Test Benelli Tornado 900 Limited Edition
In the eye of the hurricane
»In the first, limited» edition of the? Tornado to break into the established competition.
Finally the time has come. Benelli is back. Very hot, very different. And committed to the name. Tornado ?? that stands for a thoroughbred race iron. Uncompromisingly sporty – and uncompromisingly different.
In fact, the very first contact with the tornado is likely to induce sensory overload, because the Benelli is consistently styled down to the smallest detail. The eye is on the trail of a completely new design language, discovering many a gem of modern metal and carbon fiber processing. Remains hanging on the forged Marchesini aluminum rims, strokes the brushed aluminum of the multifunction display, and does not want to give up the stylized b on the tank cap and footrest system. On the one hand. On the other hand, the fit of the lower part of the seat, for example, leaves a lot to be desired, and the limp and cheap clutch lever is in stark contrast to the premium claim of the 36,000 euro racer.
In the chapter »technical features«, however, this requirement is fully met. Newly designed three-cylinder, cooler above the rear wheel, composite frame made of steel and aluminum, fan in the rear fairing ?? There has not been something like that before.
Does it work? One press of the button and the tornado lives. And how! With the restrained whisper of Japanese in-line four-cylinder, what this 898 cubic centimeter large and with a bore-to-stroke ratio of 88 by 49.2 millimeters extremely short-stroke three-cylinder emits has nothing to do with it. A huge mechanical carpet of sound covers the motorcycle, with the rattling of the dry clutch playing first fiddle, while the throaty hissing from the Arrow titanium silencer follows the beat of the short bursts of gas. The triple turns up in a flash, the time of amazement is forgotten. Now it should start, it has to start. Plobb. And suddenly there is silence. Engine off. Embarrassed silence. Rookie mistake?
No, the dry clutch. It engages suddenly, the sudden flow of power to the rear wheel puts an end to the three-cylinder, which is already very capriciously working below 4000 rpm. Next try: Lots of gas and the extremely smooth clutch, like in two-stroke times. Yes, that’s it, the diva starts moving. The gearshift foot steps nimbly through the exact, but sometimes a bit gnarled gearbox, while the limbs come to terms with the offered ergonomic conditions. Sporty, compact, very front-wheel-oriented, the driver sits enthroned very high above the radiator. A seat height of 840 millimeters, combined with the difficult approach behavior of the Tornado, turn every traffic light start into a tightrope act for those with short legs. To make matters worse, there is also the tendency of the triplet, the pulled clutch and the zero position of the throttle grip to be viewed as a signal for the end of duty. It’s just embarrassing at traffic lights, but in a tight uphill bend it verges on bodily harm. “Gemach, Gemach”, the representatives of pure racing theory will interject, “this gem is not built for that. Where that belongs, a completely different wind blows. “
Right so, right so. If it would blow, beyond these unworthy rev lows. Only: Nothing really works. Firstly, Benelli corrected the envisaged performance from 150 over 143 to now civilian 136 hp, and secondly, the pious wish is the father of the thought, even with this performance specification. The three-cylinder, fed by a Sagem injection, delivered 121 hp on the test bench at the clutch and instead of the promised 100 Newton meters, 84 at 9700 rpm. Below the 7500 rpm threshold, it does not even reach 70 Newton meters. A torque weakness that can be experienced at any time. The three-speed maneuvers up the speed ladder very slowly and only really gets going from 7000 rpm. And beyond 10000 rpm he runs out of breath again. This process is accompanied by pithy vibrations, especially under load, and the throttle response in the lower speed range should also be more spontaneous.
Given the low weight of just 207 kilograms with a full tank of fuel, this reluctance is expressed in figures less dramatically than it feels: from zero to 100 km / h in three seconds, 200 km / h is reached in 9.5 seconds. The pulling power is also on par with other 120 hp racers. Nevertheless: those interested in tornado will certainly expect more for this price.
In view of this fact, there is little consolation that the chassis works at a higher level than the engine. The fine Ohlins components are of the usual quality, but the fork could have been tighter due to the extreme weight distribution (a full 110 kilograms on the front wheel, only 95 on the rear wheel). The high front wheel load requires the driver to drive like the race track with active weight shifting. Then the Tornado can be shooed around corners not overly manageable, but precisely and stably, but irritates during hard braking maneuvers? the youngest Brembo generation convinces once again with a splendid bite? sometimes with a light tail.
E.a dynamic that is unfortunately not offered at the other end of the curve. In view of two technical failures (once the ignition rotor said goodbye, once a fault in the cooling system was reported), it may only help any interested parties to hope for further development work from Benelli. The resemblance to the namesake really doesn’t have to go so far that there is calm in the center of the tornado.
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