2018 Benelli TNT 135 Preview | Benelli Returns To The United StatesAfter a years-long absence from the United States, Benelli has a new importer—Benelli USA, which is part of SSR Motorsports in Norwalk, California.Now, if you’re expecting to get the big fire-breathing Benellis, you are going to have to wait. The first Benelli we will be seeing from Benelli USA is the Benelli TNT 135.
A direct competitor to the Honda Grom and Kawasaki Z125 Pro, the Benelli TNT 135 is offering more features at a lower price. The most obvious upgrade is the 135cc displacement, which gives the TNT 135 an eight percent advantage over the Grom and Z125.To enhance torque, the TNT 135 has a longer stroke than either Japanese 125. Benelli claims a class-leading 13 horsepower at 9000 rpm and 8 ft/lbs of torque at 7000 rpm—considerably higher rev numbers than the 125s.The engine is air-cooled, with a four-valve twin-spark head and SOHC arrangement. It also gets an oil cooler and oil filter. Like the Grom and Z125, the TNT 135 is fuel-injected, though it gets a 28mm throttle body, compared to 24mm on the 125s. Additionally, where the Japanese 125s have four-speed transmissions, the TNT 135 is a five-speed.The 2018 Benelli TNT 135’s chassis also looks quite sophisticated on paper. It has a trellis frame, beefy 41mm fork tubes, and longer rear-wheel travel than the 125 pair. This comes at a price in weight. At 266 pounds, the Benelli TNT 135 is 40 pounds heavier than the Z125 Pro and 35 pounds heftier than the Grom.Styling is certainly Italian. The twin organ-pipe muffler tips look like they could have been lifted from an MV Agusta. The steel trellis frame stands out, and the tail is clean due to use of a wheel-hugging rear fender. LED lighting is used extensively.Most shocking is the price of the 2018 Benelli TNT 135, which is just $2499. The 2018 Honda Grom’s MSRP is $3349, and the Kawasaki Z125 Pro has a $3199 sticker.It looks like a battle is brewing in the 125 class, and Benelli brought a cheater bike.