Legendary Motorcycles Episode 2 is Benelli Tornado 650 S2. During ’60 years, British motorbikes dominated the field of “heavy motorcycle”. BSA, Triumph and Norton. However, Benelli decided to challenge directly with them without fear.
Did Benelli really able to realize a Superbike?
Yes, it was. The new project of the Italian brand is inspired by the British motorbikes, but it didn’t copy them. Benelli wanted to be superior for reliability, build quality and comfort. The Benelli 650 S2 debuted at the 1967 Milan Show, but then it disappeared. So, it came back in Milan in 1969. The delay was not only the want to deliver a tested bike. In fact, the reality was more complex.
“The bike could go into production as early as 1968. There were no problems. But the Tornado was an innovative product. So, we needed new machinery. We wanted to have them for 1969, but they came only in 1970.” said Piero Prampolini, the Tornado’s designer.
Result? The Benelli 650 S2 is not so advanced. Cause? The Japanese bikes. In particular, the Honda CB750 Four. However, Steve McQueen falls in love with her.
This Legendary Motorcycles Episode 2 had two main “problems”
The lack of electric starter and the vibration at 4000 RPM. However, we can also add the “old” technology and the long wait before arriving on the market. We can see something better with the S version. It debuted in 1972. But the latest version will be the S2 of 1973. The engine generates some misgivings, but the chassis is not in question. The steel tube beam frame is simple and rational. The electric starter arrives, but remains the kick start applications.
Despite the many improvements, the Benelli Tornado 650 S2 did not take off in sales. And the parallel twin front running was obsolete. However, also the rear drum brake. Too tied to the past. Its career ended in 1975, when Benelli produces only 3000 units. So, we arrived to the end of this Legendary Motorcycles Episode 2.
Finally, we want to know your opinion about this new story. Write it in the comments. To read our first episode go to this link.