Ad closing in seconds....

Benelli struggle on with style

Published: 04 August 2011

Updated: 20 November 2014

Although Benelli hasn't gone the way of compatriots Moto Morini (which went into administration last year), there's no doubt it has been struggling, with model updates limited to minor revisions on a now ageing range of nakeds and sportsters based around the Pesaro-firm's charismatic three-cylinder engine.

The new TNT R160 is the latest example of the breed. Effectively Benelli's only new offering for 2011, it's an uprated version of the seven-year-old 1130 TNT super naked. That uprate comprises a claimed power boost to 160bhp (hence the name) and higher spec cycle parts and bodywork.

Benelli's recipe of decent performance and striking design is already appealing and better still, the firm has reduced the price from £11,999 to £9999.

But it doesn't appeal to all. In places the styling is a little OTT while the finish is poor in some areas - our test bike was virtually new but bolts and brackets were showing signs of age, as were the exhaust downpipes. Meanwhile, the clocks appear dated and the number plate bracket looks home made.

Mechanically there are question marks, too and, unfortunately, Benelli hasn't the best reputation for reliability. Our bike's fuel gauge was wildly inaccurate, as was the oil warning light.

Thankfully, as is traditional with Italian machines, the R160's performance and handling mostly makes up for those niggles. The inline, 1130cc triple is the perfect balance of power and torque, delivering hard acceleration in almost any gear at any rpm.

Read the full test in this week's issue of MCN (3 August), on sale now. Get MCN from only £1 an issue when you subscribe today.


All related reviews
Bauer Media

Bauer Media Group consists of: Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, Company number: 01176085, Bauer Radio Ltd, Company Number: 1394141
Registered Office: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA H Bauer Publishing,
Company Number: LP003328 Registered Office: Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London, NW1 7DT.
All registered in England and Wales. VAT no 918 5617 01
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd are authorised and regulated by the FCA(Ref No. 710067)