Chinese-owned Italian motorcycle brand Benelli has a new Indian partner: Mahavir Auto. The Hyderabad-based company, which has been in the vehicle dealership business for years, has begun assembling Benelli motorcycles at a new factory near Hyderabad. Local assembly from completely knocked down (CKD) kits has given Mahavir Auto cost savings, which they have passed on to the customer. This is the reason why Benelli’s entry level motorcycles – the TNT 300 street naked and the fully faired 302 – have become cheaper by upto Rs. 60,000. This whopping price drop of nearly 20 % means that the Benelli TNT 300 now starts from Rs. 2.99 lakhs while the fully faired 302R is priced at Rs. 3.10 lakhs. The TNT 300 has become cheaper by Rs. 50,000 while the 302R is Rs. 60,000 cheaper.
The price drop makes the entry-level Benellis a lot more attractive to buyers whose other options at this price point include the Kawasaki Ninja 300R, the Yamaha R3 and of course, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650. Even the KTM Duke 390/RC390 are bikes that many potential Benelli 300 buyers often consider. Coming back to the Benelli 300s, both motorcycles are powered by the same motor: a 300cc, in-line, liquid-cooled twin cylinder unit that produces a peak power of 36.2 Bhp and a peak torque of 27 Nm. The motor is best known for its exhaust note, which makes these bikes seem and feel faster than they actually are. Also, the sweet exhaust note begs the rider to rev these bikes hard, and extract the best performance from the engine.
As for cycle parts, both bikes use a Trellis frame, which is quite prominent on the naked version thanks to a distinct, red paint scheme on white coloured models. Upside down front forks handle suspension duties at the front while a monoshock unit handles rear shock absorption. Twin disc brakes on the front wheels and a single disc brake on the rear wheel are standard, and dual channel ABS is now on offer as standard fitment. Both the Benelli TNT300 and 302R are largish motorcycles (for their class) and feel more like 600s in terms of their sizes, than 300s. This size and the sweet exhaust note are two major selling points of these motorcycles, which are now sold in major cities of India where other sportsbike/superbike brands operate.
Vikas Jhabakh, Managing Director, Benelli India said,
We strongly believe in the value proposition of our products and customer sentiments towards the brand Benelli. We have witnessed a significant reduction in the manufacturing cost of the TNT 300 and 302R models and this has helped us to pass on the benefit to the biking enthusiasts in India.