Making a re-entry to take the throne away from the Gromers

Benelli was finding it difficult to locate its identity amidst the modern and competitive world, even more after a Chinese firm, Qianjiang acquired it. But now, it seems like a thing of the past. Benelli is trying to revive its fortunes by showcasing products designed by CentroStile Benelli and slowly helping their reputation get back to their original charm.

The firm has got itself a new importer – Benelli USA, a part of the SSR Motorsports in Greensboro, North Carolina. And the first Benelli coming to the USA from them is the TNT 135 monkey bike that made its appearance on our streets a few years ago, which was later discontinued. Now, it is coming back to snatch the throne from the Groms’ and the Z125s’.

  • 2018 Benelli TNT 135
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Transmission:
    5
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    13
  • Torque @ RPM:
    811
  • Displacement:
    134.7 cc
  • Price:
    2499
  • Price:
  • Overall:
    7.7/10

STYLING

2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775279

Heavy styling cues are picked up from its elder sibling, the TNT-25 and contoured it into a modern and youthful looking monkey bike. It sports an aggressive naked sports outlook with sharp and chiseled lines running all across the motorcycle. The bikini fairings and the tank shrouds integrate well together with the tank, and the body simply flows into the rear segment.

It boasts a dual-tone saddle and shoddy 12″ alloy wheels that makes this a proper Monkey squad. The cynosure of all is the twin-exhaust outlet that jet right below the pillion seat screaming of Italian flair. The front will sport dual headlamp units – halogen and a strip of projectors which look fresh and a little too much if you ask me.

2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775283

The lattice-steel frame is exposed in red, and the bike shows it off proudly. A fully digital instrument cluster sits atop the headlamp cowl. The rear gets an all LED treatment with the hazard lights/indicators being sculpted within the rear body panel.

Overall Dimension

Make Model 2018 Benelli TNT 135 Honda Grom
Length 68.9 in 67.1 in
Width 29.2 in 30.54 in
Height 40.3 in 41.69 in
Wheelbase 47.8 in 47.2 in
Seat height 30.8 in 30 in
Wet weight 266 lb 279 lb
Fuel Tank 1.9 gal 1.45 gal
Heavy styling cues are picked up from its elder sibling, the TNT-25 and contoured it into a modern and youthful looking monkey bike. It sports an aggressive naked sports outlook with sharp and chiseled lines running all across the motorcycle.

POWERTRAIN

2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775290

The motorcycle approves the old adage “Size Isn’t Everything” in literal terms. A raunchy 4-valve, oil cooled, 135 cc SOHC, single cylinder motor spins under the belly. It punches a healthy 13 bhp at 9000 rpm and peaks the torque graph at 8.11 lb-ft at 7000 rpm. It cranks all this power to the rear through a five-speed transmission.

The power mill is quite refined, and the smooth, controllable power bands offer ample amount of fun and thrashing capabilities. The 1 into 2 aluminum exhaust port looks fab and carries a rather hefty catalytic converter making this a Euro 4 certified machine.

2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775284

Engine Specification

Make Model 2018 Benelli TNT 135 Honda Grom
Capacity cc 134.7 124.9
Bore/ Stroke mm 54/58.8 52.4/57.9
Output 13 hp @ 9000 rpm 10 hp @ 9500 rpm
Torque 8.11 lb-ft @ 7000 rpm 7.3 ft-lb @ 7750 rpm
Type Single cylinder, 4 stroke, air cooled 4 valves, SOHC, double spark air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Clutch type Wet- Multiplate Wet multiplate
Transmission 5-speed 4-speed
The motorcycle approves the old adage “Size Isn’t Everything” in literal terms. A raunchy 4-valve, oil cooled, 135 cc SOHC, single cylinder motor spins under the belly.

RIDE AND HANDLING

2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775286

The motorcycle features a flat end bar along with footpeg positions suitable for a comfortable upright riding position. The two-tone saddle sits at a rather low 780 mm which will accommodate all sizes of riders.

Super strong lattice frame holds the bike like its larger brothers in the Benelli line-up. Suspension duties are handled by USD beefy 41 mm forks at the front and 50 mm rear lateral shock attached to the rear swing with spring pre-load adjustment. ABS gives a miss or could be optional, we hope.

2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775287
2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775280
2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775281

Both wheels get disc braking units with 220 mm and 2 pistons caliper at the front and a single disc 190 mm with a single-piston caliper at the rear. Aluminum 12” alloys carry fat, sticky tires that ensure the tiny TNT to handle the roads like a pro.

Chassis Specifications

Make Model 2018 Benelli TNT 135 Honda Grom
Frame Trestle in steel tubes Mono-backbone Steel frame
Suspension / Front 41 mm Upside-down forks 31mm inverted fork; 3.9 inches travel
Suspension / Rear Rear swing arm with lateral shock absorber with spring pre-load adjustment Single shock with steel box-section swingarm; 4.1 inches travel
Brakes / Front Single 220 mm disc. Caliper: Dual-piston Single 220mm disc with hydraulic dual-piston caliper (ABS: w/ ABS)
Brakes / Rear Single 190 mm disc. Caliper: Single-piston Single 190mm disc with hydraulic single-piston caliper (ABS: w/ ABS)
Tires / Front 120/70-ZR12 120/70-12
Tires / Rear 130/70 – ZR12 130/70-12
The motorcycle features a flat end bar along with footpeg positions suitable for a comfortable upright riding position. The two-tone saddle sits at a rather low 780 mm which will accommodate all sizes of riders.

PRICE

2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775285

Although no official announcements have been made regarding the price and availability, we are speculating Benelli to price the 135 between $2,000 and $2,500. You can get the TNT in White, Black and Red color pallets with the exposed red frame.

This is a bargain compared to the $3,199 price tag of the Honda Grom and $2,999 for Kawasaki Z125.

COMPETITION

Honda Grom

2017 - 2018 Honda Grom
- image 679120

Honda sort of created a niche for itself with the original Grom in 2014 when it combined big-bike features with scooter-like proportions. Since then, Honda’s worthy competitors have been scrambling to catch up.

That being said, Honda has dressed up their little Grom in 2017, giving it more aggressive styling and a new LED headlight that was carried over to 2018. Twelve-inch tires, while still small for a motorcycle, are a lot bigger than the Z-series tires and a 30-inch seat sits anyone without hinderances.

Honda stuffed a reliable little thumper into the Grom. Officially billed as a 125, the 52.4 mm bore and 57.9 mm stroke actually adds up to 124.8 cc with a relatively low, 9.3-to-1 compression ratio. A four-speed, manual transmixxer, and chain drive make the final connection to the rear wheel with an honest-to-goodness clutch — none of the automatic-shifting, CVT units associated with scooters to be found here.

Unlike the original monkey bikes, the Grom rolls on 10-spoke, cast rims capped by 12-inch hoops with a 120/70 profile up front and a 130/70 in the back. At 229 pounds wet, there really isn’t much energy here to keep under control, but bless Honda for shunning the drum brakes in favor of hydraulic discs. A twin-pot caliper binds a 220 mm front disc, with a single-pot caliper to pinch the 190 mm rear. No ABS or linked-brake system, just straight-up, honest brakes.

VERDICT

2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775289

This will change the whole dimension of the segment in the country. When it lands, it will be the most powerful Monkey motorcycle and the least powerful Benelli to be offered.

It is constructed mainly to please the young, and new riders looking for some fun and entertaining piece of machinery. It is quite literally the most accessible manual motorcycle to ride with ‘advanced suspension, a strong steel frame, alloy wheels with disc brakes, grippy, all-weather tires and racy, naked-bike styling that will have you grinning all day long’.

The sporty ergonomics and race inspired instruments along with a good performance package will make this a highly sought after pocket-bike.

2018 Benelli TNT 135 Exterior
- image 775288
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