Posts by Category: Benelli

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Benelli September 17, 2022 posted by

Bucket List Ride – BaT 2003 Benelli Tornado Tre Novecento 900LE

2003 Benelli Tornado Tre Novecento 900LE

2003 Benelli Novecento 900LE

China’s quest for world domination is truly an interesting story. From building strings-attached infrastructure in the third world to selling US companies suspect equipment, they are doing it all. The overall strategy is to slowly sink in their teeth over 20,30,40 years and play the long con. So that begs the question: Was the Benelli acquisition a hope to not only dominate the world economy, but also WSBK tracks? Jealous of the Japanese?

Today’s find is something that pre-dated Benelli’s transition to Chinesium frames and is truly, in my opinion, one of the more interesting bikes to come out of the region for a few reasons: rarity, technology, and looks.

2003 Benelli Tornado Tre Novecento 900LE

Likely inspired by the racing success of Aprilia and Ducati, the Benelli execs decided they wanted to venture over to the track and enter their own bike in the highly competitive WSBK Championship. Presumably, with the hopes of getting a slice of the exploding sportbike market with a few of their own offerings. With their sights set on WSBK, they needed to build 125 bikes, commonly referred to as homologation specials, for the market in order to gain a spot on the grid. Our seller today has number 107/150 so it is safe to say that there were not many of the much more well-equipped LE models out there.

In 2001, the Tornado did actually debut at Misano under Peter Goddard. Their WSBK hopes faded as they saw little success and the Chinese were looming amidst the lacking sales.

2003 Benelli Tornado Tre Novecento 900LE

The LE edition has all sorts of special go-fast bits. As seen above, the bodywork is carbon and an ExtremeTech steering damper came standard on the bike as well. Furthermore, you get Ohlins front/rear suspenders, 320mm Brembos,magnesium wheels, and an Arrow exhaust. A couple of design quirks that are not as visible are the glued frame and repositioned radiator. The engineers opted to go for weight savings by not welding the frame but rather using an aircraft-spec glue to hold it together. Many modern cars actually use a lot of adhesives nowadays in order to achieve more rigidity while not compromising on weight. The general idea is that glue can tie together more surface area than a weld. The other interesting design quirk is the positioning of the radiator. The Tornado’s radiator lives below the seat and uses two undertail cooling fans to help flow air through the back of the bike. The reason was to be able to decrease the rake to 23.5 degrees which makes the steering inputs more responsive.

2003 Benelli Tornado Tre Novecento 900LE

I personally think a lot of the Italian sportbikes from the 2000s are actually quite ugly, except the 748 and 996 of course. The designs just haven’t aged like the Japanese designs have for me. However, this Tornado is something else. All the aggressive lines just seem to work. The polished and gold aluminum mesh really well with the gray/green bodywork to give a fast, exotic look. The undertail fans look like jets too so that’s pretty cool.

From the seller:

“Equipment includes carbon-fiber bodywork and fuel tank, a solo seat, electronic fuel injection, a rear-mounted radiator, electronic ignition, a three-into-one exhaust system with a titanium Arrow muffler, a magnesium lower engine case, Öhlins suspension, triple Brembo disc brakes, a Robby Moto throttle and rearsets, and Marchesini 16″ forged wheels. The alternator gear and shaft were replaced per the Z25 service bulletin, and an oil change was performed in March 2022. This 900LE is offered in Oklahoma with a cover, a suitcase with suspension and sprocket parts, three stands, spare parts, and a clean California title in the seller’s name”

Values of the Tornado have been not been great over the years. However, the homologation specials are definitely the edition to have and would certainly keep up in any collection or bike show. It’s Italian exotica and they’re still relatively cheap as they don’t carry the brand equity today like they used to. The one downside would likely be parts and service as Benelli’s service network (if you can call it that) is likely not well-versed with this bike. The upside is that it’s simple drivetrain that a smart mechanic could probably sort out with the help of a service manual. The engine is also the exact same as the regular Tornado models so you can probably swap parts over except for some special magnesium engine cover parts on the LE model. Great condition. Low miles. Startup and walk around video are on the listing as well. Sounds nasty.

For some reason, of all the bikes I’ve written about here, this is one the that I would ride if I got to pick one. Unmatched cool factor. The bike is being sold on BaT and the bid is currently at $5,500. Good luck!

Bucket List Ride – BaT 2003 Benelli Tornado Tre Novecento 900LE
Benelli September 2, 2022 posted by

Bigger is Better: 1983 Benelli Sei 900

OK – so maybe that Honda CB50R was cool, but you’re bigger than 50cc can motivate. Let’s go back to cubes and revel in a bit more displacement and a whole lotta extra cylinders. Six, in fact. Know as the first production six cylinder street bike, the Benelli Sei is an interesting study in style, design, technology, marketing and showmanship. They are reasonably rare in the United States (and pretty much everywhere else) as Benelli did not have a tremendous production capability. The limited capacity to build them – and the high price – meant fewer buyers and ultimately fewer bikes. It is great to see a rare bike presented in this level of condition.

1983 Benelli Sei 900 for sale on eBay

Benelli was founded way back in 1911 and survived two World Wars before economic conditions forced an ownership change in the late 1960s. The company was bought by Alejandro de Tomaso, perhaps best known for his sports car, the Ford powered Pantera. But de Tomaso was not just a one hit wonder. He was a conglomerate unto himself, owning a number of companies including such legends as Maserati, Ghia and Moto Guzzi in addition to his existing De Tomaso Automobiles. As for the Sei (Italian for the number six), this was a technology warning shot fired over the bow of the invading Japanese manufacturers who were eating Benelli’s lunch (as well as breakfast and dinner) in the major motorcycle markets (especially the US). Taking the existing four cylinder Honda CB500 of the time, Benelli engineers simply mated two extra cylinders to the block to create the original 750cc Sei. Later models (such as today’s example) were punched out to 900cc for even greater performance.

From the seller:
Up for sale a very rare Binelli Sei 900 with only a little more than 11k miles ..runs and sounds amazing with the rare 6 into 6 exhaust.I do not have the stock Silentium exhaust.previous owner upgraded the front brake master cylinder and lever also the clutch lever and cable,braided brake lines were also added.have all take off parts.Also all of the body panels were professionally painted a darker grey looks beautiful.New pirelli tires were also added.come with the stock duplex chains owners manuals and factory brochure.new battery just installed and a recent oil change just done.all electricks work as they should .enside of gas tank is like new seat is like new all origional,see picture.these bikes do not come up often

The 900 Sei is a beast with amazing lines. The view is dominated by motor at the front, but sprinkled with some sublime details throughout; just check out that double chain and those six exhaust pipes! And to be fair, this is a nicely restored example rather than a completely stock and standard bike, but it really does look amazing. Does it look $30,000 worth of amazing? That number is not too far off considering a similar model sold just this year on BaT for even more. You can take that with a grain of salt depending upon number of bidders, relative condition, etc., but there is no doubt that the value for these rare Italian machines is growing – and there is no real end in sight. The Benelli Sei is a historic model and a high-water mark for the pre-resurgence Benelli company. You can check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Bigger is Better: 1983 Benelli Sei 900
Benelli October 14, 2021 posted by

Into the Great Unknown: 2008 Benelli TRE-K 1130

The history of famed motorcycle marque Benelli goes back to Italy in early 1911. Throughout the years, through ups and downs, Benelli produced an incredible array of smaller bikes and highly technical smaller capacity racing machines (including a supercharged 250cc inline four), not to mention the famous models such as the Tornado and the ground-breaking six-cylinder SEI 750 and 900. Interrupted by WWII and a contributor to the rebuilding of post-war Italian manufacturing, Benelli changed hands several times over the decades, including fits and starts through the late 1990s. The turn of the century brought new owners, this time Qianjiang Motor Group from China, which was subsequently acquired by Geely Holding Group (which incidentally owns other brands such as Volvo). With offices still in Italy, Benelli soldiers on and continues to create some stunning models.

2008 Benelli TRE-K 1130 for sale on eBay

The Tre-K 1130 is pretty much the last of the big Benellis at heart. This uses the same 123 horsepower 1130 triple that had been used successfully in the Tornado Tre 1130 sport bike and the TNT 1130 (Tornado Naked Tre) muscle cruiser. The difference here is in the packaging – rather than a sport bike or naked, the “Kay” is another take on a Tiger or Multistrada. And while the adventure bike styling says “go anywhere” the reality is you are looking at a 450+ pound street bike with upright seating and moderate wind protection. All good things, but a BMW GS this is not.

From the seller:
Bought this Benelli 3/2012 from New Haven Powersports with 3K miles. So the last 9 years I put 16K miles on the odometer. I’m 62 and really just cruise it around CT, I don’t think I’ve gone over 6K rpm just to much power for me. Only walked home once when the stock battery died, I replaced it with a Shoria. Everything works, very reliable and well cared for. Last summer I pulled the gas tank and replaced the spark plugs. The old plugs looked the same as the new ones…but you know when the book says its time its time. This summer the kick stand bolt broke and the entire bike collapsed on my left ankle, the left mirror broke and the silver plastic body piece near the gas tank took a bad scratch. I’d have my autobody guy fix it but rather leave it to the new owner. Top bidders please contact me with pick up or ride away plan. If anyone would like to the see the bike or have any questions feel free to contact me

The Benelli Tre-K is definitely a unique offering from a not-so-well-known manufacturer. The three cylinder engine is a jewel, and by moving the radiator to a conventional location (unlike side mounts on the TNT, or in the rear in the case of the Tornado), cooling and reliability improved. With ergos to match the waves of low RPM torque and the promise that you will not see yourself on every street corner due to the rarity of the model, this is an exotic platform built to pile on the miles. And today’s example has done just that, showing nearly 19,000 on the clock. That is probably the best statement a seller can make, as little proves how good a bike is than the miles traveled.

Located in Connecticut, this super rare bird has only a few bids at time of writing, and sits just over $3k with a reserve firmly in place. There are days to go, so it will be interesting to see where this one ends up. And if you end up as high bidder, it will be interesting to see where this comfortable cruiser with a sport bike soul will take you. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Benelli September 23, 2021 posted by

Sealed for Freshness – 1976 Benelli 750 Sei

More often seen as the later 900cc, the 750 Sei sings an alto arrangement with a sextet of pistons just over two inches in diameter.  Hard to say just when this restoration was completed, but it appears to have traveled very few miles since then.

1976 Benelli 750 Sei for sale on eBay

Conceived by Alejandro de Tomaso, Benelli developed the Sei as a GT and introduced it 1972.  The 1976 model achieved 71 hp, and used three 24mm carburetors.  A gear-driven alternator kept the engine’s width under control, and its smoothness and handling reviewed well.  In an early application of  disk brakes, the Sei used twin 300mm rotors with a drum rear.  18-inch wheels and 500 lbs. weight were par for the mid-seventies, but overall performance was not as exciting as the look of the six angled mufflers.

Offered by a Miami specialty dealership, this Sei is a monochromatic composition in silver, black, and chrome, with factory-looking pinstripes.  Just about everything probably looks better than the day it rolled out of Pesaro, though the finish on the instrument cluster and surrounding area is a puzzling exception.  Comments from the eBay auction:

Top class restoration. The best you can get. Runs as it should. No issues. 
A rare bike almost impossible to find in this good a shape. 90 miles done since. 
Buy with absolute confidence. 
Descriptions, viewpoints and opinions vary between people. 
Please look at the photos and do your own evaluation. 

Depending on your point of view, DeTomaso was somewhere between an early corporate raider and a gifted design engineer.  Either way the small production runs at Benelli led to quality control and dealer network issues, so it was easier to show the Sei than write sales orders.  Even given the alleged similarities to the Honda’s 550 Four engine design, the Sei was a smashing achievement and the only six cylinder for quite a long time.  Interest in the Sei continues – especially when looking like a brand new bike – as does Benelli’s long history.

-donn

 

Sealed for Freshness – 1976 Benelli 750 Sei
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