It started life as the Benelli 2ue, debuting at the 2009 EICMA show as a follow-up model to the gorgeous (but horribly flawed) Benelli TnT 1130 series. The next year, the concept stayed the same, though the name changed to the Benelli Due – the “two” referring to the parallel-twin engine of this middleweight, distinguishing it from its three-cylinder sibling.
Since then, Benelli’s 750cc-class naked sport bike has popped up here and there, teasing us relentlessly. Last year at EICMA, the machine showed up again as a concept, slightly changed from its previous incarnation, though largely the same.
Now, we are being told that the 2019 Benelli 752S is ready for primetime (we have heard that before, mind you), and seemingly still, the Italian designed motorcycle continues to intrigues us.
For years, Benelli has lain dormant, at least in the US market. That changes with the Chinese owned, but Italian-run, firm releasing the first of many street bikes for American consumption. It kicks things off with the 2018 Benelli TnT 135 ($2,499).
US importer, SSR Motorsports, hosted a quick day ride that began atop Southern California’s Ortega Highway, and concluded in Newport Beach.
Renowned for its twists and turns, Ortega Highway is an amusing, but also very high-traveled ribbon of blacktop that links the bustling inland and beach communities.
This stretch of roadway is known for accidents as well – would the tiny TnT be able to keep up with “always in a hurry” SoCal drivers?
We have covered extensively the rise of the small-displacement motorcycle segment here at Asphalt & Rubber, and today we are swinging a leg over a bike that is probably well off your radar, the Benelli TnT 135.
Benelli is better known for its larger sport bikes in the US market, with the Italian brand making an exodus from our two-wheeled lexicon at the turn of the century.
Now under ownership by China’s Qianjiang Group, Benelli is better known for its smaller motorcycles, which sell better in emerging markets than they do in the United States.
American importer SSR Motorsports is hoping to change that, and today we have sent motorcycling’s favorite wild man, Adam Waheed, to go ride the Benelli TnT 135 in SoCal and report back to us on this unique brand and motorcycle.
Per our new review format, Adam will be giving you a live assessment of the Benelli TnT 135 right here in this article (down in the comments section), and there he will try to answer any questions you might have.
So, here is your chance to learn what it’s like to ride the TnT 135, before even Adam’s own proper review is posted. As always, if we don’t know an answer, we will try to get a response from the Benelli personnel. So, pepper away.
You can follow our thoughts on the bike live via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and you can see what our colleagues are posting on social media by looking for the hashtags #TnT135
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case, then the folks at Benelli are positively glowing for their fellow Italians at Ducati, as the Benelli 402S seems somehow very familia to our eyes…
Ok, let’s just call a spade a spade here: Benelli wholesale copied Ducat’s XDiavel motorcycle when the Pesaro company designed its latest machine, the Benelli 402S.
The 2017 EICMA show is rapidly approaching, and if history is any indication, leaks of the motorcycles from Italy will start dropping any day now. Sooner, if we have our say in it.
As the motorcycle industry gears up for the largest show of the year, we thought we would put together an exhaustive list of everything we expect to see at EICMA.
It goes without saying of course, be sure to stay tuned into our up-to-the-minute coverage of the EICMA show, as we will be bringing you the first glimpses and details of all the machines that will be coming for the 2018 model year, and beyond.
The Benelli Tornado 302 is an adorable motorcycle that boasts Italian design with Chinese manufacturing. When we showed it to you two years ago, it received positive acclaim, and was one of a handful of stand-out bikes that the Italian brand surprised us with at the 2015 EICMA show.
It seems now that Benelli is relaunching the Tornado 302, under a new name, the Benelli 302R. Little seems to have changed in the past two years, aside from a new graphics package on the bodywork, Euro4 compliance, and over course the new moniker.
The story of Italian motorcycle companies falling into bankruptcy is not a new one, but Benelli’s version of the narrative is a strangely interesting departure from the norm. Let us explain.
Things apparently kicked off when Benelli failed to pay WP Suspension roughly €120,000 for suspension pieces. WP eventually took Benelli to court, despite the Italian company’s commitment to repay its debt.
An Italian court in Pesaro then declared Benelli bankrupt, and ordered the sum owed to be paid. Somewhere in this process, some of Benelli’s completed motorcycles were seized by a trustee, as collateral for payment.
This spurred Benelli’s Chinese owners, the Qianjiang Group, to release a statement after the court’s ruling, saying that the Italian brand is strong, and has ample cash on-hand to repay its debts (rumored to be in the €1 million range), and has already begun doing so.
The 2015 EICMA show is finally over, and of course the guys from the Two Enthusiasts Podcast have something to say about everything that was unveiled in Milan. There is so much to talk about, in fact, that we had to break up the EICMA coverage into two separate shows.
So first up is Episode 9, which is Part 1 of our EICMA round-up. It covers all the happenings from the Italian OEMs: Aprilia, Benelli, Bimota, Ducati, Energica, Moto Guzzi, and MV Agusta.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 (Episode 10), which should debut on Wednesday, and will feature an in-depth discussion on the rest of the OEMs. Yes, that means double the Two Enthusiasts Podcast goodness for this week. Booyah!
Just like the Benelli Tornado Naked T, the Benelli Tornado 302 treads on one of motorcycling’s iconic names, replacing it with a budget-oriented model that has none of the pizazz of its namesake.
This is what Benelli has been reduced to as a motorcycle brand, and the reason why the West no longer takes Benelli seriously.
That all being said, if we beat our head against the wall long enough to forget the Benelli Tornado, in either its 900c or 1130cc variants, the Benelli Tornado 302 is a fetching small-displacement machine.
The Honda Grom has been a sales success that no one saw coming. But in true Honda fashion, the adorable monkey bike wormed its way into our hearts, and has been flying off dealership floors ever since.
A domain that’s normally dominated by Asian manufacturers, namely the Chinese, it is perhaps not surprising then that we see the Benelli Tornado Naked T breaking cover at the 2015 EICMA show.
Available in either a 125cc or 135cc air-cooled, four-valve, dual-spark, single-cylinder format (like there’s really a big difference between the two), the roughly 12hp machines are a stylish alternative to the Grom’s…gromness.
Comments on certain stories are predictable, and as such, we always expect some enduro rider to show up on an ADV story, and lament the weight of the bike in question, calling it too heavy to really go off-road.
That argument is bullshit, of course. Though, it is easier to handle a lightweight machine in the dirt than a heavy one, but you would be surprised at how capable any motorcycle is with a pair of knobby tires on it.
Just in case you are not convinced, we have got a little something for you. Behold the Benelli TRK 502. It’s got the profile of a condor, but the little 500cc adventure-tourer looks like it should do the job you are asking of it.