Benelli has created the Tornado Tre 1130 model as an exquisite alternative to Japanese and other European motorcycles and it ended up as the most successful and representative model produced by the Italian maker. Ever since its introduction it hasn’t gone through that much changes due to the fact that the first ever was such a big hit, but let’s see what the 2008 model has to offer.
Tornado’s success had all to do with the racing frame and the engine that fitted it so this is what engineers concentrated on improving. The bike steers sharp and the three-cylinder engine fed through fuel injection system is there to back the chassis’s abilities up. When compared to other sporty bikes out there, Benelli is conscious of the missing piston disadvantage and that is why we’re dealing with an 1130cc engine.
First introduced in 2006, the first fully-faired Tornado (previous bikes were naked ones) was what everyone expected from the relatively small Italian manufacturer. The engine develops 120 KW at 10.500 RPM, definitely comparable with Japanese supersports (although we won’t do that, read a bit more) and the 124 Nm at 8000 RPM as well.
What clearly stood out was the manufacturer’s ambition to situate itself among the top Italian players next to Aprilia and Ducati so styling was very important. As a result, we witnessed the introduction of a truly aggressive styled motorcycle with features that even inspired others to give it a try on their own bikes.
The RSV 1000 was already a best seller at Aprilia and that gives us all the reasons to believe the Tornado Tre 1130 was practically built up against this bike.
But the Aprilia RSV 1000 is determined not to lose its supremacy as the best sports twin money can buy and it constantly develops new technologies and systems to fit it. For 2008, Aprilia RSV 1000 R remarks thanks to its Öhlins Racing fork with Titanium Nitride coated stanchions and radial caliper mountings, the latest generation V60 Magnesium Engine with Ø 33 mm exhaust valves, larger diameter exhaust headers and external catalytic converters, installed nearer to the header pipes for improved efficiency and environment respect. As a result, Benelli’s competitor also comes with Euro 4 homologation.
Being fitted with the big three-cylinder engine, Benelli has a hard time finding its most appropriate competitor. The Ducati 1098 doesn’t feature neither a three-cylinder nor a V-Twin, but an L-Twin engine which contributed at the bike being voted “Sportbike of the year”. It will definitely pass a little bit of time until we’ll be seeing the Tornado racing next to the 1098 in the World Superbike Championship, but when it comes to a customer’s choice, the one with the riffle name has as much chances as any other. After all, it is an impressive bike.
Much to do with it being impressive and worth the buck is the way it looks. Exterior design is important, especially in the given category and thanks to Benelli designers, it looks worthy of its sporting abilities.
Its front end is characterized through the Y shape given by the screen and headlight, the mirrors representing an extension of that shape, apart from their obvious purpose. Also, the air scoops on the headlight’s sides give it a distinctive look, but if you are used to seeing R1s every day, that’s what you’ll be confusing it with.
On each side, the “Benelli” name will immediately clear your doubts. The fairing features smooth, flowing lines and the paint schemes add further visual impact. You can buy it either complete Grey (light on the top and dark on the sides) or Grey and Green (this last going on the lower half).
Italian bikes usually have a flat looking tank, but this is more than I can take. Carefully blended in, the tank doesn’t manage to stand out at all, but simply do its job of keeping the fuel in its 19 liters capacity while offering enough space for the rider to tuck under the screen.
The seat doesn’t look like much comfort, but what I definitely appreciate at it is the Ferrari like taillights. Now that is something unseen before!
Getting a feel of the Tornado can’t leave you with the best impression on Italian bikes as given to the displacement and the three-cylinder engine type, the sound and performance will be very distinctive.
The liquid-cooled four-stroke inline-triple hasn’t radically been modified and doesn’t even cry for it. Developing an impressive 160 horsepower, the motor is a never ending power source and also has the role of an MP3 player with the powerful beats coming from the exhaust. There is also a lot of torque available (124 Nm) and this makes it even more adequate for road use.
In every day use, the six-speed transmission and the slipper clutch are there to back the engine up and make every rider’s mistake pass unnoticed. Smooth, reliable and easy to action, the gearbox won’t be showing its qualities until the open road or straight line smiles arrogantly at you. This is where the throttle can be widely opened and all the shifts be done. By that time, I was trying to keep my head as down as possible and the eyes on the road, but a quick check on the speedometer indicated 165mph.
What will immediately become bothering when trying to ride the Tornado like it is a simple commuting bike or tourer is the aggressive riding position that determines every single bump on the road to be felt on your wrist first, and then on the elbows, not to mention your lower back if you’ve been missing the gym lately.
The racing suspension equipment has also part of the blame for the suffering rider, but when going through twisty country roads, the 50mm Marzocchi forks and Extreme Tech rear shock will provide confidence and keep the bike on the shown trace. Although it won’t beat a Supermoto bike on the given section of curves, confidence will be inspired and that is among the best things a rider can hear about its bike or future bike.
Equipped with Brembo radial brakes applied on 320mm front and 240mm rear disc, the Tornado will have you instantly covered in an emergency situation or simply prove efficient before every single tight corner that dares determining you to hit the brake levers. After worming up the discs a little bit, efficiency will reach the highest levels, as expected on such a brag-worthy piece of machinery.
No motorcycle coming from Italy will be cheap so we won’t expect the Benelli to be an exception, but more of a decently-priced sports bike. Having an MSRP of no more or less than $17,899, the subject of today’s review manages not to disappoint concerning this matter either.
The Benelli Tornado Tre 1130, at two years after its launch, represents this makers icon, a successful incursion into the wonderful world of super sports which, given to the promising start, we reckon it won’t stop here.
Engine and Transmission
Type: 3 cylinders, 4 stroke, liquid cooled, 12 Valves, DOHC (double overhaed camshaft)
Cylinder Capacity: 1131 cc
Bore x Stroke: 88 x 62
Compression Ratio: 13,0:1
Maximum Power: 120 Kw @ 10.500 RPM
Maximum Net Torque: 124 Nm @ 8.000 RPM
Firing Order: 1 > 3 > 2
Intake Valve Diameter: 33 mm
Exhaust Valve Diameter: 29 mm
Intake Engine Timing: 21° bTDC 57° aBDC
Exhaust Engine Timing: 36° bTDC, 26°aBDC
Maximum Valve Lift: Int.9,8 exh.8,75
Throttle Body, Diameter: Ø 53 mm
Lubrication System: Wet sump
Fuel System: Injection EURO 3
Clutch: Dry clutch anti-hopping system
Ignition: Digital - inductive type via electronic engine management
Gearbox: 6 - speed
Transmission: 525 chain type
Primary Ratio: 44 / 79
Final Ratio: 16 / 36
Gear Ratios (Secondary):
1° 14 / 39
2° 18 / 35
3° 21 / 32
4° 23 / 30
5° 24 / 28
6° 25 / 27
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: ASD steel tube trellis, with boxed section
Front Suspensions: "Upside down" fork totally adjustable Ø 50 mm
Front Travel: 120 mm
Rear Suspensions: Box-type structure swingarm
Rear Travel: 120 mm
Trail: 95 mm
Offset: 35 mm
Front Brake Diameter: Ø 320 mm with radial caliper
Rear Brake Diameter:Ø 240 mm
Front Tyre: 120-70/17; 120-65/17
Rear Tyre: 180-55/17; 190-50/17; 190-55/17
Length: 2039 mm
Width: 717 mm
Height: 1153 mm
Seat Height: 810 mm
Wheelbase: 1419 mm
Dry Weight: 199 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 19 lt
Fuel Reserve: 4 lt