Created as a homologation to a legendary endurance racing car, this Benelli dubbed 512M after the famous Ferrari 512M uses classic design cues to homage vintage performance.
The Benelli 512M is a celebration of one of the most iconic racing machines, the Ferrari 512M Endurance car. In its time, it set the milestone in racing technology and established its name as one of the most important members of racing history.
Based on a Benelli 354 Sport, the bike was found in a fair condition in a dusty garage. It had been abandoned for nearly twenty years. The 354 Sport has a very small engine, offering mediocre performance, so it was swapped for a 500cc powertrain with double the power output and much more torque. The engine was fine tuned and fitted in a smaller and lighter frame.
The rear end of the bike was completely chopped off and replaced with an adjustable monoshock system from Gears Racing bolted to a lightweight aluminum subframe that supports the seat. The lithium battery and fuse box are within the subframe as well.
The engine heads were upgraded and widened to allow the engine to breathe better, and an electronic ignition system from Dynatech was installed to spark up the build. The rear suspension requires great stopping power, so the front and rear systems were swapped for a pair of Buell M2 brakes. Using a big 340mm rotor with six pot calipers fits the 18" wheels perfectly, the only original parts remaining. The wheels are wrapped in Avon tires made for vintage racing.
The exhaust system is a bit complicated as it uses four flat slide carburetors with custom velocity stacks to cooperate with it. An unusual layout of 4 into 1, 1 into 2, 2 into 4 paired with four HP Corse hydroform silencers makes sure the rear end roars.
The Benelli 512M was built to commemorate an iconic racing car and it has the looks to match. It looks like a racing bike from the 70s. The gas tanked was shaped out of 0.8mm steel, with two beautiful transparent windows on the sides to keep an eye on the fuel level.
The seat and the upper part of the fairing are built with fiberglass while the bellypan, air scoops and the rest of the bike underneath is made out of aluminium.
Using a unique handlebar layout, the 512M creates more space for the rider to maneuver and turn while managing the small frame of the bike. The cockpit of the frame looks quite busy as it integrates nearly all the functions of the bike. All the controls are in there, and you can find just 2 gauges. A classic Veglia rev counter and a mechanical stop watch that is electrically operated from the handlebar to measure lap times in the most classic way possible are the only bits of information found on the dash. The sidestand is also controlled from the cockpit and it hides beautifully under the aluminium bellypan.
The Benelli 512M is living proof that custom bikes aren't limited to their most popular form factors. Celebrating the classic with new techniques and shapes never gets old.
Donor bike Benelli 354 Sport
Brakes Buell M2
Suspension Gears Racing