Posts by Category: Benelli

Benelli May 28, 2021 posted by

Six for the road – 1983 Benelli 900 Sei

Might have sold outside eBay since it went NLA overnight, but still worth a look see…  MI

There is always a surge of nostalgic excitement when a big Benelli crosses the block. These were the worlds first production six cylinder motorcycles, predating the Honda CBX and the Kawasaki Z1300 by five and six years respectively. And while the Japanese variants were arguably better known and more technologically advanced, the Sei was no slouch in its own right. And being Italian, it comes by its super model good looks honestly.

1983 Benelli 900 Sei for sale on eBay

The original 1973 Sei displaced 750cc, and was essentially two additional cylinders tacked onto a Honda CB500. And while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the De Tomaso company (which included Moto Guzzi as well) improved upon the packaging, relocating the end-of-the-crankshaft alternator behind the cylinders and narrowing the overall package. This is a move that was subsequently copied by both Honda and Kawasaki. Although the Kawasaki power unit was liquid cooled, Benelli stuck with air cooling for the duration of the bike’s model run. Models were produced from 1973 – 1989, but only a few thousand of the 900cc variants were ever produced, worldwide.

From the seller:
I bought this bike from the second owner in 2009. I soon changed the 22mm Dellortos (USA spec) for 24mm Dells (rest of the world) as part of a needed tune-up. I followed that with a rebuild of the rear Brembo F09 (pistons and seals). I was disappointed in the sound of the bike so I sourced the beautifully-made and incredible sounding six-into-six GP exhaust from Spain.  Expensive, but worth every penny!  I checked the valve clearances- all in spec.  Changed to Bridgestone BT45s. Two batteries and several oil and filter changes. That’s it for the 800 or so miles I have put on it. not many, but I have too many bikes and I am getting old!  This Benelli is an original bike in very nice condition.  It is not perfect.  Study the pictures. It starts, runs well through all the gears and rides well.  It is 38 years old though, so there is no warranty or guarantee expressed or implied.

Today we know the Sei as a Benelli, and represents the iconic form of the Benelli name. However during the design period of this bike, it was to be marketed as a Moto Guzzi. Imagine how different the brand histories would have been with that decision! Ultimately it was the sheer excess and cost that put the nail in the Sei coffin. These were big, exclusive European motorcycles in an era where the Japanese were winning the race to the bottom; for the $3995 MSRP of a Sei a savvy buyer could purchase 3 or more Japanese standards and sport bikes.

The seller has included a video of this bike, showing a cold start, idle and ride off. Those six-into-six pipes look and sound the part!

The Italian firm not only created a bombshell with the first ever production six cylinder motorcycle, but they also shook up the style game with a new angular design language which was very different than the flowing lines of the Japanese at the time. This helped the Benelli stand out even stronger against the competition, and the lines continue to stand out cleanly today. This example looks great for its age. The miles are low, the paint looks bright and serviceable, and the presentation is excellent. These 900cc Sei models are justifiably rare, and continue to be expensive – just like when new. No takers on the $12k opening ask as of time of writing. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Six for the road – 1983 Benelli 900 Sei
Benelli April 3, 2021 posted by

With Papers: 1983 Benelli 900 SEI

Kicking this post off with a provocative statement, I’m not sure the world realized what a tremendous talent we had in the form of Alejandro de Tomaso. While the Italian started life out as a racer (having participated in the echelon of F1), De Tomaso rapidly evolved into a business man with an eye for style. He formed his own car company, and was responsible for such hits as the Pantera and the Mangusta, as well as producing a F1 car for Williams. He acquired names and assets from defunct businesses, eventually owning coachbuilding companies such as Vignale and Ghia (later sold to Ford). His holdings extended across automobile and motorcycle boundaries, at one time controlling Innocenti (producing Lambretta scooters and BMC products under license), Maseratti (later sold to Fiat), Moto Guzzi and Benelli. Which brings us to today’s bike, a 1983 Benelli 900 SEI.

1983 Benelli 900 SEI for sale on eBay

Benelli, under the guidance of De Tomaso, was the first motorcycle manufacturer to put a six cylinder bike into production. That was way back in 1973, with the bones of the 750cc machine containing a lot of Honda four cylinder DNA. And while the six banger was never a huge seller – after all it was a bit exotic and very expensive for the time – Benelli continued to refine it and evolve it through the final year, 1989. In between it grew from 750 to 900cc, and gained poise, polish and reliability. Today these are interesting machines from an engineering perspective, but especially from a styling perspective. These are quintessential Italian style and flair.

From the seller:
This is a 1983 Benelli 900 SEI. The vehicle runs great and is mainly used for auto shows.

Superb example of this rare sport bike. Runs great, sounds awesome. Recent full service (receipt for $6300). Updated levers (have originals). Lots of manuals/product documentation regarding the bike is included. Only selling as I now have 6 bikes and need the room.

Today’s example is a 1983 model in 900cc. It has fewer than 12,000 miles on the clocks, and appears to have a fair bit of documentation and various manuals. This is a plus for a brand which no longer exists in the same manner as it did in the past. While Benelli retains an HQ building in Italy, the brand is wholly owned and all bikes are manufactured by the Qianjiang Group in China. Gone are the big sixes, and gone is some of the hand-built exotic nature of these mighty machines. This was truly the pinnacle of classic Benelli, and we are not likely so see the likes of it again. That is what makes today’s bike special. It is available for auction with a starting big of $17,500, and a Buy It Now number of a cool $22k. Those are big numbers, but this bike carries with it some significant history, and intrinsic rarity. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!

MI

With Papers: 1983 Benelli 900 SEI
Benelli December 21, 2020 posted by

Red Sled – 2007 Benelli TNT 1130

Designed during one of Benelli’s more European revivals, the super-naked 1130 won a small but enthusiastic fan base.  This owner had a garage-full at one time and offers one of the nicest at no reserve.

2007 Benelli TNT 1130 for sale on eBay

Benelli’s 1130 is a triple, using Walbro fuel injection and 11.2-to-1 compression to pump out 129 hp.  The fabricated tube chassis holds the engine from the top, with cast connectors locating the beefed up swingarm.  Marzocchi supplied the upside-down forks and monoshock, with Brembo bringing their excellent 320mm brakes.  A distinctive arrangement of radiators and fans inhabit transformer-ish fairings which also carry the front turn signals.  The headers are exposed but the exhaust works its way up under the seat, with one of the neatest factory license plate mounts ever.

The back roads of eastern Penn. are just the place for this TNT, but between the two owners just under 6,500 miles have elapsed.  Though it’s hard to keep a naked bike nice, this one looks excellent.  Just the exhaust has been updated to a two muffler set-up, which might have necessitated the change to the rear turn signals.  Notes from the eBay auction:

These 1130’s, like this one, are pretty solid with Walbro injection. They run very well. 

I got this one in 2015.  It was then serviced at Distefano’s Performance Center in Imperial, Penna.  Joe was the regional tech rep for Benelli back then.  Its been part of my collection since.

I only put about 100 miles on it.  I never run ethanol and its stored indoors, mostly in my heated basement.

This one has performance slip on mufflers and relocated rear turn signals.  I do have the original muffler (its a single can) and the original tail.  I also have the manuals on CD.

It runs and looks as nearly new.  The battery is fresh, the title is in my hand.

Having a whole corporate history from 1911 until rough times came in the 1980’s, Benelli then had some fits and starts which produced their memorable Tre’s.  Since Qianjiang took a controlling interest the focus has shifted to smaller bikes.  Still the brand has a lot of interesting bikes in the stable, the Tornado Naked Tre being one of their sportiest.  This owner chose carefully and preserved his 1130 for the long term, which will benefit the new owner.

-donn

Red Sled – 2007 Benelli TNT 1130
Benelli November 17, 2020 posted by

Sei You Will – 1983 Benelli 900 Sei

The 900 Sei was a natural evolution of the 1974 750, which was an engineering masterpiece.  Here’s a 1983 example with rather low miles and superb looks.

1983 Benelli 900 Sei for sale on eBay

Just reviewing the numbers, the Sei might not thrill – the 80 hp are nothing dramatic for a 900, and the three 24mm Dell’Orto carburetors are a good compromise but don’t incite a fire-breathing riot.  Magic carpet torque made the 5-speed perfectly adequate, and the Sei’s smoothness made the high-ish cruise rpm acceptable.  The six-into-two exhaust didn’t photograph like the 750’s six megaphones, but certainly helped keep the weight down.  Bodywork flowed from the cockpit fairing to the integral tank and sidecovers, which Honda’s CB900F seemed to reference the next year.

Offered by a Miami classics ( everything from a fire truck to an Africa Twin ) dealer, this Sei shows just over 12,000 miles and has fawned-over if unrestored cosmetics.  No word on maintenance except to say that it’s a runner.  Turn that O’Neal logo on the left grip to the underside and away you go.  Limited comments in the eBay auction:

A rare Original bike in fantastic condition with extremely low miles.

They don’t come up often.  Collector quality.  Starts, runs and drives excellent. 

With DeTomaso’s help, Benelli took an early lead in the 1970’s, but was a boutique brand compared with the Japanese competition.  Still their ideas inspired copycats plus some design reverence, and more recent Indian and Chinese partners have kept the engineering offices in Pesaro while moving production further east.  The buy-it-now is about all any Sei could muster, but the Make Offer button could be the start of a conversation.

-donn

Sei You Will – 1983 Benelli 900 Sei
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