I heard about the Benelli Museum off the Internet, but the website was mainly in Italian and they never returned my emails. When we decided to go to Italy, I thought I'd see if I could find the Museum.
Anyway, Pesaro is a city in Italy that appears to be a little untidy and down on its luck. We arrived in the afternoon as the museum is only open certain days from 4pm.
So when the GPS said we'd arrived, we couldn't find any information about which building the museum was in. Turns out a little sign says "Benelli Moto Club" and points to this building...
Inside, there are 150 bikes from Benelli's history, all the way back from 1912. While Moto Guzzi is the longest continual motorcycle manufacturer, Benelli is the oldest marque still manufacturing.
The reason why I like Benelli as a brand is they are similar to Kawasaki in that reliability isn't a big deal, but power, speed and crazy ideas seem legit. Some examples...
The Benelli Volcano - 2 stroke 175cc minibike
The Benelli Sei - 6 cylinder 750cc or 900cc variants
Minibike AT - 125cc 2 stroke. Awesome tyres
Other notable pics
125cc 2 stroke, 1958
Couldn't help but think of Worm on this one
Nothing like a bit of stick shift
Retro posters hang in the background
And obviously, no trip to Pesaro is worth doing unless you have a date with your dream bike. I've wanted this from the first time I saw one in 2006. The Benelli TnT Cafe Racer
In the reception area - every engine, the year and the trophies won.
In 2006 the company was bought out by the Chinese company QJ International and has suffered a little. The building that houses the museum was actually the factory. Now, the factory is a giant complex on the outskirts of town and the parts are made in China and assembled in Pesaro. The engines have remained unchanged since 2006 - an 1130cc and an 899cc either in a TNT, Cafe Racer, Century Racer or Amazonas.
They are trying to make a go of it, but most of the revenue is through scooter sales.
I'm very passionate about the brand and it was great to hit ground zero. The staff didn't speak much English, but there was a really good vibe. The thing that struck me in comparison to Ducati was the modesty of the whole company. Admittedly, Ducati have big bucks and lots of success and know how to market a product, but Benelli has history, passion and their fare share of success too.
Anyway, they are unveiling the "new" 2013 models at motoGP PI. It'll be nice to see the updates. If you're going to Italy, stop by Pesaro, it's worth visiting.