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Bad to the Bone: 1982 Benelli 900 SEI

One of the most storied motorcycle brands in history is sadly no longer represented in the market. That means if you are interested in an Italian legend, the used market is the only way to go. For it is only on the used market can you find a classic beast such as this 900 SEI. This is a watershed, world-beater design, as Benelli was the first to bring a production six cylinder model to market with the 750cc variant. Let’s dive in!

1982 Benelli 900 SEI for sale on eBay

It is no secret that the SEI owes a great deal to the engineering brilliance of Soichiro Honda. For it was the CB500 four cylinder that was the foundation for the SEI, and the original 750cc model introduced in 1973 was simply a Honda CB500 with a pair of additional cylinders added on. The later bikes – such as today’s 1982 model – were punched out to 900cc, but kept the same basic arrangement. Automotive engineering giant Alejandro de Tomaso drove the project, and the original styling was provided by well-known coachbuilder Ghia. By relocating the bits Honda left handing off of the end of the crankshaft to behind the motor, de Tomaso was able to keep the big six relatively narrow; this is a trend that continues in motorcycle design to this day.

From the seller:
1982 Benelli 900SEI

> run, ride and stop
> new tires, brakes and master cylinders rebuild with new pistons and seals, new wheels bearings, battery, chrome covers and a lot more
> need few touches and finishing
> all parts are available (see photos)

This particular SEI is a bit of an outlier for RSBFS as it is more of a project than a stone-stock standard. That being said, it looks to be quite the beast. The seller has included a pair of videos of the bike in question here as well:

There is little doubt that the rarity of the model overall, the storied history of the manufacturer and the strong, continued collector interest in exotics will continue to drive the price of the SEI. Today’s seller is asking $16,500 for this project bike, a price that is lower than most of the clean SEI examples we have seen over the last couple of years. With the global pandemic showing no signs of abating and with winter coming, now is the perfect time to bring home something that might need a little finishing school. Perhaps this beauty has your name on it already. Check it out here, good luck, and stay safe!!

MI

9 Comments

  • You might want to check that link, unless it’s already gone.

    • Something funky going on with our links. I’ve updated this post and I think they work now. I’ll keep an eye on it.

      Thanks for the heads up,

      dc

  • Double row chain and 2 sprockets are interesting.

  • Not particularly related to this Benelli, but I am currently purchasing three bikes you have featured over the years, including a 1998 Bimota Mantra from Sep 3, 2015, a 1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport i and 1983 Suzuki XN85 both from this summer. Thanks for the tips!

    • Congratulations!! -dc

  • @Brayn Boyce – all great bikes! That’s the danger of hanging around RSBFS! 🙂

    – Mike

  • A Chinese company bought Benelli a few years back and have teased some new models bearing the name-not sure if the current Chinese owners appreciate the brand but hope springs eternal.
    Those sixes always looked a bit awful to my eye, this one looks worse, and for Italian engineers to stoop to copying a Honda design was a sad day really, De Tomaso was a bit of a chancer (check out he much he persuaded Ford to pay for his auto brand) and another company he owned was Moto Guzzi in which almost nothing was invested for decades – hence Guzzi producing a long long line of basically the same bike.
    These are just my opinions so feel free to hurl abuse for daring to have same-the old interweb seems to be a World full of screamers these days

  • @Locky – all fair observations and opinions as far as I’m concerned. Benelli did have a brief resurgence (the Tornado Tre and the TNT were two interesting machines to be sure!), and we can all hope for a magical comeback. With regards to de Tomaso, he did own both Benelli and Guzzi at the same time, merging them into a single entity. Rumor has it he wanted to introduce the SEI as a Moto Guzzi model, given the stronger branding. Ultimately, both concerns are firmly in the “where are they now?” category in terms of U.S. presence. That is a shame given the popularity of some of the older models.

    -Mike

  • with only 1872 Sei 900 build over 11 years it will be a very valuable bike one day….only 25 left the assembly line (mostly handbuild to test all the processes) in 78 with a couple of hundred following each year after that until 1989.
    4 model changes means there is something for every taste, be it the very early and most valuable ones which came as standard bikes without a fairing but with the option of having the same fairing mounted as the 1978 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1. Since the forks are identical the Guzzi fairing mounts straight on including the 3 piece bracket set. Ditto for the gauges and many other components…..

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