The Early Years
Teresa Benelli, a widow and mother of six sons, established the Benelli Garage in Pesaro, Italy in 1911. She used all of the family’s capital to start the business venture, hoping to provide her boys with job security and a steady income. The Benelli Garage repaired cars and motorcycles, but soon began to produce spare parts that we needed.
First Benelli Engine and Motorcycle
Benelli built its first in-house engine in 1920. It was a single cylinder two-stroke 75cc model. It proved to be highly adaptable to a bicycle frame. Within a year, Benelli had produced its first motorcycle. It was equipped with a Benelli 98cc engine.
In 1923, Antonio Benelli, who was known as Torino, began his career at the racetrack. He was a natural and his success proved that Benelli was a company with great potential. It had the ability to develop and produce superior motorcycles. In 1927, 1928 and 1930, Antonio took four Italian Championship titles riding a bike with a single overhead camshaft. He rode a bike with a double overhead camshaft for his 1931 victory. Known as Torino the Terrible, his racing career was cut short when, in 1932, he crashed during a race. Antonio’s life ended in a road accident on September 27, 1937.
World War Two
During the Second World War the Benelli factory was completely destroyed. The Benelli brothers never lost their enthusiasm for motorcycles. From the ashes of the factory, they rebuilt their business and it wasn’t long before their bikes were back on the racetrack and winning. Ted Mellors won the Tourist Trophy in 1939, riding a Benelli motorcycle.
In 1949, Giuseppe Benelli and his brothers had a falling out. Giuseppe left the Company and formed one of his own. It went by the name Motobi. His Company merged with Benelli after the disagreement was resolved.
The 1960s Decade
Benelli and Motobi employed 550 workers in 1962 and they were producing 300 bikes daily. As the 60s decade came to an ends, the arrival of Japanese manufacturers in Europe caused a crisis. At this time Benelli changed ownership, but despite the innovations, which included the in-line six-cylinder engines, it continued to lose important market segments. Production was called to a temporary halt.
Benelli Makes a Comeback
In 1980, Pesaro-based manufacturer, Giancarlo Selci, offered Benelli financial backing. The revival of the Company didn’t work out at this time. In 1995, the time was right and Benelli was revived with Andrea Merloni at the helm. The Tornado 900 Tre super sport bike was launched in 2002. In 2005, the TNT roadster made its appearance. The Company has experienced great innovation and growth since its comeback and it is all 100% Italian.
Benelli has recently celebrated its 100th Anniversary. It has been a challenge for the Company to produce a motorcycle completely in-house, but Benelli is determined to preserve the soul of its brand. All products are designed, developed and assembled in-house. Each has original parts that are developed and adapted to very specific requirements. From engines to the smallest parts used to produce Benelli bikes, all are produced in-house. Nothing is ever imported. Benelli bikes are 100% Italian and though this has its price, these bikes are incredible and unique.
Benelli bikes are made to ride. They aren’t just for collectors or experience riders. They’re for anyone who enjoys a thrilling ride on a beautiful and powerful machine. Benelli motorcycles are for those who love to ride a bike with a strong and unique identity that perpetuates the Italian tradition.
In recent years Benelli motorcycles have had a huge impact on style changes in the motorcycle sector. From the 491 to the 666 prototype and from the convertible scooter to the Tornado 900 Tre, Benelli continues to produce motorcycles that excite motorcycle enthusiasts around the world. The 900 Tre sport engine that Benelli produced in 2002, had a unique three-cylinder engine. The new engine guarantees top performance from Benelli bikes. As with all Benelli products, the engine was designed, developed and produced in Italy.
Today, Benelli is a small company with concise ideas, great ambitions and a very clear strategy. These features are demonstrated in all Benelli products. The Company has clearly made it a point to provide superior workmanship in all of their bikes and have kept to the original traditions of Teresa Benelli and her sons.