away from the 600. Lack of ABS helps 🙂

  • Reply

    April 28, 2015

    Though do not trust the DSK group much, but somehow my heart responded to the Benelli TNT 300’s looks and exhaust note, me going for one next month, keeping my fingers crossed, its just that the TNT 300 ticked the right boxes.

  • Reply

    April 28, 2015

    Dude regarding the reviews, perhaps you haven’t searched enough, a single point search for benelli yielded me this review page with multiple ownership reviews of their Benelli Tornado series and all of them are pretty satisfactory. Check it out.

    http://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/benelli/tornado-1130/2003/

  • Reply

    March 27, 2015

    How did I not know about this website? I love it! Love the words from the hort.

    Fellow Hyderabadi & 390 owner here! I’m that guy who bought one from the first batch and still facing an oil leakage problem right from when I bought it.

    The 600GT interests me, although there is the matter of “hey its just an old 2004 R6 engine dumped into the chassis of another old bike.”…but I thought why not. But then theres also the issue of the weight and the reputation.

    Cheers!

    • Reply

      March 28, 2015

      Let’s meet up sometime, I’m here 🙂

      Benelli bikes look nice on the outside, but gotta see how they work out in the long term before deciding to go for them.

  • Reply

    March 26, 2015

    “both of which sound slightly better than Justin Beiber with a dick down his throat. ”
    >> ahahaha, Selena Gomez will love this one!

    I was eagerly waiting for Benelli to launch their range. Although I had already bought my SBK by then, the 600GT still interests me – they don’t call supersports torture racks for nothing.

    But one good thing about full-fairings is that it conceals the mechanical bits, like wires, hoses, filler caps, which IMO is a good thing only because some nasty buttworms are so jealous they can’t stop themselves from sabotaging someone else’s precious ride. I heard of a Duke 390 rider whose coolant tank was introduced with some mud and pebbles. Lily-livered landlubbers ! Bloody bovine urine drinking uterine tumours !

    If I were the owner and I caught hold of the culprit, I’d shove said mud and pebbles up his (or her ? one (probably only! :p ) good thing about chicks they don’t usually mess with a stranger’s car/bike, although lot of them smash up an ex’s ride) and remove them and make him eat them, shit them, then eat them again. Until the bastard mother-swears never to even look at anyone else’s bike. Billions of billious barbecued blue blistering barnacles!

    Coming back to the point, so the 600 Benellis are naked or semi-faired, leaving a fair bit of rubber hoses, which are by the way very soft rubber, exposed to the elements. A sharp pebble or intentional damage is easy to suffer. The 899/1130 have steel hoses ( I touched/tapped ). Pity their icky plastics.

    Plus with a 3 month delay, by now I had already done the IBW ride on the torture rack and it wasn’t as bad as I expected, but them most of the ride was highway, not city. So that took away some of the reason I was looking at the touring Benelli.

    Had I not bought the said torture rack, the 600GT would make a very strong case for itself, over and above the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha range, only the not-yet-here CBR650F being the potential cheap rival.

    PS : Where are you now by whereabouts anyway , you slimy meatball sucking rodent :p ? Perhaps we can meet f2f over a few rounds of preferred beverage ( I shouldn’t say alcoholic , esp now that the fine/term for DUI has reached a new high , pardon the pun , those stinking money grabbing porcine lard smeared turdballs !) and exchange anecdotes.

    • Reply

      March 27, 2015

      LOL! I’m at Hyderabad now mate, and would prefer talking to your in person than replying to this comment 🙂

  • Reply

    March 26, 2015

    Please cover something about “Regal Raptor”. Their Daytona looks okay but I have no idea about the brand.

  • Reply

    March 21, 2015

    Couldn’t have written it better myself! Let’s get drunk and talk about juvie rhinos sometime.

  • Reply

    March 21, 2015

    Launch news on RIderzone.in – Good.

    But please no scoops. Cheers!!

    • Reply

      March 20, 2015

      Haha, absolutely not Rishabh! Only confirmed news, that too not just news, but my opinion of it. News you can get anywhere 🙂

  • Reply

    March 20, 2015

    Owned the first batch of the Duke 200, it was a painful experience but I ended up tinkering around and making it a lot more awesome than the stock could ever be(3 yrs, 80k kms and a killer top end), I have loved the 600i ever since I saw it and I most probably will be plonking down my savings on this piece of shit and I have my weekends free so there’s that. I feel another journey about to begin.

  • Reply

    March 20, 2015

    Why no abs?! Is rocket science technology involved here?! Since DSK is involved I wouldn’t touch this bike with a barge pole.

    • Reply

      March 21, 2015

      No idea mate. And yeah 🙂

      • Reply

        April 3, 2015

        Was at the Triumph showroom today and Benelli is their neighbour. Some fool was revving the life out of a 899, Pity the bike. But that thing does sound really good. You right though, haven’t found any proper reviews.

        • Reply

          April 4, 2015

          They sound nice for sure, although these pompous fucks with retarded wrists should be shot in the crotch and left to die.

What's on your mind?