This eye catching six cylinder Benelli 900Sei motorcycle swung by Wemoto in Southwick and attracted some attention on Thursday last week. It was built in 1982 and its current owner has had it since July 1983.
A bit about Benellis
First manufactured as 'The Italian Alternative' the Benelli motorcycle began life in the 1970s as a 750, with an engine based on a version of the Honda CB500 four-cylinder engine, but with a few major differences. It had an extra set of cylinders added and the alternator behind the block instead of on the end of the crankshaft, for example. This meant that the six cylinder 750 was quite slimline and neat. When the 900 came along (as seen at Wemoto) it was created by boring the motor to give 600mm by 53.4mm and therefore 80bhp at 8400 rpm.
The Benelli 900 only weighed 220kg dry - 20kg less than Honda's four cylinder CB900. It also had a duplex final drive system, moulded body panels in front of the plastic petrol tank and cast alloy wheels. This motorcycle would cruise at 80-90mph happily, and cover a standing quarter mile in 13.3 seconds.
The 900 was superb in the brakes department, using triple Bembro discs with dual -piston calipers. It also handled brilliantly with its firm rear damping making it easier to ride faster on small roads and making it stable at high speeds. In fact, although on paper it was slower than the CBX or the Z1300, this was more than compensated for by its excellent road handling.
The down side
The Benelli Sei was famous for suffering from some built-in problems like an unreliable speedo, not much foot space, slipping clutch and weeping forks, although the bikes improved over time as these problems were addressed in later models.
Sparks will fly
But all in all the Benelli 900Sei is a smooth six cylinder free-revving ride and is light with an engine which feels maybe more like a Japanese machine rather than a continental one. It is a fast and really enjoyable ride so if you get a chance to ride one take it to its twisty road limit but be careful on those bends as it is low so it can scrape the ground on tight leany corners.
Come and see us if you are passing - we would love to see your bike and take its photo.