Tagged: Sei

Lost in Translation: 1977 Benelli Sei 750 for Sale

1977 Benelli Sei L Side

Everything sounds beautiful and exotic when spoken in French or Italian, especially if you don’t understand the language. I mean, couldn’t Bidet be a luxury water-fountain manufacturer? And don’t Quattroporte and Benelli Sei just roll off the tongue? What’s that you say? Quattroporte just means “four doors” and Sei is just Italian for “six”? Well that’s disappointing… So basically, today’s Benelli Sei 750 is the epitome of “truth in advertising”: a motorcycle from Benelli that displaces 750cc and has six cylinders.

It sounds way less sexy when you put it that way.

1977 Benelli Sei Engine

Of course, when you’ve just produced an exotic, inline-six motorcycle, giving it a fancy name probably isn’t necessary: the bike speaks for itself. And that’s exactly what Alejandro De Tomaso intended: when the bike was introduced, it was meant as a statement to the Japanese “big four” that the Italian brands could compete with them on every level. Not completely true, of course, but at least in terms of engineering extravagance it was accurate.

1977 Benelli Sei Tank

The early 750cc bikes were superseded by a 900cc version in 1978 that looked basically identical, only with more displacement. Styling is relatively conservative, although that fat engine sitting across the frame shouts the bike’s intentions loudly enough, with a wall of exhaust headers that helps create one of the most exotic noises in motorcycling. You might be tricked into thinking the cylinder count would give it a car-like exhaust note. The reality is a ripping noise that’s impossibly smooth and electric, head-turning in a way that the styling is not.

1977 Benelli Sei Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Benelli Sei 750 for Sale

A Six cylinder Italian work of art, one of the three or four of the best sounding motorcycles in the world and one of the most coveted collector motorcycles available today. This example has been with the same owner/mechanic since 1979.It was loved, taken care of, and ridden until 1995 when it was professionally and meticulously restored by him from the ground up,mechanically and visually,work including a complete engine overhaul with all new parts as well as a full restoration of chassis and all ancillaries. As noted in photos, the motorcycle will come with a complete new 6 into 6 exhaust system, as well as a new seat cover and stock turn indicators. Documentation and photos accompany it. The bike has since been ridden sparingly by the same owner from 1996 till 2016 and shows 16000 miles on the clock (800 miles a year),which was zeroed after the restoration in 1995. It still looks and drives like new and will be a great addition to any collectors or enthusiasts garage. These motorcycles have been climbing in value right through the last few years and show now signs of slowing down. They rarely come up for sale and are almost impossible to find with this kind of record and history since new. I purchased it only a short time ago with the intention of keeping it indefinitely in my collection but as life and timing inevitably goes,a one owner Vincent Black Shadow that I have been trying to buy for ten years has eventually been offered to me by its original owner and in order to buy it,I sadly have to sell the Benelli and two other motorcycles in my collection. This motorcycle is not and will never be for the bargain hunter or time waster out there so please don’t waste your time or mine. If I don’t get the price that it is worth or very close to it, I will just have to pick another one of my motorcycles to sell in its place. This is a genuine opportunity for an intelligent and savvy collector or afficionado who is looking to buy a Perfect Benelli 750 SEI,don’t miss it and hate your decision later,both financially and emotionally. Thank you for looking. Like a boss.

1977 Benelli Sei Side Detail

Yes, the seller actually included “like a boss” at the end of the listing.

Introduced in 1972, years before the similarly-spec’d Honda CBX, the Sei was never really produced in great numbers, although they do show up on eBay from time-to-time, often in slightly-abandoned condition, which is interesting because very nice CBXs show up for sale all the time. No big surprise though, since the Sei is a pretty expensive bike to maintain and source parts for. Many probably needed maintenance and were just left to rot when owners found out what service and parts were going to cost. I think they’re a bit like 80s Alfa Romeos used to be: interesting and exotic, but expensive, difficult to maintain, and not really worth all that much. They languished in obscurity for a long time, although prices seem to be on the rise now.

This particular example appears to be in very good shape both mechanically and cosmetically, although that cracked tachometer face would really annoy me, and the seller mentions a complete cosmetic and mechanical restoration. That’s very reassuring, although that Buy It Now price of $17,000 seems pretty ambitious, even for a bike this nice.

-tad

1977 Benelli Sei R Side

Succeeding with Excess: 1976 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

1976 Benelli Sei 750 R Side

“If some is good, then more is better.” That pretty much sums up the philosophy in effect here. Benelli’s six-cylinder Sei wasn’t really faster than an equivalent four. It didn’t handle any better. And it certainly wasn’t any more frugal. But it was more. Six freaking cylinders more, at a time when the motorcycling world was just getting used to the idea of easily available four-cylinder machines, Benelli went and built this thing. In fact, the driving philosophy behind its creation seems to be, “Because we could.” Which is a great reason to build things, as far as I’m concerned.

Especially motorcycles.

1976 Benelli Sei 750 Engine

Introduced in 1972, the 750 Sei featured an inline-six engine that was enlarged to 900cc in 1978. While 71hp was nothing to sneeze at, the real advantage of the configuration was smooth power and a wide powerband. Certainly, the wide engine limited cornering clearance, and the bike wasn’t really suited to back road scratching. It was a sophisticated sport-touring machine, the classic “gentleman’s express.” Unfortunately, styling was a bit subdued, performance was a bit underwhelming even when bored out to 900cc, and the bike was naturally expensive to run. But six-cylinder motorcycles sound amazing and, ridden within their limits, are very enjoyable motorcycles.

1976 Benelli Sei 750 R Side Tank

This particular example is in very original condition, apart from the 6-into-1 exhaust. Certainly the look of the original system is more classic, although this set up will save plenty of weight and perhaps improve the limited cornering clearance issues.

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Benelli Sei 750 for Sale

Bike is complete. It has been stored inside for many years and the front forks, having no mechanical problem, are somewhat pitted and rusty. The chrome rear fender, headlight rim and front fender have some surface ‘stuff’ on them but they are not rusted. The rim itself isn’t perfect. Tires are new, battery isn’t.

This bike was purchased disassembled in 1985 from a dealer. All of the parts were new. After reassembly, the bike was ridden sporadically for 5 years and then stored indoors. It is currently in Birmingham Alabama, stored in a car enthusiast’s toy room. The bike is stock except for the Marving 6-into-1 exhaust system. The tires look new but they have been on the bike for over 20 years. The battery was changed about 5 years ago and charged occasionally. The electrics all work.

1976 Benelli Sei 750 R Side Rear

With a $7,000 Buy It Now price, I think the seller is aiming a bit high, considering the bike’s condition. Obviously, while the paint on the tank and bodywork are very original and shiny, much of the bits that rust have surface corrosion and pitting. This is a great starting point, but anyone looking at this bike should be planning for an extensive and probably expensive restoration to get this bike in working order. Is it worth it? Certainly not from a financial standpoint. But these are obviously rarer and more exotic than a CBX and have the same draw: a physically massive, silky-smooth six cylinder engine.

-tad

1976 Benelli Sei 750 R Side Panel

Six Times the Fun: 1978 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

1978 Benelli 750 Sei Red R Side

With motorcycles, packaging is especially important: everything adds weight, and weight is the enemy of performance. In a car, an extra few pounds here or there may not mean much. On a bike, that same weight can win or lose races. When the Japanese introduced their four-cylinder powerplants in the late 60’s and early 70’s, they hit on a nearly perfect formula, a combination of relatively compact dimensions and reliable power that proved virtually unbeatable, once they finally figured out the braking and handling parts of the equation.

Sure, narrow, torquey Ducatis, durable BMW’s, and charismatic Triumphs have their own strengths, but there’s a reason the prototypical UJM features an air-cooled across-the-frame four: it just flat works. So when a manufacturer bucks that trend, they’re clearly making some sort of extravagant statement, and that’s exactly what Benelli was doing when they introduced their six cylinder 750 Sei.

In classic Italian style, “Sei” means “six”. Everything sounds so much cooler in Italian… “Quattroporte”? So exotic… Wait, that just means “four doors.”

1978 Benelli 750 Sei Red L Front

The Sei was first introduced in 1972 as a 750cc bike, although it grew to 900cc’s in 1978. With 71hp and limited cornering clearance, it was intended, not as a sportbike, but as a top-of-the-line GT bike, a statement to the Japanese that the Italians could make something just as sophisticated, just as refined. Which they did, reportedly, but copying a Honda four and then grafting on an additional pair of cylinders…

Styling was subdued, aside from the pipe-organ exhaust sticking out the back, it cost a packet to buy and maintain, and it was relatively thirsty. But crack that throttle, and that wail would make you forgive it almost anything.

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

I parked this bike in the back of my garage under cover in 1991 due to back problems.  I rode it for 3 years and it never missed a beat.  I am the second owner.  When I got it I got a tune-up, new rear tire and factory fuel line installed.  The crash bar, highway pegs and seat back rack can all be removed easily, there were no modifications to the bike.  Bike is all original with factory tool kit, original seat bar and only 8582 miles.  No dents or dings. Pipes are good..  Factory Metzler front tire will need replaced.  I did not buy a battery to get it going, don’t want to spend time and money to sell it.  The only things that I know that are wrong with the bike are that the clutch is hanging up from sitting (I was told it may release when bike gets running) and the guage cluster is cracked at mounts. (known problem)   If you have any questions please ask and I will answer them to the best of my ability.  This is basically an un-restored beautifully aged Benelli 750Sei with all the original parts.  Bike is sold as is.  Don’t miss this rare opportunity to own this unusal and unique classic bike.  Thank You. 

1978 Benelli 750 Sei Red R Side Engine

Originality is key with these, as finding parts for a rare Italian motorcycle can be difficult. Engine internals and clutch parts can probably be sourced, but bodywork and trim pieces may be virtually unobtainable. This one looks really clean. It just needs a bit of TLC applied to the carbs and a bit of caution before firing it up.

I would, as the seller mentions, bin those crash bars and the backrest/luggage rack at the first opportunity, and probably replace the instrument cluster with a giant, white-faced Veglia tach, but otherwise this looks like a very nice, very complete example of a classic grand touring motorcycle.

-tad

1978 Benelli 750 Sei Red R Side Rear

1979 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

1979 Benelli 750 Sei L Side

Benelli’s six-cylinder Sei, in either 750 or 900cc flavor is a very cool machine. Styling is disappointingly conservative and the handling basically average, but you really buy this bike for the glorious engine: it’s flexible, reasonably powerful, and makes an expensive shriek as it revs, a sound that has often been favorably compared to the wail of a vintage Ferrari.

1979 Benelli 750 Sei Dash

Introduced in the early 1970’s, the Sei was Benelli’s flagship model, an elegant grand touring motorcycle with exotic specifications, performance, comfort, and subtle good looks. The early 750cc version put 71hp through a 5-speed gearbox and could push the unfaired machine all the way to 126mph.

1979 Benelli 750 Sei Engine

The wide engine does create some packaging issues, although the six-into-six exhaust probably causes more cornering clearance issues… But maximum lean is hardly this bike’s intended mission. It was a statement, a halo-model designed to show that Benelli could compete on the world stage against the Japanese manufacturers. Unfortunately, they didn’t really have the manufacturing muscle to back up its intended mission. It was well-received by the motoring press, and an update to 900cc’s in 1979 kept the bike relevant, but the bike never really sold very well.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

I purchased last year from the original owner and had Perry from Perry’s motorcycle and sidecars in Ft Worth Texas (Who used to sell and service these new) go through it, sort it out and bring it back to life, it’s purring again.
Starts right up and runs well now. I believe it still has original tires though!
This has been on display in my shop all year and now I have decided to sell because I need the space and have my eye on something else.
It is an original bike including the pipes which have been painted black. The mileage is correct at 4358 miles.
The paint is in above average condition on the tank and original, especially for being almost 40 years old. There is a small indention in the tank on the bottom near the seat, not the sides of the tank This doesn’t really bother me, however if you decided to repaint the tank, you would certainly fix this. All badges are original. It’s pretty stunning as it sits. The bike doesn’t really leak either. The inside of the tank has been coated and the brakes have been gone through by Perry, when he went through the engine and the carbs. It is setup for a battery tender. It has the original wheels and brakes. It is the dual disk front , drum rear brake version.
Im sure Ive left off a ton of detail. Please ask and I will answer to the best of my ability. This is basically an un-restored beautifully aged Benelli 750Sei with all the original bits.
Includes old factory service manual and old factory parts manual.
1979 Benelli 750 Sei L Side Panel

So often, these bikes fall into disrepair: like an 80’s Alfa Romeo, they’re relatively cheap to buy but mechanically complex and pricey to run, leading owners to neglect major services until the bike fails in some fundamental way. Then they’re left with an expensive project in need of parts that haven’t been made in 20 years or more, and the finished bike will only be worth a fraction of what’s been invested.

So into the back of a shed it goes.

Any six-cylinder motorcycle is going to be an expensive proposition: Honda’s CBX is costly to run: no matter what part you need for your motorcycle, there’s a good chance you’ll need more of them for your six.

Benelli’s questionable status in the modern market and lack of cache in the collector market has kept values relatively depressed for the marque, outside of racing machinery.  This particular example appears to be clean and well-maintained, with very low miles for a bike designed to cover miles in class and comfort. Bidding is active, and is at $5,700 with five days to go. If you’ve got room in your garage and have a hankering for Benelli’s techno tour-de-force, keep an eye on this auction.

-tad

1979 Benelli 750 Sei R Engine

1976 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

1976 Benelli 750 Sei L Front

I’m a huge fan of the Benelli Sei, warts and all: there just had to be a more elegant way to communicate vital information than that instrument panel… [see: below]  And, while I’d prefer the bigger 900cc version, they’re rare enough you have to pounce when you find a good deal.  This might be just such an opportunity.

The Benelli 750 Sei is a rare beast, a relic of a time when the smallish Italian manufacturer, fresh off a purchase by controversial Argentinean Alejandro De Tomaso [see: Maserati], was looking to prove a point to the Japanese Big Four, that they could produce a world-class, technological tour de force to rival anything on the road.  Obviously, a six cylinder makes for some packaging issues, and mechanical complexity that can lead to expensive service costs, so Benelli wasn’t after a layman’s bike, or something that was much good for back road scratching.  They made a luxurious, smooth and fast “gentleman’s express.”

1976 Benelli 750 Sei R Front

And the Sei excelled at that role, although it never sold well enough to threaten the Japanese, it was relatively well-received.  Testers at the time praised the smooth motor and exotic exhaust note, but were critical of the limited ground clearance, limited fuel capacity, and expensive price.  The 750cc version being sold here made 71hp and had a 5 speed transmission.  With a dry weight of 485 lbs, the bike was capable of 126mph.

1976 Benelli 750 Sei Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

Legendary 6 cyclindar Benelli SEI. One of the most sought after collector bikes in the world.

  • Very Good condition, runs great. Ready to ride anywhere.
  • New Tires
  • Cleaned and adjusted Carbs
  • New Battery
  • All original, no junk replacement parts on this bike.
  • Not museum quality, but easily made that way.

I’d possibly challenge the statement that this is “one of the most sought after collector bikes”, but I do love that there are plenty of pictures posted and the bike looks very solid: for some reason, Benellis I find for sale seem to be photographed in a shed, at dusk, through a dirty window.  With cracks in it.

1976 Benelli 750 Sei R Side

There’s very little time left on the auction, and bidding is only at $5,000 with the reserve not met.  This bike looks solid and ready to ride, with simple and apparently minor cosmetic issues that you can work on while the bike is parked up for the winter.  I’m sure you won’t be sitting still much during the riding season…

-tad

1976 Benelli 750 Sei L Rear

1978 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

1978 Benelli 750 Sei

Six-cylinder bikes are not designed with practicality in mind: they’re expensive to engineer and manufacture, present significant packaging issues whether inline or vee engines, are often very thirsty, and difficult to maintain.  But as a statement, as a flagship model, as a simple finger [middle or otherwise] in the face of your competition, they can’t be beat.

1978 Benelli 750 Sei R Side

The Benelli Sei first appeared in 1972 as a 750cc machine, with a 900cc version following in 1978.  The Sei was developed while Benelli was owned by Alejandro De Tomaso [of Pantera and Maserati fame] as a statement of bold intent to the Big Three Japanese manufacturers that his firm could compete with them in terms of engineering ability, although the Sei was relatively unexceptional in most regards, excepting its spectacularly smooth and exotic motor.

The 750cc version made about 71hp and was capable of 126mph, but it was heavy and expensive, with limited cornering clearance.

1978 Benelli 750 Sei Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

This is a 1978 Benelli 750 sei. 100% original, 100% complete (only missing one reflector on the front right signal housing) Showing only 4323 miles on the odometer. Bike had been sitting for many years. Got some fresh fuel to the carbs and it wants to run, though only on choke. This bike will need to be gone through. Electric start and lights/switches/signals work as they should. Gauge cluster is cracked at mounts. Brakes work, rotors have some rust but will clean up fine. Tires are original Perrelli and will need to be replaced. Most of the chrome has pitting, some rather deep. Fenders are real clean. Pipes are all very solid with some pitting, heavy on lower left pipe. Front spokes have some rust. Paint is all original and in very nice condition but not perfect, NO dents or dings. Inside of fuel tank has some rust, still very usable but will need a good cleaning. Seat is very nice. Tool tray under seat has a small piece broken from it. Overall this bike is in good original condition. It would be perfect for a full restoration as all the parts are there. Or, go through it, clean it up, and have an original rider.

1978 Benelli 750 Sei R Tank

Here’s a good clip of a Sei running, to give you an idea what these Benellis can sound like when set up properly.

This particular machine needs some work, but it seems like work worth doing: the bike appears to be complete and very original.  I’m sure the carbs will require some pretty serious money and/or time to put right, but this looks like it could easily become a nice rolling restoration.

There’s definitely a Benelli Sei in my fantasy garage, so I’ll be watching this auction to see where it ends up.

-tad

1978 Benelli 750 Sei L Rear

1977 Benelli 750 Sei For Sale

I have a soft spot for quirky Italian exotica: the weirder the better.  I mean, I’d love a bright yellow Ducati 750 Sport, but I can’t really imagine spending $35,000 to buy one, even if I had it to spend…  Plus, as much as I love that bike, it’s a bit of an…  Obvious choice: you can buy a faux vintage Ducati shirt at a shop selling discount sports clothing these days.  I see guys on the subway sporting Triumph shirts and Ducati sneakers…

But Benelli?  Benelli who?  Don’t they make shotguns?

The Benelli Sei [“Six”] went into production in 1972 and was superseded by the 900cc version in 1978.  It was envisioned by famous Argentinean Alejandro De Tomaso, who purchased the company in 1971, as a shot across the bow of the Japanese giants, a statement of intent that the Europeans could compete in terms of technological prowess.  Ultimately, it was produced in numbers too small to really make a dent in the competition.

The motor was reportedly based on the Honda CB550 four, with two extra cylinders grafted on.  Styling by Ghia seems relatively conventional now, but was considered very striking at the time.

The 750cc version put 71hp through a 5 speed transmission.  With a dry weight of 485 lbs, the bike was capable of 126mph.  Testers at the time praised the smooth motor and the Ferrarri-like exhaust note, but were critical of the limited ground clearance, limited fuel capacity, and price.

The Sei shown here for sale ups the ante with a custom fiberglass duck-tail, a custom fairing and dash combination, and a swoopy, blacked-out six-into-six exhaust that apes the styling of the extremely desirable 750 four cylinder bikes assembled by Magni.

I bet it sounds wonderful.

The original ad:

Benelli -Bimota 750sei fully restored for sale. This is a replica of the original model ordered by the spanish importer on the 70 . The engine has been improved with new electronic ignition, new electronic charging system and a set of 1000cc forged pistons.The head has been tunned with bigger valves, hot cam, bigger carbs, including a ramp of six carbs under order, reinforced dry clutch, oil cooler and a set of curved megaphones, MV Agusta Magni style. The bike as never been rided after restoration. If you´re looking for some rare and exotic, that could be your bike. I can sell all the spare parts manufactured and fitted in this bike to build a similar cafe-racer yourself. The price for the bike is 12.000 dollars. World wide delivery. The final cost to USA including transport, import taxes, insurance and new local plates is 2.000 dollars. If you doens´t like the original color (white and blue) I´ll repaint it as your preference.

1977 Benelli 750 Sei For Sale

These don’t come up for sale often, so it’s hard to know what this bike is really worth, but $12,000 is very steep for a Benelli Sei…  Although the engine work and cosmetic upgrades do make it one-of-a-kind.

-tad

Six Italians, Bennelli 900 Sei

1983 Bennelli 900 Sei for sale

You may have guessed the Sei is six in Italian. While there have been six cylinders in a motorcycle before (Honda RC166), Bennelli was the first production 6 cylinder bike. Designed in 1972 but hitting  the market in 1974 with 750cc and increasing in 1979 to 906cc. With the Single Over Head Cam (SOHC) and 80hp offered at 8400rpm this portly 549lb bike was still able to reach 120mph and a quarter mile in 13.3 sec at 99.8 mph. Three Dellorto carbs are easier to tune then 6, but appear to be up to the job. I imagine the sound of six cylinders with each of their own exhaust offered on the 750 would be a great song, but for the 900 the six were funneled down into two.

Other changes going from 750 to 900 were the addition of mag wheels, duplex drive chain and rear disk. Reviews of the time give good grades on handling, but seem to fall short of the performance compared to the Japanese sixes, the CBX and the KZ1300. Drawbacks seem to be in the fit and finish allowed oil leaks with all those cylinder surfaces. The dry clutch also was not up to the task of putting 6 cylinders to one rear wheel.

The seller gives very little detail about the bike itself.

            If you’ve been looking for an original, unmolested, not passed around 900 Sei, this is the one. I bought this bike in 1990 from a friend, and have ridden it only for Sunday breakfast rides…..Also included is the original tool kit.

The pictures show a very clean bike with no obvious flaws. One of the criticism given in the few articles I read was that the design draws a lot from the Japanese CB750, and not an original Italian design (think Desmo twin) This might be a reason why so many cylinders work so well together and appear to give little mechanical problems.

If you are a high speed, well handling engine with a bike around it, this looks like a nice choice.

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