Pure passion since 1911, the Benelli brand combines heritage, innovation, and emotion in legendary models that showcase advanced technology, victories, and world-renowned riders, for now over more than 100 years.
This story has everything. Family, passion, determination, endurance, reinvention, relevance and legacy. Such brand's resonate deeply with the Australian pioneering personality of doing it your own way. Especially in the Illawarra.
The Benelli family firm has a sterling history of race successes dating back to the 1920s. Synonymous with early century moto styling, racing and that special Italian devotion to supercharged multi-cylinder racing exotica that is such a big feature of the cafe racers we see along the grand pacific today.
This band of brothers - self trained engineers, designers and riders with the legendary racing brother Tonino (Antonio) - gathered a string of wins, including Benelli’s first ‘international’ win at the Monza GP, culminating in the Italian 175cc Championship in both ’27 and ’28. By creating a proper racing team, Benelli continued to rack up wins in 1929, and Tonino won the Italian Championship again in 1930.
The factory was completely destroyed in the war, and their machine tools stolen by retreating German forces. When the smoke cleared, it was the sons of Fratelli Benelli who had the energy to begin again, even tracking down some of their tooling in Germany and Austria.
Their first post-war machines were modified ex-military Harleys, Matchlesses, and BSA's, to which they fitted swingarm rear suspension. This pioneering use of available parts to create something new is a significant feature of machines now exhibited at The Australian Motorliife Museum, near Dapto, Illawarra. Check out those heroes here.
Within two years, Benelli were again making their own motorcycles, with their bespoke tooling, competing hard against the Moto Guzzi firm, who shared their racing ambitions.
Their need for speed continued and the museum in Italy is a pilgrimage for anyone serious about their moto history. Just check out the museum's online video walk around to see the trophy case.
In Australia the marque still carries a cult like following, with passion strongholds in Queensland and Western Australia. The hallowed pilgrimage to George Taylors moto history palace in Grasmere, south west Victoria is where Benelli fans find their new vintage project, with write ups on these enthusiastic owners found in Old Bike Australasia magazine.
Skip to the present and Benelli are still pushing boundaries on rideability and styling with their continued obsession with aggressive lines mixed in with that eccentric Italian soul.
These new silhouettes are for those unafraid of taking the first huck into the unknown. Perfect for the pioneering spirit of Australian riders who rung their bikes as unapologetic workhorses to complement their very individual coastal and outback lifestyles.
The classic lines of the Leoncino 800 bridge between trail bike and those lovely old 70s Hondas able to climb off road tracks and dunes, beloved by the wave seekers of Ventura County, California and beyond. Except this has a state-of-the-art digital dashboard mixing the looks of the past with the tech benefits of the present.
The TRK tourers have the silhouette that suggests it was dreamed up by a Hollywood set designer, for a robot war or superhero franchise, with an uncompromising and dominating road styling. This bike is not for the faint of heart and looks insane.
Black Metal Motor Co allow anyone to test these latest machines and invited Grand Pacific to climb off the American roadsters and do something we always wanted to do but couldn’t on our own heavier American machines. We hit the long beach between Port Kembla and Windang with our shorter boards.
As a coastal company, Grand Pacific Customs has been sadly remiss as we have looked with envy at the kids beginning their bike journeys using the new wave of fat wheel electric bikes carrying boards to nearby breaks.
The guys at Black Metal Motor Co lent us locally-made surfboard racks, which they also sell at their cool showroom, to test out to the beach. The lightness of these bikes really earned our gratitude after a few hours catching cones off Kembla.
Black Metal owner and rider, Chris, told us why he took a different path with his new showroom. "When we were seeking a new brand of motorcycle for Black Metal Motor co there were some key criteria that the bikes needed to meet. Benelli is one of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers in the world and every bike contains that certain Italian 'X factor', which can only be really understood from riding it. We are spoiled for choice in the Illawarra with roads for every type of bike and rider. The Benelli range has something for everyone. This classic brand is reliable, accessible and we are backed by a rock solid partner for parts with accessories readily available.”
With price entry points at half that of American imports and with a range of scooters to bikes, the collection certainly speaks to everyone from local university students to the east coast rider looking for something different from the pack.
We teamed up with the guys at Black Metal to produce a local chapter version of the Grand Pacific moto address tee, which folk can secure from what is possibly the best store position on Wentworth Street along Port Kembla's main strip.
This old working-class Art Deco neighbourhood has the barrio feel of Marrickville, with an evolving hot bed of cool cafes, bars, stores and monthly cultural events and music festivals. Black Metal are now an exclusive stockist of all our moto street wear including the vintage classics, the Port Kembla address tee, the endless summer style of the GPC script tee and more.
Slide down to Black Metal for their regular moto meet-ups and Saturday morning food trucks and catch yourself a memento of one of the Illawarra’s coolest up and coming hoods. Street test a Benelli and get a taste of the grand pacific life.
For the folks cool about their stoke. Wear where you're at.TAP FOR FURTHER STOCKIST INFORMATION HERE
Thanks to Brian, the curator at The Australian Motorlife Museums in Dapto, Illawarra for all the back ground leads on Benelli history in Australia.