BENELLI TORNADO 1130 (2003-on) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"A uniquely styled Italian sportsbike that handles and sounds like few other motorcycles"

BENELLI TORNADO 1130  (2003-on)

"A uniquely styled Italian sportsbike that handles and sounds like few other motorcycles"

  • At a glance
  • 898cc  -  133 bhp
  • 41 mpg  -  166 miles range
  • Medium seat height (810mm)
  • £6,195

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Benelli Tornado is a uniquely styled Italian sportsbike that handles and sounds like few other motorcycles, thanks to a big-capacity triple-cylinder motor and high quality suspension. Prices have crashed from their £11,700 high, with unused Benelli Tornado Tre examples now going for £6,195 - that's a lot of motorcycle for the money. 

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The 50mm Marzocchi forks and Extreme Tech rear shock on the motorcycle make short work of smooth surfaces, but can be a little harsh on pot-holed British A-roads. The Benelli Tornado's riding position is somewhat tiring after a hundred miles or so as your wrists and back take the abuse of the motorcycle's aggressive bum-up, head-down ergonomics.  

Engine 4 out of 5

The liquid-cooled in-line triple in the Benelli Tornado is rorty and the 140bhp available is a pleasure to work, thanks to the motorcycle's almighty exhaust soundtrack. There’s plenty of torque on tap, and a slipper clutch helps smooth out any awkward downshifts. The first model Benelli Tornado suffered from a slightly snatchy fuel-injection, but from 2004 onwards the motorcycle is much improved.

Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5

The Benelli Tornado's components are straight out of the top draw, but mechanically and electronically Benelli struggle to match the rival motorcycle Aprilia RSV1000, let alone motorcycles from the Japanese manufacturers. Check your AA membership is paid up…

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

With some Benelli Tornados available secondhand for as little as £4000, the Benelli Tornado represents an amazing chance to grab a seriously exclusive motorcycle for seriously common money. Japanese litre-class motorcycles offer better value for money and performance, but they can’t hold a candle to the Benelli Tornado’s sweeping curves, underseat radiator fans or motorcycle meet cool. Find a Benelli Tornado 900 for sale.

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The Benelli Tornado has top drawer Brembo radial brakes. Popular modifications for this motorcycle include aftermarket race-style cans, which really let the Benelli Tornado’s motor sound at its very best. Leo Vince offer a re-map and titanium exhaust option for this motorcycle for about £700. Compare and buy parts for the Benelli Tornado in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their BENELLI TORNADO 1130 (2003-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 4.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4.4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Tornado TRE 900

06 April 2012 by stidds

Always so many horror stories regarding reliability but that was on the early models which should have been fixed by now. As long as you know the updates to clutch basket and a small belville washer have been carried out then they are as reliable as... Read more any other superbike. I have had no problems at all with mine.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Tornado 900

06 September 2011 by Anonymous

I have owned a Benelli Tornado from new for 12 months now and covered approx 4k. There are good deals out there but the second hand values remain low, maybe due to the rarity of the bike or more likely the early reliability issues. The handling is... Read more good but not amazing however you have to remember that the 900's were made in 2003/4, the riding position puts you on top of the bike and turning in can be nervous. Proper suspension setup would be needed to get the most from the chassis compared to most jap bikes. The riding position is unique and is suited more to someone with long legs and short arms - the clip on's are low and the switchgear awkward especially the indicator switch and the "mode" button used to start the stopwatch/lap timer (gimmick). The mirrors look nice but you have to duck down to see anything behind you and the original screen is low. The clocks however are very clear. Performance is nearer to a CBR600f than an R6 or similar race rep. You have to wind it up to get the most out of it although the torque produced makes manic gearchanges less likely - you just have to know where the peak torque and power is in the rev range to get the most out of it rather than expect instant power everywhere. This could be down to the lumpy fuelling although new maps are being developed for this machine.# There are good deals out there for "new" bikes and you get a lot of bike for your money BUT the importers are not very helpful, the dealers are widespread and contradict each other on what is needed regarding servicing (and the cost of that servicing)and the service intervals are close and pricey compared to a triumph (Which I think the Tornado essentially is - an italian styled 12v triple). Parts are also difficult to source and expensive. The way to sum up the experience is this - you get an excusive bike with a very interesting induction and exhaust note and plenty of attention at bike meets, etc but I would prefer to have a better dealer network for piece of mind. Think carefully before you take the plunge!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Tornado Tre

23 November 2007 by aogier

Pretty much like any other owner will tell you... this bike is awesome in every way, from its styling, to the handling, to the attention to detail that you just wouldnt find on anything japanese. Its the only bike I've owned that I run home from work... Read more so that I can grab an opportunity to take her for a ride, and if its sunny at a weekend, I'm out cold or not! Handling is sublime, took me a couple of weeks to get used to the height - you seem to sit lower on a jap but once you've bonded with your tornado there's nothign else! Oh, and the noise, mmmmmm! its addictive, this is biking! so what if a zxcbrgsxr6 might be quicker in a straight line, I bet they arent smiling as much as a Benelli owner and on the corners she'll easily match them. And besides, its good to be less frantic and enjoy the experience... I've had no reliability issues, she starts first time everytime, even in middle of winter. Yes there are tiny little things, the clocks sometimes reset cause of low volatage from overly small battery and she gets bad tempered in traffic, but these are all things that make you love this bike . Oh and I havent had a problem with Neutral! if you werent prepared to slot her in on the approach, just give a nudge forward as you tip the pedal and neutral slots in nicely. Cant think of anything else I'd rather ride and cant wait for Spring

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Superb Italian exotica.

04 October 2007 by colinux

Bought a standard 900 Tre in Red. 54 plate with only 1000 miles on the clock. Guy I bought it off could not believe that I would ride it 180 miles back home. Absolutely amazing machine!!! The handling is just superb, with the intergrated frame/engine... Read more it sits the road beautifully and the brembo brakes stop it in a second. I didn't find the riding position bad at all. With 180 miles, I only stopped to fill her up. No wrist or back problems, just a silly grin on my face everytime I opened her up! I picked one with a full service history so the clocks and the clutch issues have been sorted. I cannot fault it at all, except that they should fit an alarm at manufacture. It sounds great, once you get the revs up there is that amazing throaty grunt from the triple that turns heads and shakes windows! Only other problem is that there are so few on the road the cops know me already. For the same price you can get the same age zx6r or similar. I'm glad I went Italian.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Benelli Tornado LE

01 September 2007 by johnyrottin

The Benelli factory created the Limited Edition to homogulate the WSB race bike. Ther were 150 copies made. I own number 131. Absolutely stunning looks and noises. Dare to be different! Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

5 Years on and it still looks hot!

18 March 2007 by Benellibug

I am on my second one now, 1st one was standard 900 and the second one is the Limited Edition (one of 100)dripping in carbon fibre. It is a hoot to ride and heads turn all the time. Neutral does not exist but the clutch is so light it really does... Read more not matter. Problem with the speedo, but this is a matter of chasing up a new one and getting it replaced. Benelli are fully aware and most done under warranty. Try getting 41 mpg ;-) when you want to hear that howl at 9000 revs. The bike just wants to be ridden. All round Ohlin suspension makes the LE a magic carpet on the road.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Couldn't refuse it at £6000 (from KJM Wigan) - plus unique looks, sound etc

31 July 2006 by elbandito

Attracts positive comments from every one that sees it, and certainly draws the crowds as they are quite rare. Great green silver colour scheme and the exhaust note is very addictive. Went to assen and back with no probs. Loads of rain back to... Read more rotterdam, no prob. Strengths: looks/power/sound and in my case price - cheaper than a jap 600 for italian exclusivity. Always a talking point when I pull up at bike places. Makes you proud to own it. Weaknesses: Neutral gear - forget it! Very hard to engage when stopped, you have to engage as you pull up not when stopped. Maybe next service can sort it. Trip/clock does reset for no apparent reason. Back brake crap. Three things in all. But the rest of it so good what the hell. I hope to sort these thing soon. Oh yes, no span adjuster on clutch - a bit of a bind for those of us with short fingers.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

A real head turner of a bike!

10 March 2006 by Bigbadal

This bike is without a doubt one of THE nicest bikes you are ever likely to see on the road. Get used to receiving compliments if you buy one of these bikes because they will come thick and fast. The noise that comes out of the Benelli is wonderful.... Read more When that triple really gets going it sings the sweetest notes you will hear on the road. Other road users will hear you coming a mile away as this thing is loud. All in all this is a great bike but not without its niggles. Strengths: Looks. Sound. Nice power delivery. Weaknesses: The gearbox. Trying to find neutral is a real pain . You either have to get used to it or sell it! The turning circle isn't that great. Don't expect to do a U turn in the road with this bike, it's more of a 3 point turn which can make filtering through traffic a bit on the dodgy side. The rev counter on the bike seems to have a life of its own. It can jump from 4-7k without a shift in the throttle or gear change.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Brilliant bike with a few small faults (and a lack of back up support)

30 September 2005 by ianandlinda

Quick and gorgeous looking, and with so few about a bit different too. Drop dead looks, decent compoents and a grweat noise from the triple. Underseat fans are justa hoot and guaranteed to attract attention, even if the ability to keep the Rad cool... Read more is dubious. Strengths: They way it looks and the way it sounds. Weaknesses: Reliability with electrics and lack of factory back up for spares etc.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2003
Year discontinued -
New price £6,195
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 133 bhp
Max torque 74 ft-lb
Top speed 167 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11 secs
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 166 miles
Specification
Engine size 898cc
Engine type 12v triple, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 195kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2001: Benelli Tornado 900 model launched.
2004: Benelli Tornado 1130 model launched.

Other versions

Benelli Tornado Novocento LE: High specification motorcyclel costing £23,000. Featured carbon fibre bodywork and tank, Ohlins suspension and magnesium wheels
Benelli Tornado 1130: New, 1130cc motor developed from the TnT delivers 161bhp and proves a challenge to established Italian superbike hegemony
Benelli Tornado Novocento Tre: Bottom of the old range (non-radial brakes, slightly heavier, slightly less power), but otherwise still a good motorcycle. Find Benelli Tornado motorcycles for sale

Photo Gallery

  • BENELLI TORNADO 1130  (2003-on)
  • BENELLI TORNADO 1130  (2003-on)
  • BENELLI TORNADO 1130  (2003-on)
  • BENELLI TORNADO 1130  (2003-on)
  • BENELLI TORNADO 1130  (2003-on)
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BENELLI TORNADO 1130  (2003-on)
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • BENELLI TORNADO 1130  (2003-on)
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Riding
  • Benelli Tornado motorcycle review - Side view