My good friend Tad of Purgatory Pizza in Los Angeles is a big fan of the Honda CB500/550 Fours, so am I. I have told the story before of the ‘one-upmanship’ game my friend Eddie and I played for years with motorcycles. I was riding a BSA 650, Eddie was still on his ‘little’ Yamaha DT1 250. One Saturday morning Eddie called wanting to go for a ride, I had the day off, the weather was fall perfect so how could say anything but “yes”.
An hour later, I arrived at our usual meeting spot to see Eddie sitting not next to his DT1 but a brand new Honda CB500. Resplendent in its gold paint and four chrome mufflers and Eddie with a big sh*t eating grin on his face. I knew I was now losing the game.
The CB500/4 was and is an amazing motorcycle. Jewel like in its precision and smoothness. It’s no wonder that it was copied.
European motorbikes had long been the standard of performance motorcycles, but the Japanese were coming fast. The Brit’s were slow to respond, the Germans just kept their steady course but the Italians, Benelli, decided to respond. Good for them. That response to the Japanese onslaught was the spectacular 750 Sei.
Benelli was the first manufacturer to build a ‘production’ six cylinder motorbike, Honda had been racing them for a number of years. What Benelli did was, essentially to take the very successful Honda CB500/4 add a couple of cylinders and a few more slight modifications. Take the alternator and put it behind the cylinder block instead of on the end of the crankshaft, to keep the engine narrow, use a three carburetor set up to increase torque and give it true Italian Styling.
Remember at this time Alejandro de Tomaso, the creator of the Pantera automobile was the head of Benelli. He hired the Italian design studio Ghia to design the new Sei. The shape is pure Italian of the times, angular yet smooth.
Here’s the thing about the Sei…the sound. The song of those six cylinders makes you dream of speed, sweeping corners and a bike that responds to each and every thought. Japanese motor precision, Italian handling precision…there is no better combination. This is one of the most beautiful sights in motorcycling.
The Sei wasn’t the horsepower king of the world at the time but it’s 71HP was respectable for a 750, it had a decent top speed around 127mph. But again, more importantly was the look, the sound and the feel of this beautiful motorbike
I found a really nice 750 Sei on ebay today that I think is actually a good deal, as compared to many bikes I see that are waaaayyy over valued. This particular 750 Sei has just a bit over 11K miles, which isn’t too bad considering how it is built, it does have an aftermarket exhaust but thankfully it is still a six into six and looks right. If you’d like an exotic sport tourer that will give you years of pleasure and also knowing that you will probably have the only one at your favorite Sunday morning breakfast stop, this is a good deal. Click on the pics below for more pictures and info.