Earlier this year, Benelli revealed four motorcycles at the 13th Auto Expo that they plan to launch in the near future. One of them is a full-faired sportbike, Tornado 302, and it is clearly directed at the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Yamaha YZF-R3.
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The Tornado 302 is based on the naked TNT 300 which means it has the same 300cc parallel twin engine. It is liquid cooled, has 4-valve per cylinder and DOHC. The power is speculated at 36 BHP at 12,000 RPM and 27 NM of torque at 9,000 RPM. While the power figure is around 3 PS lower than the TNT 300, the torque is about the same. What’s ironic is usually the full-faired versions produce equal or more amounts of power than their naked siblings.
Also, the TNT 300 scales at 196 kg ready-to-ride. This is a pretty heavy motorcycle and we believe that with all this bodywork, the Tornado 302 will likely weigh even more. That is not going to be an impressive number against the likes of Ninja 300 and R3 that weigh 172 kg and 169 kg respectively.
What’s going for it?
The motorcycle looks pretty good. The design is proportionate and gives a big bike feel to the motorcycle, just like in the case of Kawasaki and Yamaha.
As far as the engine specifications are concerned, the Tornado 302 doesn’t offer anything over the Ninja and the R3, Yamaha being the most powerful of the trio. None of the three motorcycles has ABS (in India) while the Tornado has twin disc setup up front making it look sportier. Unlike the Ninja 300, the 302 does not offer the Slipper & Assist Clutch. Also, the Tornado has upside-down forks at the front compared to the conventional telescopic suspension on both the Ninja and the R3.
We sincerely thank DSK Benelli for letting us ride the Tornado 302.
The ride quality is pretty good and it offers sporty yet comfortable riding stance. The acceleration from the engine is linear and there are no surprises in store. Overall, it is a well-made motorcycle put together nicely, but is that enough?
Can Benelli make a difference?
Let’s understand one thing – It is not easy to compete against the Japanese and especially for someone who doesn’t compete at the same level. Benelli might have its roots in Italy, but today, it is owned by a Chinese motor group Qianjiang. The Tornado 302 is heavier and makes the smallest numbers between the three. The only way Benelli can hope to disrupt the market of the two Japanese is by pricing their motorcycle aggressively.
All said and done there is one aspect which could make people lean towards this bike – it is how it sounds. If you have heard the sound of the TNT300 naked which is sold right now in India, you will be pleasantly surprised at the sweet aural note the bike has – it almost sound like an inline four 600 at mid to high rpms. In a country where looks and anything which can be a ‘swag’ matters, this is indeed a big plus for the bike.
For now, all we can do is play the waiting game!