CBX V Z13 V BENELLI SEI
Big sixes in full swing. And you can see the attraction. If you didn’t want one before...
In the late 1970s, Honda’s CBX1000, Kawasaki’s Z1300 and Benelli’s 900 Sei showcased the factories’ desire to go big and go mad. The bigger (and wider) the better. Today, the trio of sixes remain a wonderful high-water mark of excess
Never mind the quality, feel the width. Come on, admit it: it’s almost impossible, even as the grown men we are today, not to surreptitiously sidle up to a Honda CBX1000, Kawasaki Z1300 or Benelli Sei (on the rare occasions we spot them) and count the headers under our breath, transfixed by the rows of chrome tubes like hypnotised schoolboys. we’ve seen church organs with less impressive arrays of pipework, right?
The Honda, Kawasaki and Benelli sixes sprang from a 1970s decade of ‘anything goes’ engine design, which saw unprecedented mechanical experimentation as bike manufacturers sought to out-excess their rivals. If a ludicrously large and powerful motor could be packaged in a double cradle frame with a wheel at each end, someone, somewhere, would surely build it. And so they did. Honda had six-cylinder previous in racing, with the 250cc RC166 and 297cc RC174 of 1966 and 1967. So when, in 1975, Honda laid out plans for the CBX1000, the double overhead cam, 24-valve engine design drew on existing technology.the 1047cc six, released in 1978, was Honda’s sports flagship.at a claimed 105bhp, Honda said it was the most powerful production engine. And at 139mph, it was also the fastest.
Not for long. also released in 1978, Kawasaki’s Z1300 sported a water-cooled two-valve inline six making a monstrous 120bhp, which comfortably out-muscled and out-weighed the CBX. Meanwhile Benelli, like Honda, had six-cylinder previous in the shape of 1975’s 750 Sei. Expensive and complex, in 1979 the single overhead cam motor got bored and stroked to an 80bhp 906cc, and which completed the late 1970s’ line-up of inline sixes; bikes that stretched engineering and chassis design (as well as smiles, credulity and bell-bottoms) to the absolute limit.
And so now it’s time to embrace our inner schoolboy, and find out what the sixes feel like today.
US import Benelli in black and white looks mighty fine
1979 BENELLI 900 Sei MKIV 1979 KAWASAKI KZ1300A1 1982 HONDA CBX1000-C