Contents: 1. Benelli G2 50cc (1970-79 mopeds)
Contents: 2. Wards Riverside (1965-70 mopeds)
Contents: 3. Benelli 50-65cc (1965-75 mini-cycles and mopeds)
Benelli began in 1911 as a family repair shop for motorcycles and bicycles. By 1940 they made a winning supercharged 250cc 4-cylinder racing motorcycle. So they are to be admired like Ferarri and Ducati are. In 1949 the maker Motobi was formed by Giuseppe Benelli, one of the six Benelli brothers. See more at Wikipedia.org.
1. Benelli G2 (moped) made in Italy by Motobi Benelli 1970’s 1-speed external pedals
The Benelli G2, made by Motobi, with monotrave (one large tube) style frame, is the same as the monotrave-frame Moto Guzzi Robin, made by Seimm. There is a different Moto Guzzi Robin with a stamped sheet metal frame, that is the same as a Moto Guzzi Chiú, also with this same 1970’s Benelli moped engine.
G2 means Gentleman Due. It supersedes the 1960’s Gentleman 1 (and 4).
The Benelli Blazer is like a G2 but with a standard tube frame with separate gas tank. The European version of the Blazer is called Bobo.
All of these 1970’s Benelli and Moto Guzzi mopeds have the horizontal cylinder one-speed automatic moped engine from around 1970. This engine does not have built-in pedals. Instead the pedal system is external, like Puch or other non-Italian mopeds. There is a pedal chain and a drive chain, both on the left side. Therefore they require a reverse or “left hand” freewheel. All bicycle freewheels are right side chain drive.
Benelli mopeds and motorcycles were imported to the USA in the 1960’s and 70’s by Cosmopolitan Motors in Hatboro PA. Cosmo sold the G2, Blazer, and C2 (a long seat version of the G2). They also sold Benelli mini cycles and trail bikes (see below), plus Benelli 250 and 500cc 4-cylinder and 750cc 6-cylinder sport motorcycles. Vroom!
Benelli G2 components: Benelli one speed automatic engine, Dellorto SHA 14/12 (or 14/9) carburetor, CEV lights and switches, PV levers, Grimeca hubs (rear hub is special, Benelli only) and brakes, Veglia speedometer with LH driver.
Fratelli Benelli S.p.A. one speed automatic engine is shown, mostly for info purposes. You can see what and where everything is, at least. Myrons does not have many Benelli-specific parts. The centrifugal clutch shoes/weights can break. The Benelli G2 parts book does not show any speed version differences, so they are all probably 45kmh (27mph), the limit for Italy.
2. Wards Riverside (1965-70) made in Italy by Benelli Benelli 1960’s 1-speed internal pedals
Montgomery Wards (MW) was one of the three major US department store chains that sold motorcycles, scooters, mini-bikes, or mopeds, in their catalogs and stores. The Wards line was named “Riverside”. The earliest Wards Riverside models from the 50′s and early 60′s where French-made Motobecane mopeds that consisted of models like the AV88 and AV78. There were also some scooters made by Japan’s Mitsubishi and Italy’s Bianchi companies. In 1965, Wards changed manufacturers and opted to sell mostly machines from the Italian company Benelli. Benelli offered not only a few different moped models but also a line of 2 stroke/single cylinder motorcycles that could compete in the marketplace with the Austrian Puch motorcycles that Sears was selling under their Allstate brand.
By 1970 the moped and motorcycle sales went away for the two department store retailers primarily due to the Japanese invasion with highly engineered, reliable and powerful 4 stroke motorcycles under the likes of Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki. Also, in 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created to oversee and combat increasing pollution and air quality issues. Smokey two stroke motorcycles and other high emission vehicles would be the first targets.
After the mid-70′s gasoline shortage in the US, moped sales and popularity exploded. In 1978 Montgomery Ward (and Sears) began selling 2 stroke mopeds again. This time around, Wards sold the re-branded German-made Solo/Columbia Commuter moped, and two USA-made AMF models. Later they sold USA-made EZ Rider/Minarelli mopeds, and in California stores, the French-made 1980 Peugeot 102 (on sale for $279). Sears, once again, also started selling Puch (Kromag) powered mopeds but under their Free Spirit moniker. Catalog and department store retailer J.C Penney also got in on the moped action in 1977 by offering its own Puch (Kromag) based mopeds under the names of Swinger and Pinto. By 1981 the moped craze was over and all three department stores discontinued selling mopeds, this time for good.
The 1950’s to 1960’s moped motor had an upright slanted forward cylinder, not horizontal like the 1970’s moped motor. The 60’s motor was rounded everywhere, not mostly square like the 1970’s motor. There was a single enclosed left side drive chain, not dual chain. The pedals were part of the motor unit.
The Benelli MW 50cc cylinder is the same as the Benelli Fireball 50cc cylinder, except the porting. The Fireball cylinder has a 17mm (for the Dellorto UA16 carb) intake port at the flange, while the MW cylinder has a 10mm intake port hole (for a Dellorto 14/9 carb). The exhaust port is taller and wider on the Fireball. The transfer ports and intake port are also wider and maybe taller.
The 1960’s Benelli MW piston looks identical to the 1970’s Benelli G2 piston, but it is taller (17 not 16 upper length) and longer (18 not 17 lower length). They are both 40.0mm bore, and use the same rings 40 x 1.5 FG. The exhaust has a screw-on mount, with M34-1.5 male thread on the exhaust, female on the cylinder.
Some parts of this 1960’s moped motor was used in some of the Benelli mini-bikes. The right side pedal shaft had a kick start lever, and the left side went into a kick-start compartment, with a ratchet and return spring. So the transmission and pedal or kick starter were different.
3. Benelli (mini-cycle) made in Italy by Benelli Benelli 1960’s 1-spd auto, 4-spd foot shift
Here are most of the Benelli mini-cycles sold in the USA, from actual magazine ads of the day.
Over-65cc motorcycles are colored light grey, 50-65cc mini-cycles are blue, 50cc mopeds are red.
1965 Benelli Sprite, 200cc
1965 Benelli Sprite, 125cc
1965 Benelli Cobra, 125cc
1965 Benelli Monaco Scooter, 125cc
1965 Benelli Fireball, 50cc 4-speed foot shift, 55mph
Starting in 1966, Cosmopolitan Motors (Cosmo) was the USA importer and distributor for Benelli motorcycles, mini-cycles and mopeds.
1966 Benelli Sprite, 250cc, 100mph
1966 Benelli Cobra, 125cc, 68mph
1966 Benelli Fireball, 50cc 4-speed foot shift, 55mph
1966 Benelli Monaco Scooter, 125cc, 60mph
1966 Benelli Cobra Scrambler, 125cc, 60+mph
1967 Benelli Automatic, xxxxxxxx 50cc 1-speed, pedals, 16″ rims
1967 Benelli Fireball, xxxxxxxxxx 50cc 4-speed
1967 Benelli Fireball Trail, xxxxx 50cc 4-speed
1967 Benelli Cobra, xxxxxxxxxxx 125cc 4-speed
1967 Benelli Cobra Trail, xxxxxx 125cc 4-speed
1967 Benelli Sprite, xxx 125 and 200cc 4-speed
1967 Benelli Barracuda, xxxxxxxxxxx 250cc 4-stroke 4-speed
The first Benelli mini-cycle, USA model, was this 1968-69 Dynamo Compact, with 3.50-8 street tires. It had the 50cc 4-speed foot shift engine from the Fireball, made “mild” with a smaller 12mm Dellorto SHA 14/12 carburetor. The trail versions had 3.00-10 knobby tires.
In 1969-75 the piston and cylinder were larger 65cc, the carburetor was larger 15mm Dellorto ME15BS. The Dynamo Compact tires were larger 3.00-10 street. The Dynamo Trail tires were still 3.00-10 knobby.
1968 Benelli Dynamo Compact, xxxxx 50cc 4-speed, 8″ rims
1968 Benelli Fireball, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 50cc 4-speed
1968 Benelli Fireball Trail, xxxxxxxxxx 50cc 4-speed
1968 Benelli Cobra, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 125cc 4-speed
1968 Benelli Cobra Scrambler, xxxxx 125cc 4-speed
1968 Benelli Sprite, Sprite California, 125cc 4-speed
1968 Benelli Barracuda, Barra. Calif., 250cc 5-speed
1968 Benelli Tornado, xxxxxxxxxxxx 650cc 5-speed
1969 Benelli Buzzer, xxxxxxxxx 50cc 1-speed automatic, 5″ rims
1969 Benelli Dynamo Compact, 50cc 4-speed foot shift, 8″ rims
1969 Benelli Dynamo Trail, xxx 50cc 4-speed foot shift, 10″ rims
1969 Benelli Hornet, xxxxxxxxx 65cc 1-speed automatic, 7″ rims
1969 Benelli Maverick, xxxxxx 50cc 1-spd auto, pedals, 16″ rims
1969 Benelli Super Mini
1970 Benelli Buzzer, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 65cc 1-speed automatic, 5″ rims
1970 Benelli Buzzer Junior xxxxxxxxxxx (same but no lights), 5″ rims
1970 Benelli Hornet, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 65cc 1-speed automatic, 7″ rims
1970 Benelli Dynamo Trail, xxxxxxxx 65cc 4-speed foot shift, 10″ rims
1970 Benelli Volcano, xxxxxxxxxxxx 180cc 4-speed foot shift, 10″ rims
1970 Benelli Dynamo Compact, xxxxx 65cc 4-speed foot shift, 10″ rims
1970 Benelli Woodsbike, xxxxxxxxxxxxx (same but no lights), 10″ rims
1972 Benelli Mini Enduro, xxxx 65cc 4-speed, foot shift, 14″ rims
1972 Benelli Dynamo II, xxxxx 65cc 4-speed, foot shift, 10″ rims
1972 Benelli Dynamo Woodsbike xx (same but no lights), 10″ rims
1972 Benelli Hurricane, xxxxxx 65cc 1-speed automatic, 7″ rims
1972 Benelli Volcano, xxxxxxx 180cc 4-speed, foot shift, 10″ rims
1972 Benelli Buzzer, xxxxxxxxxx 65cc 1-speed automatic, 5″ rims
1972 Benelli Buzzer Junior xxxxxxx (same but no lights), 5″ rims
In 1972 the gas tank and seat were improved with a better appearance, making it blend in to the seat. The Dynamo Compact was discontinued. The Dynamo Trail was called the Dynamo II. The no-lights version was still the Woodsbike.
Then in 1975, below, the Dynamo II went back to being called Dynamo Trail.
1975 Benelli 500 Quattro, x 500cc 5-spd 4-cylinder
1975 Benelli 250 Phantom, 250cc 5-spd 30hp@8000, 100mph
1975 Benelli Banshee 90, xx 90cc 6-speed foot shift
1975 Benelli Moped, 50cc 1-speed automatic, pedals, 16″ rims
1975 Benelli 3VK, xx 50cc 3-speed grip-shift, pedals, 16″ rims
1975 Benelli Dynamo Trail, 65cc 4-speed foot shift, 10″ rims
Benelli Automatic Transmission Moped Engines
The Benelli mopeds, with pedals, from the above ads, have the same engine as the Wards Riverside mopeds, made by Benelli. This 1960’s moped engine has a slanted upright cylinder, all rounded, a one-speed automatic transmission, and internal pedals. 1975 or 76 was the last year for the 1960’s motor.
In 1969, the Benelli moped engine was redesigned, with a horizontal cylinder, one-speed automatic transmission, and external pedals, not internal. The 1970’s moped engine did not appear in the US until 1976 on the Benelli G2 and Blazer.
Benelli Mini-cycle Tires
These images of Benelli mini-cycle tires are for your information. The tire size is useful in identifying the model(s). Myrons does not carry any of these small diameter tires.