Kawasaki ER-6n vs Benelli TNT 600i Comparison Review

The latest mid-range performance streetbikes in the Indian two-wheeler spectrum battle it out on some beautiful twisting mountain roads

Kawasaki ER-6n vs Benelli TNT 600i action shot

When one thinks of performance motorcycles or big bikes most of our two-wheeler buyers picture a sharp looking supersports motorcycle or a big burly cruiser. There is no doubt that these genres of motorcycles have their own charisma in the world of performance bikes. But given the traffic and road conditions of our country, streetbikes should be our definitive choice as we sell millions of them in the sub 150cc segment. Having said that, the options for a performance naked bike were limited till recently in the Indian two-wheeler market and most were in the litre-class segment like the Kawasaki Z1000, Honda CB1000, and Yamaha FZ1 etc.

Although consumers had the option of the Kawasaki Z800 and Triumph Street Triple, the above Rs 7 lakh pricing meant performance streetbikes were still out of reach for majority of the buyers. Gladly though, this has changed in the recent past as Kawasaki Launched the ER-6n which is essentially the naked version of the Kawasaki Ninja 650 sports tourer and DSK-Motowheels announced that it will be bringing in the Benelli TNT 600i to our market by end of 2014. We pitch the new two motorcycles against each other to find out which should be parked in your garage. 

Kawasaki ER-6n vs Benelli TNT 600i static

Design and Features:

Kawasaki ER-6n: rating_3.0_rating

Benelli TNT 600i: rating_4.0_rating

Let’s talk about the Kawasaki ER-6N first, and I have to admit, the bike isn’t pretty. Despite the fact that the bike is essentially the Kawasaki Ninja 650 barring its fairing, it cannot match the visual appeal of its sports tourer sibling. The biggest reason for this can be credited to the headlamp that just doesn’t gel well with the overall design and looks too timid on a performance streetbike. Also the fact that Kawasaki ER-6N will be only available in black doesn’t help its case either and I personally feel that Kawasaki India needs to offer it a vibrant colour like in the international market to make it more visually arresting. 

The Benelli TNT 600i adopts a more traditional streetbike styling with all muscle and flare. The bike has a traditional streetbike styling with a mass forward design language. Design highpoints on the Benelli TNT 600i include its sculpted fuel tank alongwith the sharp fuel tank extensions, chunky mudguards, beefy USD forks and split seats. The four pipes exiting from the powerplant, exposed trellis frame and the off-set rear mono-shock spring finished in a contrasting shade of yellow further help in enhancing the visual appeal of the motorcycle. But the party piece personally is the twin under seat exhaust mufflers, a design element that has been given the boot for better handling dynamics among modern machines.  

Kawasaki ER-6n vs Benelli TNT 600i rear

Both the bikes employ a part-analogue-part-digital instrument cluster with the analogue tachometer taking centre stage. The Kawasaki ER-6n’s instrument console is more pleasing on the eyes and is better to read when in motion.  Being premium motorcycles build quality alongwith fit and finish of the motorcycles are good. But the Kawasaki ER-6n feels better put together in comparison to the Benelli TNT 600i. 

Kawasaki ER-6n engine

Engine and performance: 

Kawasaki ER-6n: rating_4.0_rating

Benelli TNT 600i: rating_3.5_rating

Powering the Kawasaki ER-6n is a 649cc, liquid-cooled parallel-twin motor churning out 72PS at 8,500rpm and peak torque rating of 64Nm at 7,000rpm. The Benelli TNT 600i’s heart houses two extra cylinders that despite its smaller 600cc displacement pumps out 83PS at 11,500rpm and maximum torque of 52Nm at 10,500rpm. While the Benelli leads the charge in terms of power output, the Kawasaki triumphs with respect to torque figures. 

Swing a leg over the Benelli TNT 600i and one immediately feels like he is sitting on something special with the large fuel tank and wide handle bar actuating this feel. In terms of seating position, the flat handle bar, useful knee recess on the fuel tank and rear-set foot pegs result in a comfortable riding posture on the Benelli TNT 600i. In comparison, the Kawasaki ER-6n doesn’t exclude that aura of a big bike and one literally feels as if he is sitting on a beefier Bajaj Pulsar 200NS. Riding position on the Kawasaki feels a bit more comfy on the Kawasaki owing to the slightly raise handle bar. Seat heights on both the machines are almost similar and average height riders will not face any difficulty. At 208kg, the Benelli TNT 600i is just 4kg heavier than the Kawasaki ER-6n on paper but when you try to pull/push the bike while parking it feels relatively more cumbersome.

Benelli TNT 600i engine

Push the starter button on the Benelli TNT 600i and the in-line-four motor awakens on a furious note before settling down to a milder tone on idle. The 600cc motor is definitely among the best sounding stock engines on sale in our country and the buyer doesn’t really need to go in for an aftermarket exhaust system. Although the twin exhaust pipes emit a ferocious note when you hit the peak power band, the bike doesn’t gather momentum as quickly as one expects. The Benelli TNT 600i’s powerplant isn’t very tractable also as it makes most of its power at higher rpm and one has to constantly feed in the throttle to maintain good momentum. Having said that, the motor isn’t a slack, it’s just that it doesn’t feel as potent as it seems on paper. 

Benelli TNT 600i action shot

The parallel-twin motor of the Kawasaki ER-6n has a completely opposite characteristic as opposed to the Benelli offering. The powerplant isn’t the best sounding among the performance bikes on sale in our country but whack open the throttle and the Kawasaki ER-6n lunges forward with great gusto. One can instantaneously feel that the Kawasaki offering is much faster than the Benelli TNT 600i in a straight line. Given the fact that power is available on tap throughout the power band, it makes the Kawasaki ER-6n more fun to ride as well. This nature of the engine is extremely helpful while riding in crawling traffic speeds and also heat dissipation of the Kawasaki motor is better. 

Kawasaki ER-6n cornering shot

Ride, Handling and Braking:

Kawasaki ER-6n: rating_4.0_rating

Benelli TNT 600i: rating_3.0_rating

The Benelli TNT 600i employs a steel trellis frame and a cast aluminium swingarm with the engine working as a stressed member. Suspension duties are handled by massive 50mm USD upside-down forks and an adjustable mono shock on the rear side. The bike faced broken roads without any effort and offered a plush and compliant ride quality over undulated surfaces. In terms of handling, despite the sticky Pirelli tyres does feel lazy through the corners and one has to literally muscle your way to flick the bike from one corner to another. But the Benelli TNT 600i does maintain good cornering speeds and it also absorbed mid-corner bumps without any trouble. Braking is a department that the Benelli feels disappointing as the levers felt spongy and though the large disc brakes do offer good bite, it’s unpredictable. Also the fact that ABS is not offered even as an option makes life even more difficult for it. 

Benelli TNT 600i cornering shot

The Kawasaki ER-6n makes use of a double-pipe perimeter frame built from high tensile steel that is supported by telescopic forks at front and a monoshock setup at the rear. Ride quality isn’t the Kawasaki ER-6n’s forte as the stiffly sprung suspension setup means it offers a stiff ride quality over broken roads. But the stiff set up aids in the handling dynamics of the motorcycle as the bike attacks corner with great fervour. Also the chassis is very communicative and one can flick the Kawasaki ER-6n from one corner to another with relative ease and it easily trumps the Benelli in the handling division. Braking responsibilities on the Kawasaki ER-6n are handled by Dual semi-floating 300 mm petal discs at front and a single 220mm petal disc at the back. The brakes perform their task effortlessly and offer good bite alongwith positive feedback. Even the Kawasaki offering lacks ABS as an option but the standard brakes do a great job in shedding speeds unlike the Benelli TNT 600i.  

Kawasaki ER-6n vs Benelli TNT 600i in action


Kawasaki ER-6n: rating_4.0_rating

Benelli TNT 600i: rating_4.0_rating

DSK-Motowheels which will bring the Benelli brand to India haven’t divulged the pricing for the TNT 600i but we expect it to be priced under the Rs 6 lakh mark given the fact that the Kawasaki ER-6n retails for 4.78 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The Kawasaki ER-6n is a better engineered motorcycle with great handling dynamics and performance to compliment it. Also it’s a bike with which one can easily live on a day-too-day basis and it can take you to work or the mountains during weekend rides with utmost comfort.

Kawasaki ER-6n vs Benelli TNT 600i action shot

But the Kawasaki offering loses out in terms of visual presence and also the fact that despite its performance advantage when you ride the ER-6n it doesn’t feel special or a big bike like the Benelli TNT 600i. So if you want a good performance streetbike that doesn’t cost a fortune and is easy to live with, go for the Kawasaki ER-6n. But if you’re among the hordes of performance bike owners in India who want to attract eyeballs wherever they go and can live with decent performance and handling dynamics, then the Benelli TNT 600i is for you. 

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