Archive for the ‘Gilera’ Category

Erpelding, Europe’s Keeper of Classic Race Bikes

September 29, 2009

Are you a racebike enthusiast? Happen to be planning a trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany?

erpeldingIf so, you may want to visit former motorcycle and auto dealer and racer Frithjor Erpelding, a man who claims to have the second largest private museum in Europe dedicated to race motorcycles. Located in the Eifel mountain hamlet of Jammelshofen, near the ‘Ring, the museum houses 200-some bikes and a half-dozen of his championship-winning race cars.

Among the units on display: AJS, Aprilia, Ariel, Bimota, BSA, CZ, Egli, Gilera, NSU, Koenig, Moto Parilla, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Matchless, Maico, Triumph, Norton, Greeves, Jawa, Puch, Wanderer, Harris, BSS, Benelli, Laverda, Royal-Enfield, Harley-Davidson, Horex, Honda, Gilera, Kawasaki, Kreidler, Linto, Suzuki, Scott, Seley, Yamaha, Rickman, KTM, Ducati, Montessa, NSU, Vincent, Velocette and Zuendapp, etc.

I asked Erpelding which of the 200 units is his favorite. “The Norton,” he replied without pause. Erpelding has two Norton Manx. “The chairman of Cambridge University recently contacted me, asking if I would sell one of my Manx. I told him ‘No’. He offered Euro 100,000 and I declined. Then he offered Euro 200,000 and I again declined. Finally, I cut to the chase and told him I wouldn’t be selling the bike no matter what the price.”

MuseumBut, Erpelding is willing to sell certain units. He says he recently sold a Vincent to a collector in the United States for Euro 80,000. “He deposited the check in my bank account before even receiving the bike. I called and asked him why he trusted me, and he said, ‘I’ve heard you’re a trustworthy guy’.”

Erpelding is a fella who loves telling his stories. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to leave time to have beer at his Race Museum Bar. He’ll tell you about his run-ins with racer Agostini and Yamaha bosses; his thoughts on Triumph, MZ and KTM; his trips to Goodwood; and his days of racing Honda motorcycles and cars.

Check out Erpelding’s website, which features the full line-up of the museum’s bikes on display.

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Race Replica Scoots We’re Not Getting

September 27, 2009

File this under cool stuff we’re not getting in the U.S.: Three 50cc scooters wrapped in race livery that are sure to be a hit with sportbike enthusiasts looking for alternative surface street transportation.

Inspired by Valentino Rossi and the Fiat Yamaha MotoGP racing team, the Aerox Team Yamaha Race Replica (top), powered by a liquid-cooled two-stroke 50cc engine, is wrapped in the new-for-2009 paint and graphics to match the racing livery of the YZR-M1 MotoGP bike.

The Gilera Runner Marco Simoncelli Replica (middle) is powered by a 50cc liquid-cooled two-stroke engine delivering 5.4hp and features livery similar to that of the 250cc MotoGP World Champion’s factory racebike.

The Malaguti Phantom F12R Ducati Corse Superbike (bottom), available in 50cc liquid or air-cooled two-stroke versions, is the latest in a line of scoots made available via a licensing agreement between Ducati and Malaguti. Also available: the Phantom F12R Bayliss Limited Edition and the Phantom F12R Ducati Team version.

I saw all three of these units during a recent trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany. The bikes depicted in the photos were for sale at motorcycle dealerships adjacent to the world-famous racetrack.
Yamaha_ScooterGilera_ScooterDucati_Adenau-copy

What will Piaggio’s €150 Million Loan Cover?

December 28, 2008

Piaggio & C. S.p.A. recently obtained a €150 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to be earmarked for upcoming R&D activities. But which brand will be on the receiving end of this funding, Piaggio, Vespa, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Gilera or Derbi?

The Piaggio Group’s six brands revealed nearly a dozen concept bikes at the EICMA show in November.

The Derbi DH 2.0 is one of many recent Piaggio Group prototypes.

The Derbi DH 2.0 is one of many recent Piaggio Group prototypes.

Could the loan amount be going toward the realization of some of those models? Could it be that the funding is to be earmarked for Aprilia’s forthcoming World Superbike race effort? Is it possible Piaggio finally plans to expand its Gilera and Derbi offerings?

What about Moto Guzzi? In November, Piaggio’s Moto Guzzi subsidiary merged into the parent company in a move Piaggio leadership said will help leverage industrial, commercial and financial synergies by “rationalizing” the two companies’ technical, industrial, design and style operations.

Guzzi's operation may be a target for investment

Moto Guzzi's operation may be a target for investment.

Erected in 1921, Moto Guzzi’s production facility in Mandello del Lario, Italy, is aging and situated on a limited parcel of land between a cliff side and Lago di Lecco – the eastern arm of Lake Como. A Dealernews visit in 2007 revealed only half of the facility in use, with the remainder in a darkened state of decay.

So, maybe, the Piaggio/MotoGuzzi merger, plus the recent R&D-related loan, signals a pending revitalization of the Guzzi production process.

What are your thoughts?