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Industry Motorcycle and Scooter
Founded 1909
Founder Giuseppe Gilera
Headquarters Pontedera, Italy
Area served
Parent Piaggio
Gilera exhibit
1954 Gilera 150 Sport

Gilera is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer founded in Arcore in 1909 by Giuseppe Gilera. In 1969, the company was purchased by Piaggio.


  • History 1
  • Racing history 2
    • European championships 2.1
    • MotoGP World Championship 2.2
    • MotoGP World Constructors champions 2.3
    • Isle of Man Tourist Trophy 2.4
  • Motorcycle models 3
    • Historic product 3.1
    • Modern product 3.2
    • Gilera SMT 3.3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


In 1935, Gilera acquired rights to the Rondine four-cylinder engine. This formed the basis for Gilera' s racing machines for nearly forty years. From the mid-thirties, Gilera developed a range of four-stroke engine machines. The engines ranged from 100 to 500 cc, the most famous being the 1939 Saturno. Designed by Giuseppe Salmaggi, the Saturno was inspired by the pre-war Gilera VTEGS 500cc “Otto Bulloni” yet was quite different due to its unit construction.[1]

In 1969, Gilera became part of the Piaggio group.

In 1992, Gilera made a return to the Grand Prix arena and Piaggio continues to produce small-displacement motorcycles with the Gilera name. The famous factory of Arcore was closed in 1993 and now the motorcycles (only scooters) bearing the name Gilera are produced by Piaggio in Pontedera.

Racing history

After World War II, Gilera dominated Grand Prix motorcycle racing, winning the 500 cc road racing world championship six times in eight years. Facing a downturn in motorcycle sales due to the increase in the popularity of automobiles after the war, Gilera made a gentleman's agreement with the other Italian motorcycle makers to quit Grand Prix racing after the 1957 season as a cost-cutting measure.

The 1957 500 cc machines on which former World Champion rider Geoff Duke had much success were resurrected in 1963, but with the benefit of newer, upgraded tyre technology of the 1960s were considered still competitive. The team was devised by Duke to challenge the domination of Mike Hailwood on the MV and had early successes with riders Derek Minter and team mate John Hartle at Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Imola, Italy.

In May 1963 Minter suffered serious injuries when racing a Norton at Brands Hatch, and his place in the team for the TT races was taken by Phil Read, who came third to second-place team mate Hartle. The team only raced for one season in selected races.

In 1966 Minter arranged to ride the Gileras at the TT, again without success.

European championships

Year Class Rider
1939 500cc Dorino Serafini

MotoGP World Championship

Gilera 5004C

Gilera won the following World Titles:

Year Class Rider
1950 500cc Umberto Masetti
1952 500cc Umberto Masetti
1953 500cc Geoff Duke
1954 500cc Geoff Duke
1955 500cc Geoff Duke
1957 500cc Libero Liberati
Year Class Rider
2008 250cc Marco Simoncelli
Year Class Rider
2001 125cc Manuel Poggiali

MotoGP World Constructors champions

  • 500 cc class
    • 1952, 1953, 1955, 1957

Isle of Man Tourist Trophy

  • 350 cc class
Year Champion Class Motorcycle
1957 Isle of Man TT Bob McIntyre Class 350 cc
  • 500 cc class
Year Champion Class Motorcycle
1955 Isle of Man TT Geoff Duke Class 500 cc
1957 Isle of Man TT Bob McIntyre Class 500 cc
1963 Isle of Man TT John Hartle
Class 500 cc Team Scuderia Duke Gilera
1963 Isle of Man TT Phil Read
Class 500 cc Team Scuderia Duke Gilera

Motorcycle models

Historic product

1947 Gilera Saturno.
  • Saturno Produced after the war until 1959 as a 498 cc (30.4 cu in) OHV single with 22 bhp (16 kW) @ 5,000 rpm and swinging-arm rear suspension using parallel, twin horizontal coil springs. The racing version designated Saturno San Remo was campaigned with success in Italian national and international races but was unable to compete with the multi-cylinder and overhead camshaft opposition.[2]

Modern product

1989 Gilera Nuovo Saturno Bialbero
1991 Gilera 125 CX

Gilera SMT

The Gilera SMT is a cross moped "for the big city". It is a supermotard which means it is an offroad moped fit for the big city, but can also handle bumpy roads. It has 17-inch rims with broad tires, six gears and a 50 cc engine producing 8.5 hp (6.3 kW).

See also


  1. ^ James Adam Bolton (February 2011). "The Gilera Saturno". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 2011-03-11. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Hugo. (1993) The Ultimate Motor-Cycle Book pp.96-97 Gilera. Dorling Kindersley ISBN 0751300438 Accessed and added 2014-12-24
  3. ^ Walker, Mick Italian Racing Motorcycles at Google Books Retrieved 2014-12-24

External links

  • The Gilera Historical Register
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