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Gilera Motorcycle History

Vintage Gilera 500 during the 1955 Isle of Man TT.

The history of the Gilera Motorcycle Company began in the early 1900s with the launch of the VT 317, the first motorcycle 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 motorcycles like the Quattro Bulloni 500 and the Otto Bulloni. The 1936 year 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 kilometer in 1937: a feat that remained unbeaten for nearly 20 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 motorcycles dominated the MotoGP World Championship, the stars of epic duels with Norton, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta, and won six motorcycle rider titles between 1950 and 1957… read more >

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