The Gilera Motorcycle was built in 1909 by a Mr. Giuseppe Gilera who wanted to see more Italian designed motorcycles on the international market. Although Gilera opened their doors to production before the First World War, it was not till after the war that Gilera started to make a name for themselves. Starting with a 500 cc motorcycle in the years immediately following the war, the Gilera Motorcycles featured a unique engine in which the valves were located inside the crankcase instead of above the head.
By 1936 Gilera released their first futuristic racing bike which managed a 274.181 kilometres per hour top speed as recorded in 1937. This record that was set by Gilera remained unbeaten for almost twenty years. This newly acquired land speed record allowed Gilera to increase both production and new models, most of which managed a large racing following. With a total of forty-four Grand Prix titles Gilera remained vigilant in racing until 1957.
In 1969 the Piaggio Group bought out Gilera and completely reformed the entire company. Under the Piaggio ownership, Gilera Motorcycles were once again able to see racing competition. By 1993 Gilera also started producing scooters and scooter-motorcycle hybrids. Gilera had managed to stay afloat thanks to Piaggio, and since 1993, Gilera has produced a total of over 700,000 vehicles with the Gilera branding on them.
Gilera motorcycles are still manufactured today under the Piaggio umbrella and they still maintain their racing legacies when in 2002 a Gilera motorcycle was ridden by Manuel Poggiali who in turn took second place in the 2002 Motorcycle World Championship.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 03/06/2008