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Gilera Saturno Bialbero

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ER Classics Desktop 2022

Motorcycle land is teeming with resurrections, reincarnations and things to marvel at, like Benelli, now in Chinese hands, trying to storm the Iranian motorcycle market.

And of course we have everything between the new Jawas and Nortons that actually have very little to do with their roots. In that turmoil – now 'Royal' again – Enfield with the new and beautiful retro twins is a very believable rebirth of which we think we know for sure that these retro - or just 'very real' - motorcycles have a solid right to exist.


So much for the resurrections. But there were also swan songs

Like that of the once illustrious brand Gilera. Even before the First World War, Gileras were in high demand. The war gave an extra boost, because Gilera was allowed to build motorcycles for the army. In the 'Russian' museum 'Motos of war' of friend Vyacheslav Sheyanov are some very nice Gileras. Unfortunately, that museum is about 1500 km away from us.

After the war, Gilera continued to prosper and in the 700s the company, with about 1990 employees, started exporting. And the brand became extremely successful on the road racing circuits. In World War II, production was army green again. Then the competition successes were picked up again. And after that? Then everything diminished. In XNUMX another attempt was made to score successes with the sporting history of the brand:

In 1990 a series of sporty single-cylinder four-stroke models were launched under the name of Gilera, the Saturno and the Nordwest, but in 1994 the Gilera brand disappeared from the market.

But in the meantime there was the Gilera Saturno Bialbero

'Saturno' was a legendary name. And 'bialbero' stood for the two camshafts in the single-cylinder block of the slender sporty engine with its 'eighties' appearance. The new Saturno was also specially built to the wishes of the Japanese importer. The trading house C. Itoh.

The 492 cc single-cylinder engine with a Ø 40 mm PHM 40VS Dell 'Orto carburetor delivered 40 hp with its two toothed belt-driven camshafts, the bicycle part had Marzocchi suspension and damping. The engine had a dry weight of 156 kilos and was over 170 km/h fast. The brakes came from Brembo and the discs were Marvic cast wheels. About 1000 of them went to Japan. And although they were about a quarter more expensive in Europe than, for example, a Honda CBR600, they were also sold nicely in England to people who were crazy about café racers. With 'nice', think of a few hundred copies at the most. And 'racing' wanted the Gilera single pitters with balance shaft: Below 4000 – actually: 6000 – rpm there was little going on. Above that it became more and more festive. The great success eluded the Gilera because of its price.

So few have been sold

And the demand is growing. And what do we see? Prices are going up. The starting prices for very nice copies are around € 12.500. Our fashion model is at Gallery Aaldering, the mileage is a proud 80 kilometers. And the price? It is on request.

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6 Comments

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  1. Used to be a real guzzist. Loved Saturno when it came out. But now to spend a lot of money on 500 fc a cylinder. New. Our much nicer for that money. Even Saturno racer, despite its price, was not competitive with SOS rares at the time. Sorry for typos

  2. You never know what becomes desirable and then translates into higher prices, but I wish this Gilera every success. That was not possible with an even more potent Yamaha SZR660, or actually the Belgarda 660, a very serious one-cylinder engine devised and built by the then Italian Yamaha importer. Due to many appealing but expensive components, and an eventual limited production (< 2000), an overpriced belly slider that nobody understood what this bike was made for. Because 48 hp was far too little for such an HFL 14.000?
    Didn't cost turd about 8 years ago, and unfortunately had to give her up after 5 years for even less because of neck complaints. That is sad for the moped with which I had much more fun than with any 4-cylinder.
    I see the same potential pleasure in this Gilera, but of course ending up in someone's investment portfolio also has something of 'sad'.

    Yamaha SZR cockpit left

  3. Gilera has made more cool stuff, which stood out in the market.
    I think the Citta, available in 1001 colors, also came from Gilera.
    In the mid 90's you almost stumbled upon it here.

    And what about the Gilera DNA?
    A shift moped (or motorcycle) look, with an automatic block?
    Certainly a rarity in moped land, because a vario was under a scoot, and not under a "belly slider".

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