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Benelli Keeway Motorcycles (BKM) recently introduced the 2016 TnT25 in the Malaysian market. The name Benelli goes back a hundred years in Italy, as a maker of both firearms and motorcycles. Today Benelli makes a range of motorcycles under Qiang Jiang of China, while the firearms business continues as a separate entity.

In November 2015, Benelli introduced the TnT25 in the region. Designed by the Benelli design office in Pesaro, Italy, the TnT25 is assembled in Malaysia by BKM at their factory in Bandar Bukit Beruntung in Selangor. Manufactured in China, the TnT25 is built to a price-point, and is designed for urban transportation as a proper motorcycle.

The 2016 Benelli TnT25 is cheap at RM12,990, compared to other offerings in the quarter-litre class, such as the Kawasaki 250, Honda CBR250R and Yamaha R-25, which retail around the RM20,000 mark.

But what the TnT25 shows isn’t necessarily cheap and low quality, which some perceive of made-in-China bikes. While many of the features we would expect from the major manufacturers are not there, the Benelli TnT25 doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is, affordable city transportation.

At first glance, the naked Benelli TnT25 borrows a lot from the DNA of its siblings, the TnT300 and TnT600. After feedback from local riders that a 250 cc bike was preferable to upgrading their licenses to ‘B1’ or full ‘B’ status, Benelli produced the 250 to fulfil demand.

For the local market, BKM is targetting the Benelli TnT25 at the lower to mid-end motorcycle market. So, what is the 2016 Benelli Tnt25 like to ride?

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The test bike issued to paultan.org came is a bright shade of fire-engine red. Certainly eye-catching, it made the bike look visually bigger. Close-up, though, the TnT25 is physically a small and light motorcycle, albeit a touch tall in the seat. The finish of the paintwork is certainly acceptable, and wouldn’t be out of place on a bike costing RM6,000 more.

Streetfighter styling does give this quarter-litre bike some striking looks, and it is certainly easy on the eye. Getting on reveals a no-fuss cockpit, with an analogue tachometer mated to an LCD instrument gauge with speedometer, fuel gauge, gear indicator, temperature, odometer and clock, and a set of warning lights on the other side.

Grabbing the handlebars places the hands in a neutral position that will suit most riders, and knee clearance was generous for our 1.68 metre tall test rider. The switchgear was considered based on cost, and it shows. Some of the tabs felt a little flimsy while wearing heavy gloves and delicacy of touch is called for.

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Suspended in front by upside-down telescopic forks, the front-end gave nothing to complain about, save that the forks were non-adjustable. For the heavier rider, some surgery and swapping of hydraulic fluid may be called for, after the warranty expires of course. The TnT25 comes shod with Metzeler tyres front and rear at no extra cost, and contribute to the bike’s easy handling.

At the rear, a single coil absorber does the duties. Adjustable only for pre-load, careful setting is required here. We tested two TNT25s, and the rear shock settings were different, giving opposing ride characteristics. It doesn’t take much to affect the shock setting, so have a chat with your Benelli dealer and get the shock pre-load set right for your riding style, or if you carry a passenger on a regular basis.

Benelli was kind enough to give us an extended test on the 2016 TnT25, and the time was used to thoroughly put the bike through its paces. Using our usual test loop of a mix of highway, back roads and hills, the TnT handled most types of riding with a certain competence.

Chucking the TnT25 into sharp corners showed it was fairly easy to upset the bike’s composure, and there is no ABS or traction control to bail out the ham-fisted rider here. Lines must be chosen wisely with the TnT25, and mid-corner corrections will require the rider to have a certain amount of riding experience.

Hard braking, and we are talking of racetrack levels of hard, revealed a fade in performance, which settled down to a certain amount of excessive lever travel. Although worrisome, this could be addressed with a flush and bleed of the brake system quite easily. This bike is not designed for serious sporty riding, and certainly, that would not be the reason to buy one. What it will do, in terms of ride characteristics, is perform as able daily transport for the city rider.

The EFI single-cylinder, 249 cc engine performed well during our review, never hesitating to start, and warming up quickly. The clutch lever pull was light, and did not strain the left hand during riding in heavy traffic. Power delivery was very linear, with no abrupt transitions. The TnT25 felt best at around 6,000 rpm, with translated to about 100 km/h, perfect for cruising on the open road.

While Benelli claims the TnT25 puts out 25 hp and 21 Nm torque, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. The trick to riding the TnT25 is keeping it in the engine’s sweet spot, and always be prepared for a quick down-shift or two on the gears for over-taking manoeuvres. Keep the engine on song, and the gearbox in the right cog, and the TnT25 will perform.

Living with the 2016 Benelli TnT25 was easy. Its light weight and short wheelbase made quick work of cutting through traffic, and parking was a breeze. The 780 mm seat-height will accommodate most riders, and the rear pillion seat is comfy enough for short rides. Paultan.org was informed that a full range of top-boxes and panniers are available for the TnT25 from Givi, which suits the bike’s intended purpose for city riding.

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BKM retails the 2016 Benelli TnT25 for RM12,990, excluding insurance, road tax and GST. A rough estimation puts the on-the-road price for the TnT25 at around RM14,000, or thereabouts. There are two colours schemes available, the bright red which was tested, and an emerald green paintjob. BKM are currently embarking on expanding their retail and service network to support Benelli riders throughout Malaysia.

This quarter-liter naked is targetted at the young rider looking for their first ‘real’ motorcycle, as a step up from the underbone bike they are riding, or for the rider who needs fuss-free daily transport that is cheap to own and maintain. There were no real complaints about the TnT25, once you take it for what it is, save for a slightly notchy gearbox that needed a firm foot to change gears. The 2016 Benelli is worth a test, and if you’re in the market for a daily rider, there is a lot of money to be saved.