ASD steel tube
trellis swingarm with Extreme Technology single shock absorber with
adjustable rebound and spring preload.
2 x 320 mm Ø, discs 4 piston caliper
Single 240 mm Ø disc, 2 piston caliper
Length: 2183 mm / 85.9 in
Width: 850 mm / 37.4 in
Height: 1320 mm / 51.9 in
1515 mm / 59.6 in
838 mm / 32.9 in
140 mm / 5.7 in
205 kg / 451.9 lbs
18 Litres / 4.8 US gal
5.6 L/100 km / 17.9 km/l / 42.1 US mpg
Standing 0 - 100km/h / 62 mph
Standing 0 - 140km/h / 87 mph
Standing 0 - 200km/h / 124 mph
221.4 km/h / 137.5 mph
Outside the known limits". A new bike for a new way of riding. The frame was
designed for an easy ride and sensitivity to reactions, to resist every
shock in any situation. The new position of the radiator allows high thermal
exchanges at low speeds and for off road use too. As for the new frame, the
new shape guarantees an easy ride and ride neutrality, both being unique
features for a bike in this class. The rear suspension was designed to
guarantee the best stability, without losing comfort or suspension reaction.
The TRE K 1130 is safe to ride in any condition.
It's a postcard from Italy, with the sun gracing the east
coast roads in the hills between Pesero and Rimini. What they never pan down to
reveal in these idyllic tourist scenes is the mad jostle of Italian traffic
competing for the road. No one does traffic like the Italians; at first blush
it's chaos and at second it still is. Somehow it all works, and heart in your
throat you've no choice but dive. It is an experience as quintessentially as
Italian the big-trailie inspired Benelli Tre-K I'm riding... which in some ways
First, the Italians would probably dub the Tre-K a moto totale, which is far
more stylish than "big trailie". Second, it is China's Qianjiang that has
resurrected Benelli. That fits an Italian brand; not so long ago Ducati was
infused with Texan dollars, at least Qianjiang produces 1,200,000 motorcycles
and scooters a year, rather than say crude. That makes Qianjiang one of the
world's largest manufacturers helping one of the world's smallest. With the
Adriatic's curves falling beneath our tires and a splendid three-cylinder opus
trumpeting through the Tre-K's single under seat silencer, it's hard to convey
just how little such incongruities matters.
The Tre-K, pronounced "Kay" or "Kappa" depending on which
corporate type you chat with, has handily overcome its confused heritage. It
looks a bit adventure thanks to wide bars, adjustable windscreen, and belly pan,
but like the Tre-K's targets, the Triumph Tiger and Ducati Multistrada, it is a
pure road beast. It fires up with a guttural, raw, thrap, conveying that you're
on the business end of bike from a company that also used to manufacture guns.
It just makes the soul quiver a little.
From there the hunt begins. Smooth and effortless acceleration punches you
through to an approximate top end of 145mph. Tap the lever into the tallest
ratio on the six-gear transmission and you can pleasantly toddle along at
100mph. All along, the 1130cc in-line three-pot reassuringly exudes the power it
has on tap. Benelli has put serious effort into the low-rpm power delivery with
Some engines have a "sweet spot" - the Tre-K's has a sweet ocean, swelling with
torque from 3000 and 7000rpm. The plant may be down tuned from the TNT, but it
still musters a claimed 125hp at 9000rpm, and 85ft-lbs of torque at 6250rpm.
That leaves Triumph's new Tiger 1050 some 10hp in the rear-views, and the
Multistrada 1100 a distant spec some 30hp back. The 1130 is rougher and less
refined feeling then the Triumph's engine, but it's also more engaging.
Like any good exotic there is an element of gimmickry to the K, like its
uniquely Italian solution to the issue of emissions standards. A button on the
instrument panel's left is for "Power Management", allowing you to flip the ECU
between a soft and more aggressive engine mapping. Marketing may try to sell
this button as being useful in the wet when softer throttle response is desirous
or a fuel saver for when you feel like giving the planet a hug. It's nothing of
the sort; it's an irony.
The button only works under 4000 rpm and that is suspiciously close to one of
the Euro3 emissions test limits. Tested in "soft" mode it's likely that the
Tre-K squeaks thru. It's a very Italian solution, working around the rules,
which leaves the K relatively free of lean surging hassles and engine management
issues... and it didn't even involve bribery.
Kudos to Benelli, I say. I'll choose the days I'm out to save
mother earth, thanks kindly, and the ones where I want to put the enviro-mentalists
through the wringer by twisting the throttle till rough idle becomes an enraged
three-lunged howl. In power mode it's much easier to lift the front tire. That
saves rubber, which is quite eco-friendly of me.
Back on the road, nipping through the Italian twists, I'm struck by just how
dexterous the Tre-K is despite the claimed 205kg dry weight. Then again, so is
every other bike in this class. No one has ever accused the Multistrada of
dogging it through the corners, nor the Triumph Tiger 1050. Eventually we'll all
just take it for granted that these moto totale's handle as well as sportbikes
despite the looks... Then what a shock it will be to hop back on a Yamaha TDM.
Like the others, leverage from the Tre-K's wide bars make it easy to change
line, but an elegant chassis certainly helps, too.
The K's frame is the same sort of sculpture found on its sibling, the TNT; a
trellis of steel tube fused to a boxed aluminum rear section, with a beefy
die-cast aluminum subframe to boot. The steering geometry is more relaxed than
the TNT, and, in conjunction with a sensible 50-50-weight distribution, handling
is nicely neutral. It all works fabulously, tracking easily through the bends
and side-to-side turns are a near effortless event. The result is a geometry
that lets the bike do the heavy work as it cheerily tracks through the turns.
Keeping with the usable nature of the Tre-K, smoothing out the ride and suiting
the pillion-and-luggage set is a rear mono-shock with adjustable rebound and
remote pre-load, which is just good sense. Up front is a serviceable
non-adjustable 50mm Marzocchi upside-down fork, which does fine on the road and
soaks up the bumps. Nor is there too much dive when the 4-piston Brembo calipers
put the bite on the twin 320-mm discs up front.
The entire setup is fairly supple, but not too soft for shooting the corners
with formidable efficiency. More important, the ride quality is excellent, even
over the worst heaved and cracked of roads. The 17-inch Brembo aluminum alloy
rims are shod in Dunlop D270's, a road biased crossover tire, with a tread
pattern that could handle a bit of gravel should the need arise. How sensibly
un-Italian? Or can we even say such things considering who kicked off this trend
with the delightful Multistrada.
Before we get too caught up with terms like "practical" and "sensible" there are
a few particulars to be aware of. Shorter riders might find the 810mm the seat
height a bit high, though by comparison that's 40mm lower than the Multistrada
1100's. Low pegs keep the knees loose for tall types, but the result is easily
scraped pegs and toe-sliders. Steering lock is a bit tight in the parking lot,
but the 1130 engine's flexibility and the K's agility are still going to be a
boon around town.
While the design may looks great from angles, there are elements of the
execution that don't follow through. The windscreen features can be adjusted
manually by unscrewing a knob on each side of the half-fairing, putting it into
position, and reaffixing the knobs. Not the most efficient system in the world,
but better than the V-strom's 10 screw simplicity. The adjustable screen is good
idea marred by a tendency to flop about in the wind. Then there's the seat,
which is as thin as it is stylish, providing the pillion only the briefest
separation from the under-tail exhaust - that wafting odor may not be the smell
of a new engine running in.
Then there's the reliability, which in Benelli's past hasn't been up to scratch.
There's a whiff of Alfa Romeo about them, their look may be stunning, but will
all the buttons stay on? Most likely the previous generations just charm
themselves to bits. That's a Benelli paradox in the case of the Tre-K because
most "practical big-trailie" riders laying on the miles aren't likely to gamble
on a rare-as-hen's-teeth all-rounder with a shaky warrantee history. Likely
they'd be better off on more common and reliable fare; the Multistrada, Tiger or
V-Strom for example. Now with Qianjiang's financial backing, preconceptions of
Benelli's dependability might not be fair, as deeper pockets could translate to
higher build quality. (After speaking with Canadian Distributor Crono Motorcraft,
they say parts availability has greatly improved with shipping of Benelli
specific components from Italy to Canada taking two days. - Ed.)
There are sticking points to the Benelli Tre-K 1130, but these rough bits give
the Tre-K its edge. The Tre-K is full of feel, passion, and character,
juxtaposed against the Triumph Tiger 1050's near mundane Englishness. I like the
Tiger, but it's just a bit blander, a bit more stayed, a bit more conservative
and a bit less involved. Keeping with the Benelli moto totale sense of duality,
that "edge" leaves the new Tre-K's reliability an unknown commodity. It would be
sensible to wait and watch this new chapter in Benelli's history unfold, but I
don't think I can, because from the moment I thumbed the starter the Tre-K
touched my soul and won me over.
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