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
One of the surprise pleasures at last year’s EICMA show was Honda’s family of “Neo-Sports Café” street bikes, which brought a retro-modern look to Big Red’s approach road bikes.
While the new Honda CB1000R tickled our fancy the most, we were delighted to see that the theme extended all the way to the Japanese brand’s small-displacement platform, the Honda CB300R.
An attractive and affordable entry-level bike, the Honda CB300R looks like it was designed in Europe, rather than Nippon, which is probably why the 286cc commuter is doing so well in the European market.
Seeing that success, American Honda has confirmed the CB300R as an early 2019 model for the US market – available in July 2018.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Supersport 300 class is heating up, and perhaps most interestingly with virtually zero machines with a 300cc displacement…but that is a subject for another time.
This has put pressure on KTM to remain at the pointy end of business in the small-displacement category, which has lead the Austrian company to the release of a homologation special for the 300cc class. As such, say hello to the 2018 KTM RC390 R sport bike.
A street legal motorcycle, the KTM RC390 R aims to sharpen the points where the entry-level KTM RC390 is a bit dull, namely by using better suspension and new intake trumpets that widen the powerband, but also with a new triple clamp, clip-ons, and levers.
With an MSRP of $8,499 for the RC390 R, the “ready to race” model commands a $3,000 premium over its lower-spec sibling. Of course, if you are really serious about your racing, you will want KTM’s Supersport 300 race kit as well, which will set you back another $11,000.
That’s right, for nearly $20,000, you can race in the “affordable” 300cc race class with KTM.
Regular Asphalt & Rubber readers should recognize the name TVS as the brand behind BMW’s small-displacement lineup of motorcycles, with the Indian firm also releasing its 300cc-class sport bike, the TVS Apache RR 310.
Here is another reasons to take notice of the TVS Motor Company though, as it just debuted a hybrid gas-electric cruiser concept, which not only is interesting from a technical perspective, but it looks pretty good too.
For the Western world, the TVS Zeppelin isn’t going to blow the doors off the market, at least not with the quoted specs, but TVS does have some clever ideas for the model.
Episode 68 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is one of our last shows recorded in 2017, and it’s a good one.
In this show, we start out with a discussion about the TVS Apache RR 310S – a bike that is very likely to become the basis for BMW’s next sport bike. This then leads to a discussion about the supersport class, and how to make more compelling models for enthusiasts.
Our attention then turns to the coming rule changes for the World Superbike Championship, and the rumors of similar movements in the MotoAmerica Championship. These changes will also have effects on future production machines, which we speculate upon.
The show wraps up with an interesting discussion about the motorcycle media landscape and what it means to be a “journalist” in this industry, and during this point in time in media consumption.
All in all, it’s a very interesting show, and we think you will enjoy it.
You can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well.
We hope you will join the conversation, and leave us some audio comments at our new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As expected, the TVS Apache RR 310 debuted today in India, thus ending the bike’s nearly year-long delay in coming to market.
Why do we care so much about a motorcycle that will likely never set foot on US soil? Because at the heart of the TVS Apache RR 310 is BMW Motorrad’s next small-displacement motorcycle: the BMW G310RR.
…well that, and the TVS Apache RR 310 looks pretty tasty as a track bike.
We have been patiently waiting for the TVS Apache RR 310S (formerly known as the TVS Akula 310) to debut in India, though probably not for the most obvious of reasons. Now, with only a matter of hours before it officially debuts, we have some thoughts on the newest sport bike from India.
While we are intrigued by the new motorcycles that debut in India, the TVS Apache RR 310S is a bit more special for Western riders.
Built in collaboration with BMW Motorrad, the TVS Apache RR 310S gives us our first glimpse into what the German brand’s 300cc-class sport bike will look like, which should hopefully debut late-2018.
Based around the same 313cc engine (34hp) that is found on the BMW G310R and BMW G310GS, that TVS Apache RR 310S is expected to be a BMW G310RR wrapped in different bodywork.
The 300cc sport bike class has become the 400cc sport bike class – the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 is proof of this. As expected, the all-new Ninja 400 model comes to the United States for the next model year, and replaces its smaller sibling.
This perhaps is good news for American riders, as Kawasaki USA isn’t raising the price ($4,999 for the non-ABS model) of the small-displacement machine, with the ABS model priced between $5,299 and $5,499 (the latter is for the KRT race replica).
Featuring a completely new chassis and motor, the Kawasaki Ninja 400 also borrows its styling cues from the supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2 lineup.
If you think that the 2018 Honda CB1000R is a fetching motorcycle, then we’ve got some more good news for you, because Honda Motor Europe has debuted at EICMA two more bikes with its “Neo Sports Café” aesthetic: the Honda CB125R and the Honda CB300R.
As you can discern from the names, the Honda CB125R and Honda CB300R are street bikes that shares a lineage with the Honda CB1000R, albeit in 125cc and 300cc packages, respectively.
As such, the 2018 Honda CB125R is basically a redesigned CBR125R (a model not available in the US market), while the 2018 Honda CB300R is a repurposed to create the Honda CBR300R.
There is no replacement for displacement, the old adage tells us, and that is exactly the driving force behind the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400, which debuted today at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Replacing the Kawasaki Ninja 300 in the lineup, the Kawasaki Ninja 400 is set to be Team Green’s new entry-level model, and help Kawasaki better compete against bigger bikes like the Yamaha YZF-R3 and KTM RC390.
This news may come as a shock however, since the Ninja 300 was only available for five years (whereas the Ninja 250R served in various guises for decades), but Kawasaki says the major driving force behind the new model is the Euro4 homologation requirements, which required a clean-slate design.
It looks like Kawasaki’s small-displacement family is about to grow, as Team Green is set to add another model to its Ninja lineup. Spotted in the California Air Resources Board (CARB) filings by the eagle eyes at Motorcycle.com, the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 is surely coming to US soil.
The model was first spotted during shooting for a advertisement, by a local TV station in Milwaukee. With Kawasaki already having a 300cc version of the Ninja for the American market, it’s not clear how a 400cc model will fit into the Japanese company’s scheme.
Either the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 will replace the popular Ninja 300 for the US market, or both bikes will be offered to American riders. Both options are hard to fathom however.