c1950 Gilera 150cc Sport Motorcycle
Gilera's story encompasses virtually the entire 20th Century and spans a hugely diverse range of road going motorcycles, from tiny mopeds and lightweight scooters to some of the finest large capacity singles, twins and fours ever made. Gilera can also boast a proud history in motorcycle racing as well, achieving success in trials, enduros and above all, Grand Prix events. Alongside the bigger Nettuno and Saturno overhead valve singles, Gilera offered a range of smaller, modern lightweights in the early post-war years, designed to compete with rivals Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta and crucial to the success of the company. Starting with a four-stroke single 125cc prototype unveiled in 1949, the new Gilera was powered by a parallel-valve twin camshaft design, with a frame featuring unusual swinging fork and compression spring rear suspension and steel girder forks. A simplified design, with side-by-side valves and unit construction, entered production later in the year, with a cast iron cylinder and alloy head, Dell’Orto MA16 carburettor and an output of just 5.5 horsepower due to 5.1:1 compression ratio necessary for the low grade fuel available at the time. Initially catalogued as the Turismo, the 125 Gilera was joined by a Sport version the following year and, in 1952, an expanded 150 model appeared (with bore increased from 54 to 60mm) sold in Turismo, Sport, Rossa Super and Rossa Super Sport versions. Joined by a 175cc in 1956, the 150 was catalogued until 1960 and, together with the 125, these three models formed the mainstay of Gilera’s production through the 1950s. With few of these delightful little Italian bikes left on the road, any Gilera is a welcome sight at the many club or ride days available to owners.