Listening to 'die Mamma' is good. Every Italian man knows that. On the advice of Señora Benelli, the six Benelli brothers started their family business in Pesaro in 1911. Engineers Giuseppe and Giovanni were the technicians; the others took care of the money, trade and production.
Giuseppe was the oldest, had revolutionary ideas and a somewhat idiosyncratic character. That was the reason that in 1949 it turned into a trouble within the family ... Supported by his sons, Giuseppe decided to start his own business. His son Luigi had meanwhile applied for a patent on a frame consisting of box girders (from 1955 this was replaced by pressed steel). This light frame was exceptionally rigid in construction and pleasantly cheap to produce. And that was of the utmost importance at the time when motorization in Europe got back on track after WWII.
The power eggs
Father Giuseppe had designed a special motor and this combination formed the first product of the new company: FAM (Fabbrica Auto Motoveicoli) with brand name MOTO “B” on what is now a pilgrimage type for some people: the Strada Adriatica in Pesaro. Italians pronounce the B as Bi and it was decided to change the name to MOTOBI from November 1954. And those engine blocks were first two-strokes, but later four-strokes. They had horizontal cylinders and nicely rounded shapes, they were actually egg-forming. And those "power eggs" became kind of legendary. The fact that the eggs later became more angular did not detract from the concept.
Giuseppe Benelli died in 1957. His sons took over the reins.
Really new ideas were not forthcoming; the only technical change was moving the vulnerable kickstarter (on the same axle as the gearshift pedal) to the other side. The concern got into financial trouble in a genuine Italian way and it was decided in 1961 to return to the old Benelli family. Since then, both the MOTOBI and Benelli names have appeared on the motorcycles, scooters and mopeds from the Motobi stable. The later Benelli models were also sold under both names, because some of the buyers simply preferred to ride a Motobi. In addition, the more luxurious model was also provided with the name Motobi. Benelli increased the street version to 200 and 250 cc and took the egg out of production in 1974.
You couldn't have hit them better at Easter. And if we now keep it to the four-stroke Motobi's: What perfect pieces of Italian sculpture they were. Traditional and elegant with a good dash of bold boldness in the lines. The single-cylinder pushrod engine did not deliver the 200 hp of the most recent Kawasaki's. But for a motorcycle as slender as a bank envelope turned on its side, the 20 hp 250 cc was enough for a top speed of around 130 km / h. And that that is significantly less than such an electronically controlled modern powerhouse at 299 km / h. But yes… 299 km / h… What should you do with it?
Certainly in the current, limited possibilities on all fronts, such a Motobi, or leave Benelli on the tank, is a motorcycle to dance with on the nicest secondary roads. And it is also maintenance-friendly. And that there was someone who exclaimed, "I thought it was a Yamaha FS1!" ... well. Never mind.
- More stories about classic engines
- The Benelli 500-4. Better stolen than badly conceived
- Benelli Tornado
- Laverda 1000 3C. The Laverda three-cylinder
- Malanca motorcycles
Do you like what we write about? This article - like everything else you read here - was brought to you for free. We do not and do not want to do premium items. But we can use your help with that. Therefore subscribe to Auto Motor Klassiek. You will also receive an AMK in your letterbox every month. You can do this via the link above. Or donate a desired amount through our payment page, via this link and mention the donation in the description. Help us keep the daily articles free.