Benelli is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer that was first founded in Pesaro, Italy in 1911. As one of Europe’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers, Benelli has been blessed with a long and illustrious history that has seen the brand riding high on a wave of racing success in the first half of the twentieth century before fading into obscurity in the latter. After a number of failed revivals and numerous ownership changes, Benelli is back in full production and looking stronger than ever. After a successful revival in 1995, the brand was sold to Chinese QianJiang Group in 2005, and thanks to the renewed interest, investment in development, and a fresh injection of passion, the brand is back and growing from strength to strength. Twinning the best of Italian design with pragmatic Chinese engineering, modern Benelli motorcycles are a unique product that marry an exotic ride experience with a realistic price point, without compromising on the passion of it all. After all, Benelli’s famous slogan is: “Pure passion since 1911” – and it’s just that and more.
A Brief History Of Benelli Motorcycles
The Benelli Brothers
The Benelli motorcycle brand was originally founded in Pesaro, Italy in 1911. The company was established by Teresa Benelli, a widow who wanted to find stable work for her six sons, Giuseppe, Giovanni, Francesco, Filippo, Domenico, and Antonio. Using what finances she had, Teresa established the Benelli company, and sent Giuseppe and Giovanni to Switzerland to study engineering. Upon the brothers’ return, the Benelli Garage was established and operated as a bicycle and motorcycle repair shop with an in-house engineering section, boasting eleven employees, including five out of six of the Benelli brothers. The early Benelli company produced spare parts and repaired bicycles, but with the onset of World War I, the Benelli Garage was charged with repairing Italy’s war machines and fabricating spare parts for the war effort.
The small Benelli Garage unveiled its first motorcycle model in1919 using outsourced parts, but in 1920 the company produced its first in-house engineered engine: a 75cc two-stroke single-cylinder unit. The Benelli family grafted their new engine to a bicycle frame at first, but one year later in 1921 the company pulled the covers off of a more dedicated model, a 98cc engine mated to a purpose built frame. Since Benelli was originally founded in 1911, it can claim to call itself the oldest European motorcycle factory still in operation – however, Moto Guzzi is the oldest European motorcycle manufacturer that has been in constant production. Either way, Benelli is one of the oldest motorcycle marques that is still with us today.
Armed with a production model, the company quickly began designing competition variations to race on the track and promote the brand. The youngest of the Benelli brothers Antonio (also known as “Tonino”) proved to be an exceptionally talented motorcycle rider and racer, and quickly took to racing Benelli branded motorcycles and winning races up and down the country. Tonino Benelli and his Benelli 175 won four Italian championship titles in five years. Unfortunately, a racing accident in 1932 cut Tonino’s racing career short, and five years later in 1937, Tonino was tragically killed in a road accident.
World War II
After Tonino’s death and in the run-up to World War II the Benelli company continued innovating new and exciting machines and racing them. In fact, the factory was developing an all-new 250cc four-cylinder racing motorcycle with a supercharger that was going to be raced at the 1940 Isle of Man TT. Unfortunately, the shadow of war descended on Italy, and the newly created Benelli Four was limited to domestic racing, and most of the company’s efforts were focused on aiding the war effort. In short: the Second World War was not kind to Benelli.
The war brought a manufacturing boom for Benelli, with the company being focused on developing, producing, and repairing war machines. At this time, Benelli was more successful than ever before and employed 800 workers at its Pesaro factory. Unfortunately, the manufacturing hub was singled out by the Allied forces and was subjected to a devastating bombing campaign that saw the factory reduced to rubble, and subsequent Nazi plundering. Despite the overwhelming odds, the Benelli brothers returned to production in the post-war years with renewed vigor. Salvaging approximately 1,000 military motorcycles from the ruins of their factory, the brothers converted these for civilian use and began looking to the future. By 1947, the company had recovered somewhat and even returned to racing, hiring racer Dario Ambrosini to lead the brand’s assault on the world’s racing circuits. Benelli returned to full production in 1949, and celebrated by winning the 250cc World Championship in 1950, with Ambrosini at the controls.
Benelli had returned, but another Benelli brother was lost along the way. This time, Giuseppe Benelli parted ways with the company and established his own company, Moto “B” Pesaro, which would later become known as Motobi. Benelli carried on and developed a new range of lightweight motorcycles suited to the post-war Italian economy: the 98cc and 125cc Leoncino models and the more powerful 350cc and 500cc single-cylinder machines. The Leoncino was exactly what post-war Italy needed: small and economical models that could be ridden by anyone – these were available in two and four-stroke variants. Benelli’s larger models were geared towards motorcycle enthusiasts and the export market, and thanks to the entrepreneurial thinking of the Montgomery Ward company, Benelli began exporting to the USA with models sold under the “Riverside” brand name.
Expansion & Growth
Benelli’s success in the 1950s was reflected by the company’s sales figures and profit, to the extent that in 1962, when Giuseppi Benelli’s Motobi company was failing, Benelli decided to step in and acquire the marque. The Motobi company was absorbed into the Benelli brand, along with its 550 employees. Motobi was able to produce up to 300 motorcycles a day, and the increased production allowed Benelli to flourish. While gaining the Motobi brand was a huge step for Benelli, their most notable feat of the 1960s came in 1969, when the company pulled the covers off of the Benelli Tornado 650: a parallel twin motorcycle developed for the British and American markets.
The Tornado was somewhat of a landmark model for Benelli: it was a large-capacity motorcycle that garnered a reputation for its steadfast reliability and high-performance nature. The 650cc engine could produce 54 horsepower at 7,400 rpm and hit top speeds of around 117 mph, even though the package was a little on the heavy side at 480 lbs. But despite the initial success of the Tornado, and the amazing sales happening with Montgomery Ward in the USA, a change was coming to the motorcycle industry, and it came in the form of several Japanese motorcycle manufacturers.
The Arrival Of The Japanese
When the Japanese arrived on the scene in the late 60s, the European motorcycle industry began a downward path to near-destruction. Cheap and efficient, power and reliable motorcycles were arriving on the scene, and very few European manufacturers could compete against the Asian invasion. Benelli tried, and produced a number of models that could scrap with the likes of the Honda CB750 or Kawasaki Z1, but Benelli’s models were built around dated pushrod single-cylinder engines and compared with electric-starting, overhead cam engine modern Japanese bikes, Benelli’s designs were too old-fashioned to inspire the buying public. This wasn’t a Benelli-only problem either, and the effects of the Japanese arrival rocked Norton, BSA, and Triumph almost irreparably.
The De Tomaso Years
Benelli was in financial dire straits, but it wasn’t alone – many other European manufacturers were forced to shut down or band together in co-operatives just to survive. In 1973, Benelli was bought by the Argentinian industrialist Alejandro de Tomaso, of the de Tomaso fame that also owned Moto Guzzi and Maserati. Thanks to de Tomaso’s investment and with Moto Guzzi’s support, Benelli was able to design and develop new models with interesting engine configurations, such as the 350 GTS, the 500 Quattro, and most famously, the enormous 750 Sei inline-six model. For a brief time, Benelli motorcycles were outclassing their Japanese rivals, but the success didn’t last long. Despite the brief technological advances made in the late 70s and early 80s, Benelli’s production models were often plagued by mechanical problems, which ultimately resulted in de Tomaso halting production in 1988.
Later on in 1988, Benelli and Moto Guzzi were merged together to form the Guzzi Benelli Moto S.p.A, and all of Benelli’s assets in Pesaro, including the factories, were sold. During this period, Moto Guzzi models continued getting produced, while Benelli was largely forgotten about. A year later, in 1989, a Benelli revival was instigated by Giancarlo Selci, a manufacturer based in Pesaro, but the project didn’t take off. In 1995, another attempt was made by Andrea Merloni and it was mildly successful.
Under Merloni’s leadership, the new Benelli arrived on the scene with large ambitions and what appeared to be the means to achieve them. One of the most notable models from this era was the Benelli 491 scooter, which helped boost Benelli’s image and allow the company to explore and invest in other models, even allowing the company to unveil a new sports bike: the Tornado 900. The Tornado was a relative success and even competed in the World Superbike Championship. The model was complimented with the TnT 1130, a naked roadster that was nothing short of a wheelie machine.
The Qianjing Group
Unfortunately, the new rebirth of Benelli was short lived, until it was acquired by the Chinese Qianjiang Group in 2005. The Qianjiang Group is a huge Chinese company that was awarded the title of “Best Motorcycle Exporter of the Year” in 2005. Based out of Wenling, southeast China, the Qianjing Group was founded in 1985 and is one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in China, owning 5 domestic subsidiaries, and now Benelli. Though Chinese in ownership, the new Benelli company based out of Pesaro, Italy, and employs the exact same workforce that it did with its previous owner, Benelli S.p.A.
Today, Benelli is well on the way to recovery. The company has developed a new range of exciting models, from the entry level TNT 300 to the higher specification flagship model, the TNT R. Not only has Benelli managed to develop new models, but under the Qianjiang Group’s leadership, it has been able to expand to new markets, such as India and Iran. In India alone, Benelli has managed to break sales records and become one of the fastest premium motorcycle selling brands in the sub-continent.
Benelli’s sales and market presence is also expanding in Europe and the Americas, though no matter how hard the company tries, there is one factor that is preventing it from really establishing itself: Chinese ownership. The stigma of being attached to a Chinese manufacturer has unjustly damaged Benelli’s modern growth. While there are always horror stories of Chinese manufacturing standards, most of Benelli’s critics are unwilling to realize that modern Benelli motorcycles are designed and engineered in Italy, and those made for sale in Europe and North America are built in Italy.
Fortunately, as more established manufacturers are entering profitable partnerships with Asian manufacturing companies (Norton with Zongshen, BMW Motorrad with TVS, and KTM with Bajaj, to name but a few), and with the quality of Chinese manufacturing improving by the day, it won’t be long until Benelli takes center stage once again. Benelli has been around for well over a hundred years and faced financial troubles and factory closures – and against all odds, it’s still with us today and has a very promising future.
Are Benelli Motorcycles Reliable?
The “Chinese” association is something that the Benelli Motorcycles marketing team are going to have to work hard to get over. Unfortunately, there are many critics of Chinese motorcycles and the vast majority of these critics have never ridden a Chinese motorcycle at all, save for a $100 pit bike they bought on a whim. That’s not to say that Chinese engineering is perfect – in most cases it certainly is a long way from that, but there are two things to say to the naysayers. Firstly, take one for a ride before you pass judgment and you may be pleasantly surprised. Secondly, Benelli motorcycles made for the European and American markets are manufactured in Italy, not China. That being said, Benelli motorcycles made in Italy before the Chinese take-over were hardly known for their reliability either.
User reviews and impartial testimonies are divided when it comes to build quality of Benelli’s modern motorcycles. Some riders have been immediately impressed by the quality of a model when compared with its price point, while others have been quick to notice faults such as unresponsive braking or poor quality components. Unfortunately, Benelli’s partnership with the Qianjiang Group is only relatively new, so we’ll have to wait a few more years until we can analyze how reliable modern Benelli motorcycles truly are. So far, there have been no major faults reported, and many of the usual user complaints can also be attributed to well-established brands with reputations for high-quality engineering too – faults happen, at the end of the day. Still, Benelli is quietly confident about its reliability, since the company generally offers a two-year or unlimited mileage warranty to help riders overcome their prejudices, and also offer a fairly comprehensive two-year road side assistance program too.
Interestingly, there have been no recalls for Benelli’s products whatsoever, which is an incredible feat considering that fellow Italian brands such as Aprilia, MV Agusta, and Ducati, have clocked up a fair few over the past few years.
Modern Benelli motorcycles have come a long way in the past few years and aren’t as rugged and “unfinished” as many critics would have you believe. Thanks to the huge level of investment from the Qianjiang Group, Benelli’s Italy-based Research and Development department have managed to engineer a series of advanced and competitive new models that offer a unique and exhilarating ride experience. Here’s a brief summary of some of the company’s latest features:
Over the last few years, Benelli’s engine design has improved a great deal. From the 135cc mini-TNT, to the mid-sized TNT 300, and larger TNT 600, Benelli’s engines offer impressive power and efficiency. The 300 engine, for example, is a liquid-cooled 300cc, 4 valve, DOHC, parallel twin unit that has been designed for smooth power delivery, with a healthy torque curve that makes it ideal for urban riding and more aggressive pursuits too. The same is true of the larger Benelli TNT 600, which produced approximately 134 horsepower per liter, making for a potent and sharp ride experience.
Benelli’s frames are built around cast aluminum sections that are mated with steel trellis features that use the engine as a stressed member. The result is a strong frame that provides excellent road feel and precision handling. The rolling chassis is complimented with USD style forks (in different sizes depending on the model), twinned with a laterally mounted rear shock-absorber with adjustable pre-load controls. The rims are built from a lightweight cast aluminum and roll on Pirelli tires, depending on the model, and are stopped by industry standard disc brakes and calipers.
Instrumentation & Lighting
Modern Benelli motorcycles also come equipped with a number of sophisticated and advanced features, such as a comprehensive instrument cluster that features a digital multifunction display that provides real time information, twinned with an analog tachometer for quick and easy speed readings. This blend of modern technology and traditional mechanisms give Benelli motorcycles a refined and stylish feel. To make things better, Benelli have also treated their naked roadster models with LED lighting arrangements, from the tail lamp to the turn signals, for ultimate riding confidence, no matter the time of day.
The “Benelli” Sound
Benelli’s legacy dates back to 1911, but one of its most interesting features is relatively new. When the Tornado Naked Tre 1130 rolled on to the scene in 2004, it came accompanied by a unique engine and exhaust sound that has since become synonymous with the brand – an unmistakable roar that Benelli enthusiasts discuss with passionate enthusiasm. Thanks to the engine being used a stressed member in the frame, when revved, it gives Benelli’s models a spine tingling sound that instantly turns heads.
The Current US Line Up
At the moment Benelli’s US line-up is somewhat limited. This is largely down to the small number of dealerships and the small selection of models that would be appropriate for the US market. Unfortunately, the US doesn’t get to take advantage of Benelli’s sports-focused BN models, touring-inspired TRK 502 models, or small capacity Tornado models. Still, the US does get a choice of three interesting naked roadster models, and two sophisticated scooters – and the range is expected to grow in the near future.
The Benelli TNT 135
The latest model to be added to the US line-up is the TNT 135. Dubbed the “Grom killer” the TNT 135 has been built to compete with the Honda Grom and Kawasaki Z125 Pro directly – but it’s got a bigger engine, boasts more “tech” than the other two, and costs less. Many reviewers have remarked that the TNT 135 is even built to a higher standard than its rivals, which is a testament to Benelli’s new and improved direction. For lightweight motorcycling and short, urban commutes, the TNT 135 is a worthy machine.
The Benelli TNT 300
Benelli’s next size up in the TNT range is the 300, and it’s a surprisingly capable naked roadster that is ideally suited for beginner motorcyclists or those looking to get back into riding but don’t want to break the bank. Powered by a 282cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin engine that can produced 32.3 horsepower and 18.4 lb-ft of peak torque, the TNT 300 has enough performance to battle with the highway traffic, but is small enough for fast and nimble urban riding through narrow streets too.
The Benelli TNT 600
The TNT 600 is Benelli’s largest motorcycle for the US market. This naked roadster competes against the likes of the Honda CB500, Kawasaki Z650, and Yamaha FZ-07, and it measures up remarkably well. It’s not as competitively priced as its smaller incarnations, and that’s a good thing in this instance. At over 600cc, you wouldn’t want a manufacturer cutting corners to underscore the competition, and Benelli hasn’t done that at all. The 600cc in-line four engine produces a hearty 67 horsepower and 35.4 lb-ft of torque, which isn’t the most powerful but it is delivered in a constant and manageable way. The rolling chassis is tough, durable and comfortable, and the whole package comes wrapped in an exotic feel. We recommend taking one for a test ride before passing judgment.
The Caffenero 150
The smallest scooter in the Benelli range is the small, automatic Caffenero 150. Ideal for motorists looking for cheap, economical, and reliably transportation. The Caffenero is a functional and versatile scooter powered by a 150cc engine with a fully automatic transmission. With “twist and go” simplicity, an excellent fuel economy, and modern features such as disk brakes and an electric start, the Caffenero is a great choice for new riders.
The Zafferano 250
The largest scooter in the US Benelli range is the Zafferano 250. Unlike the Caffenero, the Zafferano takes its inspiration from larger displacement scooters that are available on the market from brands like Piaggio and Suzuki. Powered by a beefy 250cc engine with an automatic transmission, the Zafferano offers a more luxurious riding experience than its smaller sibling, thanks to the greater pulling power, longer wheelbase, larger saddle, and maxi-scooter aesthetic.
What About The Leoncino?
Benelli’s latest poster-bike, the scrambler-inspired Leoncino 500 isn’t currently available in the United States. However, the model has been released in Europe where it has been met with a positive reaction. If the interest for the Leoncino increases, sources at Benelli have said that it will make its way across the Atlantic. Until then, the choice of Benelli motorcycles in the USA remains limited to those listed above.
Benelli USA: SSR Motorsports
Benelli’s operations in the USA are overseen by the independent importer SSR Motorsports. SSR Motorsports started life in 2002 when it became a premier distributor for deluxe pit bikes, on and off-road motorcycles, electric bikes, and a number of utility vehicles that had been imported from China. SSR’s reputation was built on top of the fact that they carefully selected Chinese OEM manufacturers that displayed an aptitude for quality engineering without cutting corners or delivering sub-standard machinery. Today, SSR Motorsports is one of the most respected importer and distributor of Chinese manufacturer recreational vehicles in the USA, and even sells its own brand of motorcycles too.
SSR Motorsports and the QianJiang Group entered into a partnership in 2015, when the QJ Group named SSR Motorsports as their exclusive distributor and retailer for the Benelli brand and its affiliated products for the whole of North America. Using SSR Motorsports talent for selling Chinese equipment and taking advantage of SSR’s already established dealer network, the Benelli brand arrived in the USA and meant business. It hasn’t been an out and out success though – SSR Motorsports still only has a limited reach in terms of dealerships, and this is probably one of the biggest reasons that the brand has struggled to grow in the USA. However, SSR Motorsports recently announced plans to expand their dealership network across the country, and there has also been talk of a wider selection of models to be made available to the US market too. We will have to wait and see whether more dealerships and a larger model selection will be enough to turn US riders on to the brand or not.
Currently, Benelli Motorcycles and SSR Motorsports operate a total of 90 dealerships, service centers, and sales points in the USA. These dealers offer a wide range of goods and services for SSR Motorsports and Benelli customers, including everything from sales and service, to test riding facilities and parts ordering. Since the brand is only emerging in the USA, there aren’t any full-on “dedicated” Benelli-only dealerships yet. For the most part, Benelli products are sold alongside other manufacturers in other brand-specific dealers or general all-encompassing sales outlets. As such, it’s not possible for us to judge the quality of Benelli Motorcycles and SSR Motorsports dealerships and their sales and service staff. It should be noted that established dealerships that offer to service Benelli products have been officially certified for Benelli technical service by the brand.
For the best sales deals, service, and the best selection of parts, it’s highly recommended that you visit your nearest authorized Benelli or SSR Motorsports dealerships. At official retail outlets, you can also take advantage of Benelli’s financing options, special offers, and official factory warranties, too.
Benelli Financing & Special Offers
Despite being an emerging brand in the United States, Benelli Motorcycles and SSR Motorsports have put together a number of financing offers for those looking to purchase new Benelli models. At the moment, Benelli is working in partnership with two financial institutions, Dealer Direct and Roadrunner Financial, to provide the best financing models and options to its customers.
Dealer Direct financing is available for customers with FICO score of 650 and above, with their offers applying to Benelli street motorcycles or SSR Motorsport’s off-road machines. Dealer Direct, a branch of the First Community Bank Batesville, Arkansas, can offer on-the-spot financing for qualifying customers offer to finance a wide range of models with rates as low as 2.99%. Contact Dealer Direct for the most up to date financing information.
Benelli also has a partnership with Roadrunner Financial. This is great news for those with lower FICO scores, since Roadrunner’s financial services are available to prospective buyers with FICO scores of 600 and above, rather that Dealer Direct’s 650 and above. This partnership helps those who have been declined in the past get credit approved in a fast and simple way. Roadrunner Financial’s schemes cover Benelli motorcycles and selected SSR Motorsports products. Roadrunner offers instant decisions, no fees, and paperless contracts, providing credit in a hassle free manner. It’s best to contact Roadrunner online for an instant financing deal via an online application, though you can just contact a Benelli dealer directly instead. Roadrunner Financial is a trusted financial institution that has partnerships with many household names, such as Can-Am, Triumph, Moto Guzzi, Mahindra, Suzuki, Piaggio, Kymco, Hyosung, Aprilia, Vespa, and more!
The QianJiang Motorcycle Group Co.
The reason for Benelli’s continued growth and success is down to the company’s takeover by the Zhejian Qianjiang Motorcycle Group, a Chinese motorcycle manufacture. QianJiang Motorcycle was first founded in 1985 in the city of Wenling in China. Over the years it has grown into a manufacturing giant, and the largest manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles in China. Today, the firm produces a wide range of products such as motorcycles, quadbikes, electric bicycles, lawnmowers, golf carts, power generators, pumps, gardening equipment, and electrical appliances, and manufactures these gods using modern production methods and high-quality machinery imported from Germany, Italy, and the USA and the company employs more than 10,000 skilled workers. In fact, QianJiang Motorcycles has held the IS) 9001 qualification certificate – an internationally recognized certification for manufacturing quality – since 1997.
All in all, the QianJiang Group is one of the most successful Chinese manufacturing companies. Over 20% of the company’s products are exported abroad, with many of those products being sold to Europe and the United States of America. Today, the QianJiang Group has more than $750 million in capital, and plans to use a large portion of that money to help develop the Benelli brand. It was recently reported that the Chinese giant has been working closely with Benelli to help develop new motorcycle products and streamline existing ideas, whilst simultaneously focusing on expanding Benelli’s market presence in Europe and the United States. It’s clear that the company has a long way to go to impress the European and American markets and it will take a huge amount of time, effort, and patience to dispel many previously held ideas about the quality of Chinese manufacturing. The Chinese manufacturing industry is improving every day, and it won’t be long until more brands are outsourcing their manufacturing systems to China and entering into partnerships with Chinese investors.
Benelli’s Racing History
Benelli’s racing history dates back to the very early days of the company when Antonio “Tonino” Benelli began racing with his family company’s models, securing a number of incredible championship wins in the process. Tonino was able to ride his Benelli 175 into the history books when he became the Italian Champion is 1927, 1928, 1930, and 1931 – an incredible feat, to say the least. Benelli’s racing career had barely begun though, and soon the company was earning victories and podium finishes in the European World Championship competition with riders Carlo Baschieri and Yvan Goor winning the championships in 1932 and 1934 respectively.
The company was also showing incredibly strong performances at the legendary Isle of Man TT too – one of the most prestigious races on the planet at the time. Over the years, Benelli has had varying degrees of success on the Isle, but its most significant results came 1939, 1950, and 1969, when the brand won in the 250cc classes. The 1939 victory was secured by Ted Mellors, the 1950 victory by Dario Ambrosini, and the most recent TT victory in 1969 from Kel Carruthers.
At the same time, Benelli also competed in the premier class of motorcycle racing, at the Motorcycle Gran Prix, again in the 250cc class. During the 60s, the factory fielded three exceptional riders. The first was Tarquinio Provini, who managed to win races in the 250cc Championship in 1965. The second was Renzo Pasolini, who won extraordinary victories in the 250cc and 350cc Championships in 1968 and continued winning in 1969. Lastly, and most significantly, was the TT victor Kel Carruthers, who won the 250cc World Championships in 1969 for Benelli.
Unfortunately, Benelli’s racing ambitions were cut short when the company was faced with financial disaster. However, it recently made another foray into top flight racing at the beginning of the 2000s, signing Australian champion Peter Goddard to race for them. At present, Benelli isn’t involved in any serious racing competitions.
The Museo Benelli
For real Benelli enthusiasts that want to connect with the brand and understand its complicated history, there’s no greater place to visit than the Museo Benelli at the Officine Benelli headquarters in Pesaro, Italy. The museum is located in the original, historic Benelli factory and showcases the rich history of the brand and its connection with the region around Pesaro. For many motorcycle enthusiasts, the Museo Benelli is one of the most interesting motorcycle museums in Italy, which is no mean feat with the likes of Ducati, MV Agusta, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, and Piaggio all boasting incredible museums too. What’s more, it has been said the museum will also appeal to non-motorcyclists too, making it a great choice for a family trip.
The Officine Benelli was established when the local populace and two local motorcycle organizations invested time, money, and artifacts from their personal collections to help reunite the Benelli name with the local area. Now, the renovated Benelli facility is a treasure house of motorcycle history. The 11,000 square foot exhibition space houses more than 150 motorcycles from the Benelli and Motobi brands, alongside parts, prototypes, photographs and drawings, and all manner of artifacts from the Benelli story. The museum also features a library filled with literature about the motorcycle industry and the Benelli brand, and a souvenir shop that sells books and Benelli-specific merchandise.
The Museo Benelli is located in the city of Pesaro, on Italy’s Adriatic coast. Specifically, the museum is located at number 22 on the Viale Goffredo Mameli, 61121 Pesaro, Italy. It’s open between the hours of 9.00 am to 12.00 pm and 4.30 pm to 7.00 pm between Monday and Friday, and between the hours of 4.30 pm and 7.00 pm on Saturday afternoons. Guided tours are also available, and there is no need to book in advance either.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Benelli Motorcycles
#01. Benelli firearms were originally produced by the Benelli motorcycle company, to some degree. In 1967, the motorcycle manufacturer decided to turn their engineering skills to another purpose: the manufacture of firearms. Today, the two companies are entirely separate, but without Benelli motorcycles, there’s a good chance we wouldn’t have any Benelli firearms.
#02. When the Benelli 750 Sei first rolled onto the scene in 1972, it was the world’s first production motorcycle with a six-cylinder engine. The 750 Sei remained as the world’s only production motorcycle with a six-cylinder engine until 1978, when Honda pulled the covers off of their CBX model. Honda’s release of the CBX coincided with Benelli’s discontinuation of the Sei 750, too.
#03. The first ever Benelli motorcycle was called the Velomotore. This early model was unveiled in 1921, and it was quite a primitive machine. In fact, it was only a 75cc single-cylinder two-stroke engine grafted onto a bicycle frame. Fortunately, that model evolved into something more sophisticated: the 98cc Motoleggera model that helped drive the company’s success.
#04. Benelli’s early racing success was down to the racing prowess of the youngest Benelli brother, Tonino. Despite his unfortunate early death, Tonino managed to clock up more than 1000 victories in the Italian and European Championships, winning four Italian championships, and two World titles, on his Benelli 175.
#05. Benelli guns are world famous, but did you know that Benelli and Beretta went in to business together before Benelli had even considered building a gun? In the 1940s, Benelli penned a deal with Luigi Castelbarco and Giuseppe Beretta to help each other develop an automobile. The prototype was unveiled in 1948 and called the BBC (Beretta, Benelli, Castelbarco) but unfortunately the idea was scrapped and the BBC never went into production.
Benelli Motorcycles: FAQ
#01. Does Benelli Still Make Motorcycles? Yes, Benelli still produced motorcycles. After a period of uncertainty between 1988 and 1995, Benelli returned to production in the late 90s. Today, the company is stronger than ever, producing a wide selection of models, with dealerships all over the world.
#02. Does Benelli Still Make Firearms? Benelli Armi S.p.A still makes firearms, but Benelli Motorcycles do not. The firearms division of the Benelli company was divested in 1967 and operates as an entirely separate entity. Today, Benelli Armi S.p.A is a subsidiary of Beretta Holding, alongside Stoeger Industries, Franchi, Victrix Armaments, and many others. Benelli Armi S.p.A has been a subsidiary of Beretta since 2000.
#03. Who Owns Benelli Motorcycles? Today, Benelli is owned by the QianJiang Group – China’s largest producer of two-wheeled machines and manufacturing giant. The new partnership has allowed Benelli to grow and return to the center stage of the motorcycling industry, fusing Italian know-how with Chinese manufacturing.
#04. Where Is The Benelli Motorcycle Factory? Benelli motorcycles are manufactured in different places depending on what market you’re buying in. For example, most Westen countries are supplied by Benelli’s Italian factory in Pesaro, while Indian customers will receive models built locally in India. Benelli motorcycles for the Asian and Oceanic market are generally manufactured at the company’s Chinese factory in Wenling. All of Benelli’s factories are overseen by Italian engineers, and all of their motorcycles are developed and designed at home in Italy.
#05. Where To Buy Benelli Motorcycles? SSR Motorsports is the exclusive importer and distributor of Benelli motorcycles in the USA and Canada. If you’re looking to buy a Benelli motorcycle, it’s recommended that you find your nearest SSR Motorsports dealership for the best deals. At present, there are more than 90 Benelli and SSR Motorsports dealerships in the USA.