Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shootout: BMW F800R vs Benelli TNT 899S

BMW F800R takes on the Benelli TNT 899S...

If ever there were two motorcycles that completely represent the sensibilities of the countries they come from – and probably the men that build them – it’s the BMW F800R and Benelli TNT 899S. The first is all straightforward no-frills practicality and stern demeanour, while the second one is all lush curves, dramatic style and Latin passion. But how do the two stack up in the real world? Toff magazine conducted a shootout between the two and here are some excerpts:

It’s like comparing a pit bull with a sheep – one is a bit extreme, the other merely good-natured. The Benelli, with its shining metallic orange paintwork and aggressive stance, is typically Italian. In comparison, the BMW is barely noticeable and barely audible – almost like a scooter!

Indeed, the BMW does not deign to come down to other bikes’ levels of juvenility – it remains reserved and almost intellectual – it isn’t for the sausage eating crowd. The F800R’s 89bhp parallel twin feels lively and likes revving hard, but when the throttles are wrenched open, the 120bhp TNT 899S pulls away from the BMW without much effort. The BMW feels less powerful and more softly sprung, though its chassis works quite well and feels better than the Benelli on bad roads.

The F800R has the ergonomics of a proper sportsbike and you may be a bit disappointed if you expected the bike to be extremely comfortable. It is more relaxed than the fiery Benelli though, and the only real irritant was the heated grips, which are easy to switch on by accident and which then end up roasting your fingers.

With its upright seating position and wide handlebars, The TNT 899S’ ergonomics are somewhat similar to the F800R’s. Its three-cylinder engine sounds rough as a coffee grinder when idling, but once on the move, it smoothens out completely and revs fast and hard till it hits the limiter. The gearbox is also all right, though not as smooth as the BMW’s transmission. The Benelli’s brakes, too, require more pressure at the lever and aren’t really as easy to modulate as the BMW’s stoppers.

Pit bull vs sheep? Yes, but the two bikes are also strikingly similar in many ways. Maybe it’s time we put our prejudices – regarding what German and Italian bikes stand for – to rest.

For the original article, visit the Toff magazine website here
Benelli pics via Raptors & Rockets
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