Posts by Category: Benelli

Benelli October 20, 2020 posted by

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

Benelli September 15, 2020 posted by

Original Six Pack: 1983 Benelli 900 Sei

When Honda introduced the legendary CBX in the late 1970s many people did not realize that they were not the first to ship a production six-cylinder motorcycle. That trophy already went to Benelli, who introduced the original Sei (Italian for the number six) at motoring shows way back in 1973. Given, the original 750cc six cylinder was heavily based on Honda’s 500cc four cylinder with a pair of cylinders added, but it was the Italian manufacturer that beat the world to the six cylinder milestone. Today’s bike is a 900cc model – one of approximately 2,000 – the line having been incrementally improved as production inched along.

1983 Benelli 900 Sei for sale on eBay

This productive time in Benelli’s history can be attributed to DeTomaso’s ownership (which included Moto Guzzi at the same time). Both Benelli and Guzzi thrived in the late 1970s and early 1980s, thanks to the bold and ambitious approach taken by DeTomaso. One need only look at the Sei model run to understand the leadership. Yes the six cylinder had some Honda DNA, but touches such as relocating the alternator from the end of the crank to behind the cylinder bank reduced the width of the engine and made the inline six tolerable from a cornering perspective, was all Italian engineering. The power train was reported to be silky smooth, and styling took many cues from the Moto Guzzi Le Mans model – right down to the sport fairing. However the Sei was certainly the flashier of the two, and at $3,995 it was also more expensive. That $3,995 would not buy you very much today…

From the seller:
Rare in this original condition Benelli 900 sei 6 cylinder Italian super bike Great Original condition Numbers correct sold with clear clean title many up grades I have spent over 3k on reconditioning this bike in the past months ,it is head to toe ready to go !! new ignition system ,carbs rebuilt ,braking system rebuilt , front suspension re done new battery ,oil change and valve adjustment etc

Here is a video of the bike, as supplied by the seller:

Benelli sixes have turned out to be fairly robust, with a look and a sound like no other; time has treated the design fairly well. While nobody would mistake this as a new bike from this century, it continues to look recent and modern enough to stand tall in a parking lot full of plastic. DeTomaso’s ambitious gambled paid off in that respect, although the famed marque of Benelli has failed to remain among the living in terms of recent production. That makes this 900 Sei all the more collectible; in the law of supply and demand, there is no more supply. The seller in this case is asking $16,500 or best offer for this clean 1983 Benelli 900 Sei, which is pretty close to the trending line. Somebody please give this deserving bike a loving home – as this is a classic in the making already made. Check it out and then share your thoughts on this beast. Any Benelli experts able to share things to look for on these models? Good luck, and stay safe!!

MI

Original Six Pack:  1983 Benelli 900 Sei
Benelli December 26, 2019 posted by

All I Want for Christmas: 2003 Benelli Tornado TRE 900 LE for Sale

Chasing the ever-changing rules of production racing can be rough on smaller companies. They spend years developing a machine that can be sold to the public, but also meets the stringent requirements to compete in racing, and then the formula changes, leaving the new machine high and dry, unable to race competitively. Larger companies can simply roll with the changes, but ones with fewer resources often have to cut bait, or struggle through a few sad seasons as an also-ran. Such was the fate of the Benelli Tornado TRE 900 LE.

For a long time, the formula for World Superbike allowed 750cc fours, 900cc triples, and 1000cc twins with the expectation that they would compete on relatively equal footing. During this period, the class was basically dominated by Japanese four-cylinder machines and Ducati’s v-twins. Several triples were designed and introduced just before the WSBK rules changed in 2003 to allow 1000cc displacements, regardless of configuration. Benelli’s newly-developed three-cylinder Tornado, along with Petronas’ Sauber-powered FP1, were left in the lurch and down on power. Handling of both was considered excellent, but when your more powerful opponents can simply gap you on the straights…

The production Tornado was eventually punched-out from 898cc to eliminate the performance gap, but that 1130cc version wouldn’t have been race legal at and the team had folded by then. It’s a shame because, in a surprisingly homologous landscape where the formula to create a competitive performance motorcycle was seemingly carved from stone, Benelli managed to incorporate some radical innovations into their machine. In an effort to place the engine as far forward as possible in the chassis, they moved the radiator from the front of the bike to the rear, where distinctive fans pulled air through ducts from the front of the machine, past the underseat unit, and out the tail. The chassis was a hybrid component made from tubes of steel bonded by industrial-grade adhesives to cast aluminum sideplates. A quick-change cassette-style gearbox and a slipper clutch, along with top-spec braking and suspension package rounded out this very exotic machine.

Rules changes may have made the bike obsolete for Superbike competition, but with those looks, the roadgoing version still should have sold well. Unfortunately, a few reliability issues and a sparse dealer network meant failure there as well. Like many bikes of the period, fuel-injection mapping was a bit primitive and, with around 134hp on tap, performance obviously can’t compete with modern 1000cc machines, but Tornados handle extremely well and will certainly generate interest wherever bikers gather.

From the original eBay listing: 2003 Benelli Tornado TRE 900 LE for Sale

This is my 2003 Benelli Tornado TRE Limited Edition LE, 150 were produced from homologation into the World Superbike Championship. 40 were slated for the United States but a claimed 30 were actually imported Stateside. MSRP was a whopping $36,500. Its a DOHC 900cc 4-valve triple with 6 speeds. The engine is canted forward for better weight distribution and balance having the cooling radiator in the rear – hence the dual rear fans. That’s the idea anyway.

The LE also gave you Marchesini wheels, front and rear Ohlins suspension, carbon fiber bodywork, carbon fiber tank and clutch cover, adjustable headstock and swingarm, titanium exhaust, magnesium engine covers, sandcast cases, dry clutch and probably more. Its a very different bike than the standard Tornado TRE, even the electronics are different. The battery is mounted under the motor and not under the seat. Service manual and factory cover are also included.

I bought it from the original owner 5 years ago but I’ve ridden it maybe only twice as part of my larger collection. It was restarted and serviced this month from it’s dormancy by Distefano’s Performance in Imperial, PA. The shop owner had been a regional service representative for Benelli and knows these bikes well. Mileage is original 5994 miles.

Clear  street title in my name. It comes with the Benelli suitcase (the race kit with swing arm pivot inserts, swing arm shaft and rear sprockets). Also comes with its Benelli rear paddock stand. It has the factory optional Arrow exhaust but the stock exhaust is also included.

The seller’s asking price is $15,500 which seems to be in the ballpark for these when they come up for sale. Styling is both striking and elegant, and looks especially stunning in these silver/green colors. The dash is a bit dated, but comprehensive and very functional, with a couple of stylish touches to make it look just a bit more special. And note the very slim, carbon-fiber turn signals and the delicate license plate holder. Surprisingly, the bulky exhaust shown is actually the optional Arrow bit and the stock component especially spoils the styling a bit, looking like it’s been pulled off the back of a Suzuki from the same period.

-tad

All I Want for Christmas: 2003 Benelli Tornado TRE 900 LE for Sale
Benelli November 17, 2019 posted by

Almost Ostentatious – 1979 Benelli 250 Quattro

When most manufacturers were making 250cc singles do, Benelli – with help from new leader DeTomaso – showed their engineering chops with a super-smooth 250 inline four.  This rarity comes to you from northern Italy and shows nicely with just under 1,900 miles.

1979 Benelli 250 Quattro for sale on eBay

To accompany their newer and bigger offerings to the showroom, Benelli engineers shrunk the SOHC engine so that cylinder bores are just under two inches, but still makes 27hp ( at 10,500 rpm ! ) with 26mm carburetors.  Chassis and suspension are standard for the day, though the tank/seat fairing is quite innovative with integral tank pad and gauges built into the folded-looking tank.   Kick-starting is all that was required, and a single 260mm disk suffices with a drum rear.  The chrome and alloy interplay is completed by the 2-into-1 exhaust and alloy wheels.

Photographed on the road with a license plate, this 250/4 seems a very good survivor, with paint and chrome that fib about the many years since new.  The comments offer worldwide delivery and show their last crating job as evidence.  Notes are spare in the eBay auction:

Excellent unrestored bike, ultra rare first series, frame number 10008. 2 owners. 100% original. Sold by Benelli Bari dealer in southern Italy. 

Obviously for a Benelli fan or collector, a 250 Quattro would be a special purchase.  This one could be ridden to sample a cavallo di battaglia from the late 70’s, without worry of damaging a true museum piece.  We saw such an example go over $15K at Mecum in January, this one is about ninety percent of the value at slightly over half the ask.

-donn

Almost Ostentatious – 1979 Benelli 250 Quattro
Benelli June 26, 2019 posted by

Rare Roadster: 2007 Benelli TnT 1130 for Sale

The original Benelli triple in the Tornado displaced 898cc and couldn’t really compete head-to-head against the other comparable superbikes of the era. It was a good bike, with sound engineering and a quirky layout that located the radiators and fans in the tail of the bike. But it wasn’t quite good enough and, when WSBK rules changed to make the triple format obsolete, it made the bike and its chosen displacement sort of pointless. So Benelli abandoned the 898cc displacement and, bumped to 1130cc in later Tornadoes and the naked TnT seen here, the motor made prodigious torque figures of 86lb-ft to go with the less wildly impressive horsepower figures.

The punched-out mill made the bike flexible in town and a hooligan bike extraordinaire. The radiators were moved to a slightly-less-weird location on either side of the tank, with sculpted vanes to blend them into the rest of the bulky fuel tank/airbox assembly. The headlight reflector is a kaleidoscopic affair, often described as “alien” or “menacing” and still manages to look very striking, although replacing it could prove to be a real headache in the event of a crash.

The frame followed the superbike’s design, with a curving tubular structure that’s glued to the cast-aluminum side-plates using industrial adhesives, so shouldn’t be too surprising that the handling got good reviews, considering the TnT generally had non-adjustable forks. Some special editions got more sophisticated gear, and this looks like it might actually be a TnT Sport Evo, which had updated Brembo stoppers, compared to more “ordinary” Benellis, as well as adjustable suspension up front.

These used to show up on eBay with extremely low miles and prices, looking very much like leftover dealer stock. I kept wishing I’d been able to buy one of these basically new, but with huge discounts. I’d guess a TnT would be a great candidate for some modern upgrades. Maybe a front-end swap from a later sportbike and a more modern digital dash to replace the slightly bargain-looking original gauges?

From the original eBay listing: 2007 Benelli TnT 1130 for Sale

If you found this listing you are knowing what you are looking for.

A truly unique and amazing naked Italian bike even rarer than Ducati’s Streetfighter. Torque and handling are in a class of it’s own.

Ultra-low mileage and a number of tasteful upgrades:

  • Full LED headlights (high and low beams) and turn signals
  • LSL superbike handlebar
  • Fully adjustable folding levers
  • Bar end mirrors
  • Custom upholstered seat with integrated gel pad (super comfortable)
  • CF front and rear fender (clear coated and polished to prevent the common yellowing)
  • Integrated taillights
  • GPR exhaust
  • TnT aluminum fender eliminator
  • Custom chainguard
  • GSG Mototechnik crashpads
  • Upgraded battery cables

Bike is in AS NEW condition, serviced less than 500 miles ago (oil, filter, plugs, valve adjustment, etc.). New tires with approx. 300 miles.

This is an outstanding unique rare bike and head-turner anywhere you go!

Buyer will also receive some spare parts two radiators (very hard to source), flyscreen, transmission gasket, set of new stick coils, etc.).

Considering the $6,500 starting bid that so far has no takers, this might be a great chance to pick up a bargain Italian exotic! Benelli’s inline triple-powered bikes seem to have been largely reliable, although some examples were afflicted with the usual Italian electrics, and fueling was much less sophisticated than you generally find on today’s motorcycles. Parts can be an issue if you live in the US, but it shouldn’t be too hard to keep one running, since they’re otherwise pretty conventional machines. The bigger issue would be bodywork and aftermarket bits, something that’s at least partly sorted here since the bike includes some nice aftermarket bits, including an exhaust and fender eliminator, along with a few replacement bits, just in case.

-tad

Rare Roadster: 2007 Benelli TnT 1130 for Sale
Benelli May 23, 2019 posted by

Across the Pond: 2003 Benelli Tre Novacento for Sale

It’s always interesting to see the disparity in terms of bike values, depending on market. It seems like you can make a decent living, finding bikes where they are cheap and plentiful, and shipping them to places where they ain’t… In Japan, the 250cc two-stroke sportbikes of the 80s and 90s are relatively cheap, although they obviously have an enthusiastic following. Here in the USA? They were never officially imported and, until certain models recently cleared the 25-year import restrictions, were extremely rare. I haven’t looked recently, but many classic Laverda models are much less expensive in Europe than here as well. Looking at the £3,650.00 asking price for this very cool Benelli Tre Novocentro, it looks like the same holds true for these stylish and quirky machines, since that works out to just $4,623.00 in US currency.

Obviously, the Tornado has rarity going for it, along with distinctive Italian looks. But it’s also a pretty functional motorcycle, with a solid 140hp from the 898cc three cylinder, good handling, and quality braking and suspension components. A six-speed cassette-style gearbox is probably overkill on a roadbike, but the slipper-clutch with an adjustable engagement point is pretty cool, as is the frame that’s glued-together using aerospace-grade adhesives. It lacks the radial-mount calipers and eyeball-flattening power of today’s fastest bikes, but these have more than enough performance to keep even expert riders entertained.

I’d take great pains to stay in front of other riders, to keep them confused looking up the tail of the Tre to see bright yellow cooling fans under the tail. With the underseat-mounted radiator, the engine could be mounted further forward in the frame for better handling. Parts are likely the biggest issue for any Benelli, although there were some minor issues with reliability, as you’d expect from a brand-new, low-production, high-performance Italian sportbike. Nothing that can’t be handled by the patient owner, but still a headache if you’re not prepared.

So what happened? Why wasn’t the revitalized brand a bigger success? Well partly it was the unknown of a newly-reborn brand flogging an expensive, top-shelf sportbike. But the bike’s original 900cc displacement was meant to allow it to be homologated for racing, and the bike was a victim of changing World Superbike rules that basically made 900cc triples obsolete, since the bike would have been uncompetitive in it’s original form. Later machines bumped displacement to over 1100cc, but that just made it a more effective roadbike as it was too large to race.

From the original UK eBay listing: 2003 Benelli Tornado Tre Novocentro for Sale

Here we have my truly iconic Benelli Tornado TRE 900                                                                       

These bikes made quite a stir back in the day – for some good and some bad unfortunately but now when you have one with all the modified bits dealt with and niggles ironed out they truly are an absolute brilliant thing to be out on when the sun comes out… My example is as expected – equipped with what was back then some top notch equipment and even by today’s standards it’s still quite trick 

The engine has had the cam chain replaced (June 2018) before the manuals suggest as this is very important – also the valve clearances done then too as these engines naturally sound tappety. The infamous recall mods – Z25 gear on the alternator shaft and clutch bolt all inspected and are fine. The suspension and brakes are from the best makes along with a titanium Arrow exhaust system – all original equipment…

The bike is in what’s arguably the best colour scheme of silver and green with black accents here/there and of course the rear yellow under seat fans. These bikes are really something else and the triple cylinder 900cc engine loves to be used – the sound up the revs is amazing and just puts a smile on my face EVERY TIME I take it out. The bike is 100% mechanically spot on – does everything expected of it and needs nothing doing. Please do all your research required online as these bikes were all made 2003-2004 so don’t be fooled by the late registered bikes for sale as they are all the same! 

Factory fitted alarm/immobiliser.

MOT until sept 2019 – only 16k miles…

I have documents – manuals – keys – history – receipts – V5 

The honesty part… The bike has a small crack along side the r/h front indicator as per pics due to being pushed into something in my garage and the tail unit has some mark where an item fell onto it… Neither are of any issue but want to point out faults also… My cars/bikes are only being sold due to an impending house move this summer and I need to downsize somewhat so please only genuine interest is wanted as were always busy.

Thanks for looking.

As stated before, the price is shockingly reasonable for a bit of functional Italian exotica, although maybe that’s considered expensive on the other side of the Atlantic? The 16,000 miles aren’t all that low, but the bike appears to have had considerate ownership by a knowledgeable enthusiast, and my understanding is that these Benellis are pretty robust mechanically, once you get your head around some of the unconventional engineering and idiosyncrasies. Parts availability would be the big unknown here, and I’d expect OEM bodywork to be nearly unobtainable. If there are any owners out there, we’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

-tad

Across the Pond: 2003 Benelli Tre Novacento for Sale
Benelli December 29, 2018 posted by

Green Flash – 2005 Benelli Tornado Tré

Great to see two Benelli’s in a month, but two have popped up this holiday week !  This is an earlier example of the rear-radiator sportbike, with just dealer miles despite its litigious past.

2005 Benelli Tornado Tré for sale on eBay

After difficulties in the late 1980’s, the revitalized Benelli showed the Tornado in 1999, and developed the 898cc triple with a reputed 140 hp.  In concert with a desire to have the engine as far forward as possible, the radiator was located amidships with underseat fans vacuuming hot air out the back.  The tube and casting chassis is Triumph-esque, with premium Brembo and Öhlins components.

The Tré has traveled but unfortunately not much under power, between storage units mostly.  It appears as new except for a couple of very light marks.  The owner has dealt with a couple of storage-related issues, and the ECU re-flash hopefully exorcised the lean-running midrange flat spot.  From the eBay auction:

This example has now 198 original miles. I think it had 135 miles when I first got it about 6 years ago.  I found it in North Carolina.  It was said to come out of a storage locker. I had to chase down the original owner and pay off the bank loan to acquire title. That took a while.

I found a former Benelli technical rep who has a small shop near Pittsburgh. He helped me bring it back to life, fixed a few things and put in the current ECU map, etc.  That was when  first got it and Its been part of my collection ever since. More recently, I had to replace the fuel pump which went south from sitting. Back to Pittsburgh it went.

Its now again a turn key  bike! You wont find a cleaner nicer example but it does have a couple small hairline scratches in the lower left green panel. See pix. That’s about it. The rest is as new.

The offbeat design led to an 1130cc superbike and naked, but after a 2005 merger with Qjian Jiang the company’s focus has shifted to smaller singles and scooters, though a 600cc four is still on their North American menu.  Good reviews for the Tré were tempered by ECU mapping and alternator drive difficulties, but once sorted it handles great and the 900 triple is a joy.  The asking price concentrates on all the good things about rarity, and maybe there is a buyer with the support network in place.  In the meantime, the rest of us can enjoy a very Italian sport from 2005 with just 200 miles…

donn

 

Green Flash – 2005 Benelli Tornado Tré
Benelli December 27, 2018 posted by

Explosive – 2007 Benelli Tornado TNT1130 Sport

Following their 2002 Tornado Tré sportbike, Benelli’s successful TNT all-around bike was the re-vamped company’s foray into the liter-plus-class.  Testing the roiling naked-sport waters, Benelli put many advancements and quality components into the Tornado Naked Tré 1130.  RSBFS regular Iconic Motorbikes offers this 2007 TNT and though it’s not perfect, its ability to draw a crowd sets it apart.

2007 Benelli TNT1130 Sport for sale on eBay

 

The TNT Sport expanded on the company’s 4-valve triple, with a fairly extreme 130 hp and 87 ft.-lbs. torque.   The hybrid chassis combines steel trellis with cast head and connectors, with Marzocchi 50mm forks and dual-adjustable monoshock.  A “power control” button on the dash reduces rear-wheel hp for rain events or cold tires.  Side rads and integral turn signals are part of the red and black jagged-flow design.  Brakes are Brembo Serie Oro, and their black wheels complete the picture.

 

With just over 9,000 miles, this Sport has been in a low-speed mishap, but except for a few scrapes and a cracked fairing boss, it shows quite well.  Much too rare to be festooned with farkles.  From the eBay auction:

Horsepower is right around 135 HP and a torque curve that’s sure to loft the front wheel in the air.

Funky side mounted radiators, a single high center exhaust, futuristic “alien like” styling and nothing short of brilliant engineering will most certainly get you second looks wherever you go!  This was one of Benelli’s last true innovative bikes that they released.

When released the magazines and reviews all agreed that it had amazing handling, fantastic power and one of the best naked bikes on the market.

As far as this particular bike, pretty much stock with a carbon fiber front fender, CRG levers and just the OEM awesome styling such as the HUGE diameter front forks, the swept design hollow spoke wheels, the two tone seat and a taillight that wraps around the exhaust….SO COOL!

 

Reviews praised the TNT’s up-to-date handling, but a few electrical gremlins played havoc with Bennelli’s reputation.  Even Cycle World’s long-term test article was a bit of hangar queen, claiming only 1,300 miles over their second six months.  Though still based in Italy, Benelli now has an Asian partner and has been concentrating on that market.  But for a fan of the brand or just off-beat super nakeds, the TNT1130 has a lot to recommend it.

-donn

Explosive – 2007 Benelli Tornado TNT1130 Sport