Author Topic: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite  (Read 374 times)

Offline Canuck750

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1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« on: September 28, 2021, 07:25:08 PM »
I am slowly gathering up enough parts to build a 200 Sprite, I plan on using the Motobi decals and rubber bits rather than the Benelli markings, all of the Sprite frames are actually stamped MOTOBI and in Europe I think the egg motor bikes were sold as Motobi's whereas Cosmopolitan had the bikes they imported marked as Benelli.

This is a Benelli Sprite, a 200 I think, a 4 speed 4 stroke single (5 speeds were also available)



In a typical moment of weakness I fell for an Ebay add listing an 'almost complete' Benelli 250 Baraccuda, after a lot of back and forth a crate came in the summer



After sorting and cleaning I found that quite a bit is missing or not correct and the bike is not a 250 Barrcuda, it is a 4 speed 200 Sprite.
Missing from the engine was the transmission shift drum and related bits, the rocker cover was damaged, the cylinder appears to be for a 250 but is overbored beyond spec. The front fender is wrong, the left side cover and chain guard are from different models. Missing a piston, exhaust and tail light, headlamp and trim ring and much more.



I sent the frame and metal parts off to get blasted and coated with powder primer. I found what I think is the correct front fender



I am starting to put it together as a dry build to determine what I have to find



I had a complete rear tail light bracket and made up a tail light form parts I had on hand



I found a seat cover in Italy (I think) and I have rounded up the MOTOBI stamped foot peg rubbers, my box of parts had a headlight and a

The head spark plug hole is stripped, used a steel rod to set up the compound angle on the milling machine, I drilled out the hole and fittd a new steel threaded insert



123 Bearings in the UK has provided all the ball bearings for the engine cases, great service, very fast shipping!

Mac Dennis in the USA has been a great help tracking down parts for me!

The rear hub is missmatched, I think some of it is for a 5 speed model and some for a 4 seed model, Mac is looking for the correct parts for me



Ebay has been a great source of NOS Benelli / Motobi parts, Santo-Di Moto-Cicli has a lot of the smaller parts, all NOS

Tracking down parts, especialy from Italy is a long slow process so I have multiple 'projects' on the go, all waiting for parts, I hope to track down the rest of the pieces over the winter and plan on getting it running then strip it down and get the painting and plating done.


« Last Edit: September 28, 2021, 07:35:39 PM by Canuck750 »
48 Guzzi Airone, 57 Guzzi Cardellino, 65 Benelli Barracuda, 66 Aermacchi Sprint, 68 Gilera 106SS, 72 Eldorado, 72 Benelli 180, 74 Guzzi 750S, 73 Laverda SF1, 74  Benelli 650S, 75 Ducati 860GT, 75 Moto Morini 3-1/2, 78 Moto Morinii 500

Offline cliffrod

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2021, 09:07:13 PM »
I'll be anxious to hear your perspective comparing this bike to your Aermacchi Ala Verde bike.  I've never had a Benelli/Motobi single (missed a chance to get two of them long ago) and always wondered how diferent or similar they are to ride.  Back then, I basically equated the two engines so getting those two Benellis wasn't a huge priority.

And I really admire your focus, Jim.  If I had 2-3 bike builds happening at once, nothing would ever get done..
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Offline Canuck750

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2021, 09:19:39 PM »
I'll be anxious to hear your perspective comparing this bike to your Aermacchi Ala Verde bike.  I've never had a Benelli/Motobi single (missed a chance to get two of them long ago) and always wondered how diferent or similar they are to ride.  Back then, I basically equated the two engines so getting those two Benellis wasn't a huge priority.

And I really admire your focus, Jim.  If I had 2-3 bike builds happening at once, nothing would ever get done..

What I can tell so far is the Benelli motor appears to be over engineered, I found the same to be true when I rebuilt the Benelli 650 Tornado. Example; the crank shaft is supported with two ball bearings on each end, one a single row ball bearing the other a close spaced double row ball bearing. All the other engine shafts run in ball bearings and the oil pump design appears to be very robust. The frame on the egg motor bikes is a welded up box section affair, very rigid as is the case with the 650 as well.
On the other hand the Aermacchi engine is known to have received constant improvements over the years, first introduced on the Ala díOro GoldWing race bikes then trickling down to the street models. I donít think Benelli/ Motobi ever developed the egg motors to the race level of Aermacchi. I personally think the Benelli is a more attractive package but the Ala Verde bikes are almost an equal.
48 Guzzi Airone, 57 Guzzi Cardellino, 65 Benelli Barracuda, 66 Aermacchi Sprint, 68 Gilera 106SS, 72 Eldorado, 72 Benelli 180, 74 Guzzi 750S, 73 Laverda SF1, 74  Benelli 650S, 75 Ducati 860GT, 75 Moto Morini 3-1/2, 78 Moto Morinii 500

Offline Canuck750

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2021, 08:20:00 PM »
I got a nice box of used Benelli 200 Sprite parts in the mail today, just in need of a good cleaning



Going back and forth between the ultrsonic cleaner with a heated mixture of Simple Green / water (to lift the grease and sludge) and the vapour blast cabinet, the parts all cleaned up real nice



I was lucky to find the correct left hand side cover on EBay yesterday for a very good price, slowly the parts needed list is getting smaller
48 Guzzi Airone, 57 Guzzi Cardellino, 65 Benelli Barracuda, 66 Aermacchi Sprint, 68 Gilera 106SS, 72 Eldorado, 72 Benelli 180, 74 Guzzi 750S, 73 Laverda SF1, 74  Benelli 650S, 75 Ducati 860GT, 75 Moto Morini 3-1/2, 78 Moto Morinii 500

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2021, 08:20:00 PM »

Offline Michael Moore

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2021, 09:50:57 PM »
I had an assortment of Motobi stuff with the intention of building a 200GP AHRMA racer.  That's all been cleared out and some of the bikes have been built up and are used for NorCal Giro events.

The street Motobi engines are a LOT different from the Sei Tiranti factory replica race engines that the Zanzanis are still making and selling.  Most every set of crankcases I had were cracked, and the 5 speeds are less strong than the 4 speed cases.  My Benelli-Motobi email list is still active at micapeak.com, and Mac has been on it a long time, it might help you source more parts from around the world.

Cool engines, and I got to meet the Zanzanis when I went to Italy to go to the Mostro Scambio at Imola, but for a race project I would have been better off starting with an Aermacchi -- the street engines were beefier and much closer to the race engines.  Just about everything in a Sei Tiranti engine is different from the street bikes.

Here's a photo of Primo Zanzani building up an engine





and a crank case being machined in their shop




classic langston hughes poem 4 letters


cheers,
Michael

Offline Canuck750

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2021, 10:05:38 PM »

Here's a photo of Primo Zanzani building up an engine





and a crank case being machined in their shop




classic langston hughes poem 4 letters


cheers,
Michael

Very cool!

48 Guzzi Airone, 57 Guzzi Cardellino, 65 Benelli Barracuda, 66 Aermacchi Sprint, 68 Gilera 106SS, 72 Eldorado, 72 Benelli 180, 74 Guzzi 750S, 73 Laverda SF1, 74  Benelli 650S, 75 Ducati 860GT, 75 Moto Morini 3-1/2, 78 Moto Morinii 500

Offline Canuck750

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2021, 07:33:39 PM »
I stripped down the headlight bucket that came with the project, its a typical CEV all in one unit, 6 volts; headlight, ignition cut out key, headlight switch, headlight running light, speedometer, and inside the shell the electrical junction panel, regulator and rectifier. I had a NOS headlight trim ring and headlight in my parts stash to fit this shell.



Vapour blasted the shell, wiped it down with metal etch, then a wipe of acetone and powder coated it satin black.



I stripped down all of the components, the cut out switch was seized, its a very simple design, inserting the key and twisting it depresses a plunger that meets a contact that completes the circuit. By soaking the bucket with the switch intact in muriatic acid the rust bubbled out of the components and I was able to unscrew the switch from the shell then get the plunger freed up.



I had new plated screws in my stash that secures the regulator and rectifier, the light switch bakelight handle polished up a bit, same for the running light plastic lens

I bought a trio of small size speedometers a couple years back thinking one day they would come in handy, one of them is a perfect match



all done, I had to trim down the inner flange of the headlight trim ring to fit properly over the shell lip



back on the forks for now



I also stripped down the seat and vapour balsted the sprung seat frame



painted it with POR-15 satin black, this stuff is sprayed direct to metal and once cured is almost as tough as powder coat (my oven is too small to fit the seat frame in)



I found a supplier in Italy for reproduction seat covers, they have none in stock for this particular seat but told me to ship him my seat frame and original cover and they will make a reproduction for me. I have bought seat covers for other small displacement Italian bikes in the past and the quality is excellent

48 Guzzi Airone, 57 Guzzi Cardellino, 65 Benelli Barracuda, 66 Aermacchi Sprint, 68 Gilera 106SS, 72 Eldorado, 72 Benelli 180, 74 Guzzi 750S, 73 Laverda SF1, 74  Benelli 650S, 75 Ducati 860GT, 75 Moto Morini 3-1/2, 78 Moto Morinii 500

Offline berniebee

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2021, 09:44:23 PM »
Very cool little Benelli. Amazingly long hanger for the muffler. Looking forward to see it come together!

Will you do the blue/silver-grey colour combo?

Offline Canuck750

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2021, 10:47:35 PM »
Very cool little Benelli. Amazingly long hanger for the muffler. Looking forward to see it come together!

Will you do the blue/silver-grey colour combo?

I am leaning to the blue / silver scheme, going to put the Motobi decals on it, all the Sprite frames are stamped Motobi, I think Cosmopolitan had all the Sprites they imported badged Benelli as that was the line they were marketing, by this time Motobi had been reabsorbed into the Benelli fold and the Motobi branded bikes were limited to Europe. I like the red and silver as well but I already have a few red bikes. I like the Motobi decal design better😉
48 Guzzi Airone, 57 Guzzi Cardellino, 65 Benelli Barracuda, 66 Aermacchi Sprint, 68 Gilera 106SS, 72 Eldorado, 72 Benelli 180, 74 Guzzi 750S, 73 Laverda SF1, 74  Benelli 650S, 75 Ducati 860GT, 75 Moto Morini 3-1/2, 78 Moto Morinii 500

Offline riguzzi

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Re: 1965 Benelli / Motobi 200 Sprite
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2021, 09:48:49 PM »
I had a 250 when I was a young fellow in New Zealand. With a few minor tweaks it was a great bike that could lean over unbelievably far. I eventually put a different seat, clipons, megaphone, carb and raced it with some success, but the crankpin was very weak. I ended up rebuilding the crank every few races.

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