Italian Six: Benelli 900 Sei Café Racer

Benelli Sei Cafe Racer

“Sinfonia” by Unik Edition Custom Motorcycles… 

Introduced in 1972, the Benelli 750 Sei (“Six”) was the world’s first six-cylinder production motorcycle, featuring a 747cc air-cooled inline six producing 71 bhp. The driving force behind the machine was Alejandro De Tomaso, an Argentine sports car builder and entrepreneur who’d purchased Benelli and intended to take the fight to the Japanese:

“When De Tomaso bought the company in 1971, he decided Benelli needed a showpiece — a luxury sporting motorcycle in the spirit of the De Tomaso-designed Pantera sports car.” –Motorcycle Classics

Benelli 750 Sei (Via Silodrome)

The original 750 Sei turned out better than almost anyone anticipated, playing to the timeless Italian strengths of grace, style, handling, and sheer ingenuity:

“It mimicked the ‘Ultimate Japanese Motorcycle’ of the 70’s in many ways and yet still remained every bit the Latin beast, unique looking and feeling, while still handling far better than any production machine from that decade had any right to do…” –Classic Motorbikes

Fast forward to 1979, and Benelli unleashed the 900 Sei, featuring an enlarged 906cc / 80-bhp engine. While many deemed it a “flashbike” — an expensive, rare, and quirky high-performance European motorcycle — none other than Cycle World‘s Peter Egan compared the Benelli favorably to the Honda CBX1000:

“The Sei is like a conventional Seventies’ motorcycle that happens to have a six-cylinder engine, while the Honda is essentially a stunning engine with a very nice motorcycle designed to carry it around.” -Peter Egan, Cycle World

Benelli Sei Cafe Racer

Enter our friend Tiago Gonçalves and the crew of Lisbon’s Unik Edition Custom Motorcycles, who received this ’79 Benelli 900 Sei as little more than a basket case:

“It was a very challenging project. Basically we got an engine and a frame. Everything would have to be redone again. The aim was to create an incredible piece, with six exhausts but easy to ride. This was the starting point, the briefing.”

For the tank, they planned to use at least part of the original unit, but in reality they used almost nothing — just a small part of the tank cover. Instead they built a custom gasoline and oil tank from aluminum that sits beneath the fiberglass tank cover.

Benelli Sei Cafe Racer

Up front, the inverted front forks were adapted from a modern sportbike, while the single-sided swingarm comes courtesy of a Ducati S4r.

Adapting such modern components to the Benelli was no piece of cake, says Tiago, especially since they couldn’t rely on any previous experience with the model.

“One of the challenging parts was adapting the Ducati swingarm to the 70s frame, changing the tire from 130 to 190. All the geometry had to be aligned — a very challenging job, but one which turned out to be spectacular.”

Benelli Sei Cafe Racer

The bodywork is all custom: 3D drawn, printed on a 3D printer, then sculpted from fiberglass.

The rest of the bike is rounded out with top-shelf components, including Kineo wheels and a full suite of Motogadget electronics and lighting: Motoscope, Mo.unit Blue, Mo.lock NFC, Mo.blaze indicators, Mo.switch Mini, Mo.grips, etc.

Benelli Sei Custom

The paintwork, says Tiago, takes inspiration from both Italian colors and custom culture, and the nickname, “Sinfonia” (Symphony), pays tribute to might sound of the bike’s six cylinders at full song.

Benelli Sei Custom

Tiago says the team is very happy with the result, and we don’t blame them. This is one of the stunning customs of 2023, a storied six-cylinder Italian engine at the heart of modernized machine.

More Photos

Benelli Sei Custom

Benelli Sei Custom

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Facebook: @unikmotorcycles
Instagram: @unikmotorcycles
Rider: @M4ryC4ke
Photography: @_tiago_almeida

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  1. Well done, looks great.

  2. Wayne Staines

    Well done, a fabulous result!

  3. Bonjour,quels sont les prix pour la Benelli

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