Benelli Sei 750 Road Test

This Benelli Sei 750 road test has been a long time coming, because the restoration and setting up of this rare machine has taken so long. Parts are incredibly hard to come by and getting the correct parts for these earlier machines is highly challenging as suppliers send out later parts believing they’re correct. We found our dear friend Bert at the Six Centre Motoren in Holland is the most reliable. Finding these machines in such original condition in the first place is more than a challenge.

1975 Benelli Sei 750 road test
Still looking stunning after all this time


Benelli was bought out by De Tomaso, along with Moto Guzzi, and the Sei was going to be a Moto Guzzi badged machine. Reality had different plans and whether or not it was to do with the excessive government funding or some other whim, the Sei became the darling of the  Benelli brand. You can read more about it in this article here. The engineers had been ordered to deliver a machine which was bang up to date, stylish, beautiful and very well behaved. The Sei is a thing of beauty with its six exhausts, outlandish paint job and it certainly behaves itself. The design brief was fulfilled and the world’s first production six cylinder motorcycle was born much to the disgust of the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers in 1972.

1975 Benelli Sei 750 road test
A well mannered and sophisticated motorcycle with a great place in history

Rare Italian classic motorcycle

The Benelli Sei 750 is a rare Italian classic motorcycle as they only produced 3,200 according to some, or many say up to 5,000. Record keeping was never any Italian motorcycle manufacturers strong point up until the early 2000s when Texas Pacific bought Ducati. It would be a surprise to find 1,000 of these beautiful machines worth buying today and nearly all will require restoring. The cost of restoration, as always, is greater than the value of the motorcycle so if the machine is right, then it’s time to snap one up. These are an under the radar classic Italian motorcycle and they will have to increase in value substantially over the coming years.

1975 Benelli Sei 750 road test

The motor

The motor is a strange affair as they clearly copied Honda’s CB500 and added a pair of cylinders. Some Honda CB500 parts work inside this motor, but not everything so be aware what works and what doesn’t when ordering spares. The cylinder head is a very strange looking piece of work with its squared off fins on top of the rounded cylinder block. From the front the motor looks enormous, but from the side it’s no bigger than a CB750, except for the giant alternator that emerges from the right hand crank case just behind the cylinder block.

1975 Benelli Sei 750 exhausts nice

Design flaw

There is a clear design flaw, as the inlet manifolds are different lengths on cylinders one and two and five and six. Cylinders three and four have a completely different shaped and length inlet manifold to the other four. A longer inlet manifold provides more torque so each cylinder is fighting the other in very different ways.  The three big Dellorto carbs have seriously got their work cut out and are then throttled by a miniscule airbox. These machines only produce 71 BHP and this is why they’re so well behaved, they don’t challenge the chassis too much.

Benelli Sei outer inlet manifolds
Inlet manifolds for the outer two cylinders
Benelli Sei 750 inlet manifold centre
Inlet manifolds for the middle cylinders.

The road test

The road test has to be taken in context, this was never a 100 BHP motorcycle, it’s a three carb motorcycle with a design flaw. The brakes are magnificent pair of Brembo items up front and a small but adequate drum on the rear. Braking is really excellent with plenty of feel and far better than anything the competition could offer at that time. What you notice first of all, when you climb onboard, is that the machine is so small. Start the motor and the howl from those six pipes is divine and sends tingles up your spine. The gearbox is smooth and the clutch light and user friendly. As soon as the bike pulls away it feels light and manageable. Even weaving through traffic is straight forward on the Sei, but just don’t forget that the motor is far wider than it feels. The large alternator does tend to keep your right shin company, which is disconcerting at first and over time becomes quite comforting.

1975 Benelli Sei 750 road test
A well mannered and sophisticated motorcycle with a great place in history


The handling is really quite good, especially when you think this is a motorcycle first released in 1972. Left handers need an awareness that the side stand, which is positioned at the front of the frame loop, does tend to grind out. Right handers can be taken with more gusto and the Benelli will get down nice and low, but that’s not the point of this motorcycle. This is not some GSXR750 of its day, or a motorcycle on which to pretend you’re Agostini. For its time, the Benelli Sei was the height of motorcycling sophistication and style, it was not a howling scratcher. The Benelli does not inspire particularly fast cornering goals, like a Laverda Jota does, it is a fun motorcycle which commands attention.

Benelli Sei 750 Road Test

Enjoy the ride and the attention

Enjoy the ride and the attention that the Benelli commands, as that is what this motorcycle is all about. It’s torquey at low revs but soon runs out of puff due to the tiny airbox and mismatched manifolds. It’s a joy to ride but you need to take your time, enjoy the ride and enjoy the attention it commands everywhere it goes. This motorcycle has such an important place in history and there are so few of them remaining that prices will have to fiercely increase as this little Italian beauty breaks cover. Right now it offers a reliable, good value classic bike at an attractive price point; but not for much longer. 

1975 Benelli Sei 750 road test
Archaic switchgear and clocks, but it was the early 1970s.


The switch gear and speedo instruments are archaic, non-sensical and unavailable. Switchgears have a tendency to either completely break or make the handlebars live. The left switch on our bike made the handlebars live, but we managed to repair that. Airboxes are usually long gone, as the plastic will have become hard, brittle and the entire airbox will have disintegrated. The airbox on our example took a full week of repair work and now works perfectly. The paint scheme for the petrol tank is hand painted and quite complex, as the lines need to be masked with the tank on the bike as they are horizontal while the swage lines are at an angle. Most restorers get this completely wrong and also make a hash of the matt black design on the petrol tank, as it’s a lot of work to get right.

Benelli Sei 750 head on

Original examples are highly prized

Original examples are highly prized as they are so incredibly rare. There are numerous botched garden shed restored examples in the market and they look very shiny and sparkly, but they are so wrong that they need restoring all over again. It’s really worth hunting down an exceptional example, as average bodges will only cause problems and won’t offer the returns a genuine machine will deliver. These motorcycles need a lot of setting up as well and people just don’t bother, as it takes a lot of time and commitment. If you want an investment grade Benelli 750 Sei, call The Motorcycle Broker.  

Paul Jayson

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