In 1968 Benelli presented the 650 Tornado. A two-cylinder parallel pushrod twin. In keeping with the Italian approach, it then took a few more years before the machines came up for sale. At the beginning of the 650s, the two-cylinder pushrod concept was actually already outdated and buried. The Tornado had to compete with the brands and machines that when the XNUMX finally went on sale… had actually already toppled over.
From 1970 onwards, motorcycles were supposed to be from Japan, have four cylinders, overhead camshafts and be at least 750 cc. What parallel twins were still appreciated was the pulling power at low revs. The Italians had their own thoughts about that. The Tornado delivered 50 horsepower. At least: he was given up for that. That power delivered the massive-looking Italo twin at 7200 rpm. Oh, yes: and a Benelli did vibrate too. Very. Benelli then opted to hang sensitive parts in rubber silent blocks.
That speed was due to the fact that the Benelli had an extremely short stroke, which leads to low piston speed at high revs, which in itself is an excellent approach. This benefits reliability. But a 650 cc parallel pushrod twin where you upshift at 7000 rpm ?? That was tough, you know. Only the BSA Spitfire MkIV came close. And it had the tendency to break down at much lower revs. The Tornado was therefore more an ADHD person with Parkinson's than a gentleman's tourer.
All in all, Benelli delivered Tornados between 1970 and 1975
The first copies did not have a starter motor. Later there was an S version with slightly larger carburettors, a sports seat and - possibly - a fairing. That was in 1972. The 'B' type of the 'Tornado' disappeared. In its place came the '650S'. The most important change is the installation of a starter motor. This replaces the DC alternator of its predecessor. The Bosch (!) Starter is powered by a chain from the crankshaft. On this crankshaft was now, on the left, an alternator, again from Bosch.
The number of Tornado's that have been built is, according to Italian tradition, an 'approximately'
A total of approximately 2200 pieces is the number that you hear the most. The 'B' type around 1500 units, and the '650 S' and the '650 S2' slightly in the neighborhood of 200 units. While the whole design of the engine revolved around oversize and reliability, quite a few Tornadoes have exploded due to its ultra-short stroke approach. The point is that a '650 Tornado' is climbing very eagerly. If you missshift it really goes wrong, the Twin turns over its revs and pushrods can get bent or valves go through the pistons ... Ultimately, according to Cruijf, the advantage of a short stroke was the low piston speed at high revs, moreover a big disadvantage because of that fast gas reaction. The profit in this is delightful again. The sound that a 'Tornado' has sounds very aggressively biting, but very beautiful.
The rare tornadoes have now been 'discovered'
Prices are rising. Enthusiasts dare to invest. And our photo model was delivered by its owner in Vorden with the comment “It must be perfect”. Theo Terwel has an international reputation for making two-wheelers from and for owners who realize that top quality comes at a price and who don't complain about it. So we are very curious to see what a Tornado looked like the day it left the factory. And we are curious what the global Tornado prices will do. Because the Tornado has been discovered….
Oh yes: A Benelli can also be a Motobi. But that has to do with family disagreements.
- A Benelli Tornado and other fossils
- The Benelli 500-4. Better stolen than badly conceived
- Benelli self-built racers. DIY Haute Couture
- Verkeerd afgelopen: a Benelli Tornado 650
- Motobi, a result of brother disputes