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With the launch of the 2017 Benelli TnT135 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Kuala Lumpur today, local distributor Benelli Keeway has shown its intention to grab some of the local mini-moto market. Retailing at a price of RM8,469.40, including GST, the TnT135 is aiming for the newbie, fun bike market currently dominated by the Kawasaki Z125 Pro.

Carrying an oil-cooled, 135 cc, twin-spark, SOHC single-cylinder engine, the TNT135 produces a claimed 13 hp that Benelli says is spread across the engine’s entire rev-range, making the bike flexible and easy to ride. The engine is coupled to a five-speed gearbox, that allows the rider to best match engine power to road speed.

Electric start is standard, and the slanted, sporty exhaust we spotted during the Benelli TnT135‘s showing at the 2016 Sepang MotoGP is a nice design touch, very much resembling the exhausts on the MV Agusta Brutale 800. The frame is a steel tube trellis-frame design, carrying over in styling from the Benelli TnT25.

Suspension is with a 41 mm upside-down fork in front, and a single shock absorber at the back that is adjustable for pre-load. The TnT135 rolls on 12-inch alloy wheels with high-profile tyres, and LED lighting features throughout. A digital instrument cluster displays all the rider needs to know, with the overall styling having much in common with Benelli’s bigger bikes.

At a price of RM8,469 including GST, the 2017 Benelli TnT135 compares favourably with the 125 cc, four-speed, 2016 Kawasaki Z125 Pro, which retails at RM10,435, inclusive of GST. Rumour has it that the Honda MSX125SF – aka the Grom – will also be released in Malaysia soon.

Meanwhile, Dante Bustos, chief marketing officer for Benelli, said during a press conference that the Benelli TRK 502 will be launched worldwide between April and June next year, after encouraging response during its initial launch in China.