From the brink of oblivion (again), Benelli slip their smaller triple into the tall and funky Tre-K chassis. The result is pretty damn fine, but can it save their ass?
Click to read: Benelli Tre-K 899 owners reviews, Benelli Tre-K 899 specs and to see the Benelli Tre-K 899 image gallery.
Benelli describes its Tre-K 899 as an entry-level sports-tourer, and by the Italian firm’s standards that’s exactly what it is. Along with the 899 TNT, the Tre-K has the smallest engine and lowest price in Benelli’s range of triples. And, like its big brother, the 1130 Tre-K, the new 899 is a relaxed alternative to the naked TNT.
But you’ve only got to hook a leg over the 899’s tall seat and hit the starter button, bringing the 12 valve triple to life with a malicious burble from the underseat silencer, to realise Benelli’s definitions differ from those of most other firms. By the time you’ve howled through the gears and flicked through a few bends, it’s clear the new Tre-K is no sports-touring softie but a sweethandler big on three-cylinder character.
That said the downsized Tre-K does have some long-distance credentials. It’s closely based on the 1130 Tre-K, the first new model launched after ailing Benelli was taken over by Chinese giant Qiang Jiang in 2005. Like that bike, the 899 combines Benelli’s familiar aluminium and tubular steel frame with more relaxed steering geometry, increased suspension travel and a half-fairing with an adjustable screen.
The motor is a mildly detuned version of the smaller TNT’s 898cc, liquid-cooled motor. New camshafts and revised injection mapping combine to boost low-rev power while reducing the peak output from 120bhp to 106bhp at 10,000rpm. Benelli claim the 899K’s touring ability is enhanced by its leaner-burning engine, giving better fuel economy than the thirsty 899 TNT. Whatever, the detuned three-pot motor is brilliantly flexible, pulling from 2000rpm with the stomp you’d expect of a bigger engine. Accelerating out of bends with about 5000rpm on the tacho, the Benelli hauls hard, helped by a sweet-shifting six-speed box. Top speed’s about 140mph; fast enough for most.
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