An alternate tackle 70s stroker twins – WORDS: Steve Cooper PHOTOS: Mortons Archive
Italian bikes include reputations of assorted varieties. Typically, they deal with higher than a lot of their Oriental counterparts, have malevolent electrics, may be unreliable and tough to restore and, fairly often, are fearsomely costly. This month we goal to set the document straight(er) with a pleasant pair of Latin lightweights that gained’t break the financial institution and will have you ever smiling.
Benelli’s 250C first noticed the sunshine of day again in 1971 when the Pesaro agency unveiled its response to the rising tide of Japanese two-stroke twins. Commercialised a 12 months later with some machines bought below the Motobi identify, the bike would stay on till 1982. Following the acquisition of a number of Italian producers by Alejandro de Tomaso, the bike was additionally bought because the Moto Guzzi 250TS. By no means a direct menace to the Japanese stinkwheels of the interval, the Italian 250 strokers acquired minimal funding or upgrading and had been later sidelined by an detached administration.
You can argue cynically that the Benelli 2C and its Moto Guzzi 250TS sister had been doomed from the beginning. Designed and constructed with one of the best of intentions you possibly can even counsel the fundamental design was hamstrung by both a scarcity of imaginative and prescient or foresight. Why, when the Japanese bikes had featured alloy cylinders because the late Sixties, would you match heavy forged iron ones? Equally, how was any aspiring rider going to tolerate the trouble of blending oil with petrol when trendy two-strokes had been fitted with oil injection since 1964? And but elsewhere there was superior pondering with digital ignition inside two years of launch and a radically trendy over sq. bore and stroke configuration. The previous obviated the necessity for gapping factors and setting ignition time while the latter ensured a punchy, highly effective motor. Or maybe accountants began reducing prices? Who is aware of!
Regardless of the circumstances, the tip consequence was a pair of bikes that oozed appeal and magnificence and, even when they weren’t as quick because the Japanese bikes, gave a ok account of themselves on the street. Even when bean counters had been meddling with among the bike’s elements they’d not managed to affect or upset the operating gear. The body and its geometries had been properly forward of something from Japan; the suspension at each was high quality Italian Marzocchi stuff; ditto the Grimeca brakes. What the bike lacked in outright efficiency it made up for by way of class-leading dealing with.
Whereas Japanese equipment of the interval was always evolving and being developed, the Benelli 2C actually solely ever acquired beauty and aesthetics upgrades. The launch of the Moto Guzzi 250TS was aimed toward broadening the 250’s enchantment and the adoption of alloy cylinders introduced the bikes a bit extra up-to-date.
The early Eighties noticed a café racer model launched and badge-engineered as a Motobi as soon as once more. The becoming of three-spoke alloy wheels, triple disc brakes, mixed seat/tank unit and a duck tail rear spoiler couldn’t digitise the truth that the mannequin had run its course. With Yamaha’s liquid-cooled 250LC in the marketplace, the air-cooled, pre-mix bikes had been a lot yesterday’s know-how… on paper at the very least.
On board these Italian quarter-litre twins it’s a unique story. Sure, okay, they’re a bit rawer than their friends however in addition they have one thing dialled out of many Japanese machines and that’s character… in spades. The using place is totally different, the exhaust observe is totally different and the dealing with merely needs to be skilled to be believed. Judging these machines instantly towards their contemporaries now might be unfair to be trustworthy – simply strive one and be impressed by one of the cost-effective Italian classics there’s!
Lineage and Legacy
Sadly there was by no means any follow-up to the pair of Italian 250s and so they lasted simply over a decade extra by luck than judgement. Gross sales exterior of Italy had been all the time on the low aspect for a number of causes – the worth of the Lire on the time, the dearth of oil injection, and treasured little in the best way of growth. The Italian bike business on the time was chaotic to say the least and there was no useful resource accessible to give you something considerably higher.
Why you may want one now
These pleasant Italian two-stroke twins not solely signify good worth for cash, they’re additionally considerably totally different from most different stroker twins of the interval. There’s the simple Italian styling with strains, curves and angles you’d by no means get on a Japanese machine. Value is one other superb purpose for homing both the Benelli or Moto Guzzi variations as both goes to between two to 4 thousand kilos cheaper than something equal from the Orient.
If that’s not enough justification then there’s the handing and street manners that come from Italian two wheels. By the curves the 2C/250TS will all the time present the GT, RD and KH a clear pair of heels.
If you would like one in every of these beautiful machines at a cut price value then look to the used bike market of Italy the place many flip up for actually good cash. Simply £1600 will purchase you one regionally that’s in operating situation! Even top-end examples don’t go a lot over £3000. In the meantime within the UK you may discover a similarly-priced, £3,000 cut price on the market privately however we’ve seen sellers asking £5000, which is a bit too wealthy to be trustworthy. Purchase an honest 2C/250TS primarily based on situation with a V5C and goal to not spend £4000 can be our recommendation. And if you happen to merely should purchase a challenge, bear in mind most the stuff you want should come from the EU so anticipate to be paying import responsibility and VAT huge time.
Faults and Foibles
1. CHAIN ADJUSTERS
Earlier 2Cs had single sided chain pullers which are identified to be weak. The models from the 250TS are a lot stronger.
Italian chrome of the interval was notoriously skinny and sometimes badly utilized.
3. TANK PANELS & TRIM
If something is lacking it’ll be tougher to search out than Japanese elements and should come from mainland Europe.
4. FUEL SYSTEM
The bikes are fitted with Dellorto carburettors so that you’ll must supply elements from the suitable brokers and specialists.
The double sided entrance drum brake could take a bit organising however is extraordinarily efficient. Later single disc variations are higher than interval Japanese variations.
Digital from the very first fashions and can want knowledgeable enter if there are points.
Should you needed another traditional 250cc stroker twin then look no additional. The 2C/250TS provide a remarkably cost-effective method to get into the traditional Italian bike scene. The bikes’ mild weight and reassuring dealing with make for a superb experience and also you’ll be pleasantly shocked at simply how fast these bikes are on B roads. Park up at any bike occasion and be assured you’ll quickly have lovers queueing up to take a look.
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