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Scooter News

Gilera 100 Years Old

Gilera celebrates one hundred years of history in 2009 with a new logo and special one off colours.

Piaggio Press

Gilera’s winning streak began in the 1920s, continued with legendary names like Masetti, Duke and Liberati riding the 500 Quattro Cilindri, and persists  today with the world championship title of Marco Simoncelli.

The Gilera story is extraordinary to say the least. The marque celebrates its centenary in 2009 and has won every class of the GP world championship as well as off-road specialities.

To celebrate this anniversary, Gilera is going to make its premium models even more attractive, gracing them with a new livery and a new celebratory logo identifying the values of competition and Italian style that have always characterised Gilera.

The centenary logo

To celebrate the company’s centenary, all Gilera scooters will carry a new logo in 2009. The new design is an adaptation of the famous logo of the 1950s, with the colours of the championship winner to either side, and a black background with the two symbolic dates of 1909 and 2009 in the centre.
Restyled using 3D technology, the new logo will first appear on premium models before being extended to the entire Gilera range.
Designed by the Piaggio Style Centre, the new symbol graphically represents Gilera’s glorious racing history in a fresh, modern key.
At the centre, the classic two ring logo dating back to 1950 maintains the Gilera family feeling. The complete new logo is enclosed in a circle of gold, testifying to the historic value and elegance of the Gilera tradition.


The new livery will also be introduced first on the premium models in the Gilera range. The colours are a tribute to the Italian spirit of Gilera as a marque that has always remained faithful to strong values of style, competition and high performance.
The colours of the Italian flag have been chosen precisely to celebrate the history of a marque that, for the public in general and motorcycling fans in particular, has always identified genuine Italian values.
Italian colours are universally recognised as symbolising attention to detail, distinctive design, innovative technology, and advanced technical solutions. Gilera enjoys an original and unique standing in this sense by representing the two fundamental values of sporting Italian style and a spirit of boldness and innovation.


The Gilera story is extraordinary to say the least. The marque celebrates its centenary in 2009 and has won every class of the GP world championship as well as off-road specialities.

The history of the Gilera company began in the early 1900s with the launch of the VT 317, the first motorbike designed by Giuseppe Gilera, in 1909. After the first World War, Gilera’s 500cc flathead motorbikes won the top international races. The mid-1930s saw the arrival of overhead models like the Quattro Bulloni 500 and the Otto Bulloni. 1936 marked the launch of the Rondine, a futuristic racing bike with compressor and 500cc straight-four engine. The Rondine set a host of world records (274.181 km/h on a flying kilometre in 1937: a feat that remained unbeaten for nearly twenty years) and took Dorino Serafini to the 1939 European Championship title. After the war, Gilera returned with the new Saturno 500 and a range of medium-small engines. On the race track, the new four-cylinder 500cc models dominated the Moto GP World Championship, the stars of epic duels with Norton, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta, and won six rider titles between 1950 and 1957. Umberto Masetti was world champion in 1950 and 1952, followed by Geoff Duke (three world titles) and Libero Liberati (one title). Gilera also clocked up six constructors world titles, three Tourist Trophy victories, seven Italian titles and a spectacular record-breaking victory by Bruno Francisci in the Milan-Taranto. Overall, by the time of its withdrawal from racing in 1957, Gilera had won 40 world Grand Prix. It was a redoubtable competitor in motocross too, dominating the International Six Days events and the Regularity races. On the market, Gilera made its reputation with its medium-cylinder touring bikes—Giubileo, Rossa, Turismo, Sport—turning out impressive production figures; its top-of-the-range models, in addition to the Saturno (the choice of Italy’s armed forces) included the 300 Bicilindrica. In 1969 Gilera joined the Piaggio Group, which re-launched the historic two-ring brand by focusing on production of medium and medium-small models and a range of road and offroad bikes. Gilera’s performance in Cross and Regularity races revived the traditional splendour of its name, with the support of leading-edge innovations such as the futuristic 125 Bicilindrica Cross. With the 1980s came a new four-stroke dual-shaft single-cylinder engine—initially 350 and 500cc, later in a 600cc model—which reached its peak on the RC enduro series (600 and 750), with two class victories in the Paris-Dakar and an “outright” in the Pharaoh Rally. In the 125 class, Gilera led the field with the all-powerful SPO2 and the futuristic CX125. Gilera returned to the 250cc Moto GP World Championship in 1992
and 1993. Production was transferred to Pontedera in 1993, where the brand focused on development of sport scooters like the Runner, an innovative road scooter-bike, now available in four-stroke four-value 125 and 200cc versions. In 2000, Gilera expanded its range with the revolutionary DNA, a “stripped down” automatic that took the scooter-bike concept into a new dimension. The end of 2003 saw the debut of the Nexus maxiscooter, marking Gilera’s return to the 500cc class. More than 40 hp, sophisticated design solutions and easy driving made the Nexus the sportiest scooter on the market.
At the EICMA 2006 show in Milan, Gilera surprised the industry when it presented a range of revolutionary products due to begin shipping in 2007. The Gilera GP 800 is the fastest and most powerful scooter seen to date: dual-cylinder, 8 valves, 839cc, electronic injection, liquid cooled, 75 hp. The Gilera GP 800 is the link between the performance and pleasure of a mid-range model and the practical features of a scooter with loading capacity, aerodynamic protection and driving comfort. The other outstanding new entry is the Gilera Fuoco: with its striking design and dual-ignition, electronic injection 500cc engine, the Fuoco is the standard-bearer for the Piaggio Group’s exclusive “three-wheel” technology: a fundamental development in safety and riding pleasure.

In 2001 the two-ring brand made an unexpected move when it entered the 125 class World Championship, a return to racing made possible by the Piaggio Group’s acquisition of Spain’s Derbi. Manager Giampiero Sacchi was appointed to take charge of the Gilera Racing Team, an all-Italian group that has gone from success to success, largely thanks to the all-out commitment of every team member. With young driver Manuel Poggiali (Republic of San Marino), Gilera was one of the leaders in the 125 category. On 20 May, at Le Mans, Manuel engineered a spectacular race to finish first in the French Grand Prix and put Gilera back on top of the podium. By the end of the season, Poggiali had scored two more victories (the Portuguese GP in Estoril and the Comunitat Valenciana GP) and crowned an extraordinarily consistent performance to become 125 World Champion, adding another title to the Gilera hall of fame, 44 years after the world title won by Libero Liberati on a four-cylinder 500cc.

In 2002 it returned to defend its title. Once again Poggiali set the pace, with races, like the win at Mugello, that have gone down in motorcycling history. With four victories and ten podiums, Poggiali fought to the very last GP, but closed in the runner-up position.

2003 was a season of transition. After two successful years, the team began a difficult process of reconstruction to equip itself for a revival, a painstaking task away from the spotlight of the podium, but one that reaped its rewards in the 2004 championship. For the first time since its return to racing, Gilera opened the season with two riders: Stefano Perugini and Fabrizio Lai, under technical director Luigi Dall’Igna..

Following the integration of Aprilia into the Piaggio Group, Gilera returned to MotoGP in 2006, with Marco Simoncelli, a young rider from the Romagna region of Italy racing in the 250 class. 2007 saw efforts being doubled with Roberto Locatelli, a veteran of MotoGP riding alongside Simoncelli. Gilera’s first ever 250 class win came in the 2008 season when Marco Simoncelli rode to victory in the Italian GP at Mugello. He repeated the feat in the very next GP in Barcelona. Simoncelli went on to win the German, Japanese and Australian GPs as well and take the 2008 MotoGP World Championship title in the 250 class.



1952 – 500 cc
1953 – 500 cc
1954 – 500 cc
1955 – 500 cc
1957 – 350 cc
1957 – 500 cc


1950 - Umberto Masetti, I – 500 cc
1952 - Umberto Masetti, I – 500 cc
1953 - Geoff Duke, GB – 500 cc
1954 - Geoff Duke, GB – 500 cc
1955 - Geoff Duke, GB – 500 cc
1957 - Libero Liberati, I – 500 cc
2001 - Manuel Poggiali, RSM – 125 cc
2008 - Marco Simoncelli, I – 250 cc

published 6/11/2008

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