Although the same basic architecture remains, the old 899cc in-line three cylinder Benelli Tornado engine gets new internals to make the Benelli TNT 899S more tractable, less fierce and simple to live with. It boasts a new cylinder head, pistons, cams and revised ignition mapping and unlike Benellis of old, all the on/off jerkiness has gone when you’re feathering the throttle at low revs. This makes the Benelli TNT 899S lovely to ride around town and much more predictable through the bends too. Acceleration isn’t up there with the Triumph Speed Triples and KTM Super Dukes of the world as it only has 118bhp and is quite heavy (it weighs 199kg), but there’s still plenty of performance to be had and a screaming exhaust note to savour at high revs. This brilliant new motor makes the Benelli TNT 899S seem like a completely new model, despite its familiar clothes.
Gifted test rider Gianluca Galasso and ex-factory Bimota rider is in charge of the development at Benelli nowadays and his mark is all over the TNT 899S. No longer are TNTs set up like a plank of wood, the suspension on this one is beautifully plush. The Benelli TNT 899S rides the bumps beautifully, but when you turn up the wick through the bends it stays nice and composed. Around town, the roomy, upright riding position is comfy and the wide bars give you lots of control. Non-radial brakes are up to the job, but the high all-up weight of the bike stops the Benelli from scoring a perfect five.
£7649 buys you a lot of Italian-built style, attitude and exclusivity and now, excellent build-quality and, we hope reliability too. If you’re in the market for a super naked that’s different, but easy to live with, the Benelli TNT 899S won’t disappoint. It’s just a shame that Benelli left it this long to give us what we wanted. We hope it’s not too late.
You get a lot of nice toys with the Benelli 899S, like fully adjustable suspension, Brembo calipers, carbon fibre infil panels and front mudguard. The swooping tubular steel trellis frame with its cast aluminium swingarm pivot still looks great after all these years and the tubular steel swingarm, complete with its eccentric adjusters are a work of art too.