The Benelli Sei 900

Benelli's 6-cylinder motorcycle
By Doug Mitchel
September/October 2009
Add to My MSN

The Benelli Sei 900 got its start as the Benelli Sei 750 ("Sei" is Italian for “six”), which was first unveiled in the fall of 1972 and was the first production 6-cylinder motorcycle in the world.
Photo by Doug Mitchel
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Footage from the 2010 Pre-1916 Motorcycle Cannonball

A collection of videos highlighting the 2010 Pre-1916 Motorcycle Cannonball

Road America Vintage Motorcycle Classic: Don’t Miss the Next One!

We’ve just returned from the 2nd Annual Road America Vintage Motorcycle Classic, and if you weren’t ...

MidAmerica Auctions at Motorcyclepedia Museum

MidAmerica Auctions Presents the Premier Motorcyclepedia Museums Spring Festival and Antique Motorcy...

Motorcyclepedia Museum to Open April 16

Motorcyclepedia, the official host museum to the Antique Motorcycle Foundation, is opening to the pu...

Benelli Sei 900
Years produced:
 1979-1987
Claimed power: 80hp @ 8,400rpm
Engine: 906cc SOHC air-cooled inline 6
Top speed: 120mph
Weight (wet): 549lb (249kg)
Wheelbase: 56in (1,422mm)
Width: 25.75in (654mm)
1/4 mile, sec/mph: 13.3/99.8
MPG: 35-45
Price then (1983): $5,406
Price now: $5,000-$8,000

The Benelli Sei 900 got its start as the Benelli Sei 750 ("Sei" is Italian for “six”), which was first unveiled in the fall of 1972 and was the first production 6-cylinder motorcycle in the world. Delays and setbacks put the launch off until 1974, and the new model carried an MSRP of $3,995. That’s roughly $17,500 in today’s money, but Italian cars and cycles weren’t — and still aren’t — purchased for their bargain price tag.

While the design of the engine on the Benelli Sei 750 closely mimicked Honda’s CB500, its two extra pots set it apart from everything else. The inline-six displaced 747cc and was fed by three 29mm Dell’Orto carbs, as the obstacle of synchronizing six units pushed the designers to this more friendly arrangement. A 5-speed gearbox sent the 75hp to the rear wheel via a single drive chain.

A 6-into-6 exhaust was unique, and the sound emanating from the chrome tips was something else. A tubular steel frame carried the load, and with a half-tank of fuel the Benelli Sei 750 tipped the scales at just over 500 pounds.

Styling was subdued once you got past the exhaust, with a saddle that was fairly thin and square compared to some of the more sumptuous pillions on the Japanese units. A pair of disc brakes up front and a drum at the rear did a decent job of slowing the Sei. Contemporary reviews complained of poor gauges and switchgear, although some quirkiness was to be expected on an Italian bike.

After a few years of middling sales, the Sei 750 was upgraded for 1979 to 906cc and the exhaust was pared back to a 6-into-2 system. The Benelli Sei 900 gained little more than five ponies over the Sei 750. A unique duplex drive chain was added, wire wheels were replaced with gold-colored Campagnolo rims and a rear disc brake replaced the former drum unit.

Read how the Benelli Sei 900 performed in our 6-Cylinder Motorcycle Shootout 

The Benelli Sei 900 also gained a sidestand, along with a safety feature requiring the stand be in the “up” position before the starter would engage. The 1983 models sold for $5,400, and compared to the last year 1982 Kawasaki KZ1300, which listed at $6,260, it should have seemed like a bargain for a 6-cylinder motorcycle. Built and sold in small numbers, it stayed in production until 1987. MC 

 








Post a comment below.

 








The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
 

Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $4.95 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $29.95 for a one year subscription!