Benelli TnT125 – Diary of a Wimpy Bike | Bike Tests | Latest Tests
Novelty-sized bikes are a thing these days, but just how versatile can an air-cooled 125cc nakedbike with 12-inch tyres really be? We spend a month or so on Benelli’s TnT125 and find out.
Little-big bikes and versatility aren’t four words I’d normally use together. Especially when I was walking around the Benelli TnT125 looking at potential tie-down points. You see, the number-plate hanger and the indicator mounts – all spots where you can usually anchor something onto the pillion seat – are mounted off the swingarm. And whenever that’s bouncing up and down, you’re never going to get anything to stay put.
The only other thing in the pillion seat’s vicinity is the passenger footpeg stays and, even better, they’ve got a tiedown-sized cut out in them with my name on it. A fruitless tiedown-sized cut out it would transpire, because not only are they too far forward to get any rear-seat purchase, the right-hand side steers the strap directly over the hot exhaust.
Just as I’m about to write the thing off as altogether too impractical for anything other than turning a few heads on your commute, I notice that the passenger pegs themselves boast a very small hollowed out design and it just so happens one of my favourite sets of tie downs are 5mm wide. They sit out an inch or so further than the mounts so will clear the exhaust, too – with a bit of ingenuity, this might just work.
For the sake of transparency, I do a bit of hiking and therefore own a lot of strong, lightweight and compact kit. A lot of the things I was able to do on the TnT was because of the type of gear I was able to do it with. A one-piece fishing rod, for example, or a big green swag wouldn’t find a place on the pillion pad of the TnT, but things like my telescopic rod and 900g one-man tent proved perfect companions for what I soon realised was, too, a lightweight, compact yet strong little bike.
I had one self-imposed rule during my time with the TnT and that was I wanted to do as many different things that I could without ever having to don a back-pack. The TnT’s first test was to successfully ferry me to a night camping.
With a tent, bed roll, sleeping bag, stove, fuel, water, food and booze all packed tightly into three seperate bags which were then all tied together, my star tiedowns would ensure the whole thing stayed exactly where it needed to be for the 45-minute ride to my campsite. And while I took photos before I left home, you’ll need to trust me that the TnT passed with flying colours. That said, a USB outlet would have come in handy as my phone died before I was able to grab a shot of my well-equipped bush digs.
Next up was fishing; two tackle boxes, a fishing rod, a rod holder, a roll of leader, a bucket, a knife (and a roll of tape in order repeat the process for my trip home). Though without the width of a bed roll to gain a direct line over the exhaust to the one and only mounting point, if I was going to get this stuff down to the beach and back, I had to come up with another solution.
It’s not very often you come across a bike which requires tools to remove the pillion seat (the keyed lock is reserved for the rider seat), but I was quite happy about it in this case. Because if I was going to tie all of my things to the seat itself, then I needed to be sure it was going to stay put and not be dependent on a loose or dicky locking mechanism.
School drop-off was by far the most straight forward duty the little Benelli performed and caused quite the scrum at the school gate when the kids saw a kindred spirit in the TnT. Freeway riding was also far easier than I ever expected it to be. In fact I spent a good hour between 100 and 117km/h (the highest number I saw all month) and didn’t feel nearly as vulnerable as I thought.
“That’s all very well,” my brother said, knowing about my collection of compact and lightweight kit. “But I bet you can’t do the groceries on it.”
Challenge accepted and, after I worked out that a milk crate cable-tied to a piece of timber long enough to ensure I could clear the exhaust, sitting on a newspaper so as to not damage the seat, was the way forward, I headed to the supermarket, purchased $100 worth of groceries and ferried it all home, intact and still sans back-pack – mission accomplished!
The likelihood of anyone buying a motorcycle like to this to perform any of the duties I asked of it is slim, I know. But I set out to try and change the preconceived judgements surrounding these bikes and to prove that with a bit of creative resourcefulness, you can pretty much do whatever you want on any bike you own.
And the TnT is rolling proof.
Read the full test here: http://amcn.com.au/editorial/benelli-tnt125-2/