1968 MotoBi Race Bike
If you take a look over at the eBay auction for the 1968 MotoBi you can see why it caught my eye. But when I started to look for information about the company and what they did, I am thankful for those women for my new found knowledge.
Giuseppe Benelli, oldest of 6 Benelli brothers that were Benelli motorcycle, left the family business in 1949 to begin MotoBi(with a capital B for those in the know). Beginning with 2 stroke scooters, by 1955 he and his two sons produced their first four stroke motor, and soon came to dominate the Junior class Moto Sportive Derivate dalla Serie racing series in Italy. This was the minor leagues for racers like Roberto Gallina, Silvano Bertarelli and Eugenio Lazzarini who them moved to larger bikes in Italy.
From the seller
Beautiful museum quality restoration by Kent Riches
This classic racer has had a no-expense spared restoration to make this piece a true museum quality motorcycle. Flawless paint, accurate decals and badging are just some of the fine detailed work.
The MotoBi did make it to the US through Cosmo Importers along side Giuseppe family’s Benelli motorcycles, and appears to have been rebadges in some cases, and maybe even sold through Montgomery Wards. The Wise Family who ran Cosmo did put the MotoBi into the hands of some state side talent, Kurt Liebmann (I am a fan of the Liebmann family for what they did with BMW at AMOL Precision) and Jess Thomas. Thomas was able to take a 205cc MotoBi to victory in the 1962 US GP in Daytona, defeating factory RC162 from Honda.
More from the seller
Zanzani frame modifications for road racing
Rob North megaphone exhaust
Dellorto carb with velocity stack
Fiberglass fairing tank and tail
The motor is fresh and ready to run
MotoBi was out of racing by 1970 and the company was closed by 1977. The downfall of another small Italian motorcycle can be linked to the growth and domination of Japanese bikes, both in the sale of personal motorcycles and on the race track. There is a revival of the MotoBi name, so hopefully we will soon see some ultra rare, ultra expensive Italian Beauties from Pesaro, Italy. BB