RealClassic.co.uk Home

Bikes | Features | Events | Books | Tech | Magazine | About | Messages | Classified | Links

more bike profiles...

Bike Review - Posted 23rd November 2015
Home -> Bikes -> Road Tests and Profiles ->

Mallorcan Motorcycles

Richard Jones was supposed to be on holiday... but that didn't stopping him finding out about a mini Moto Guzzi, a Mosquito autocycle, and some species of dinky Ducati...

One thing that Mrs Jones enjoys about our holidays abroad is that she will not be stood standing around whilst I take innumerable photographs of classic motorcycles; for her this is a huge bonus. Imagine then her delight when we rounded the corner on the way back to the apartment in north east Mallorca and saw this lovely little machine on the road.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania

Of course there was nothing for it but to start taking photos and have a chat with the young man who owned this patinated little gem. Mrs Jones, in the meanwhile, proceeded back to base, glad that she didn’t have to stay and pretend to be too interested.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania

It transpired that the motorcycle had been bought by the present owner’s grandfather in the mid-late 1950s and was a Moto Guzzi Hispania of about 100cc capacity. We chatted about the merits of restoring it – he wanted to do everything possible but I tried to explain the benefits of patina but although his English was vastly superior to my Spanish I’m not sure if I succeeded in dissuading him.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania

He did start it up for me and the petrol tap was concealed behind this rather neat trapdoor in the fairing. The engine sounded to be in good heart but let’s face it – I am no expert.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania

From what I can make out Motorhispania SA had its roots back in 1938 when Aviation Industries Subsidiaries was formed to manufacture aircraft components; however by 1943 it has turned its attention to motorcycles. Meanwhile Enrico Parodi at Moto Guzzi foresaw that the post-war market would be driven by the need for low-cost, reliable transportation and had two-stroke specialist and designer, Antonio Micucci, start work on the 65cc Guzzino in 1944.

The machine became very successful and, with the name changed to Motoleggera 65 in Italy, a joint venture was formed with Motorhispania to manufacture units in Barcelona for the Spanish market. It is difficult to establish when this first started – some sources talk about the late 1940s and another document suggest 1954; take your choice but, in all , there appears to have been five models with capacities of 49cc, 65cc, 732cc, 98cc and 110cc, the latter becoming available in 1963.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania
Moto Guzzis on Now...

I believe that the example we see here is the Z98, based on the Moto Guzzi Zigolo that appeared in Italy in 1953. This featured a rotary-valve two-stroke engine, square engine dimensions of 50mm by 50mm to produce a capacity of 98cc, a 6:1 compression ratio, three gears and an output of 4hp which apparently resulted in a top speed of 60kph (say 37mph).

Front suspension was undamped telescopic forks whilst the rear featured this rather strange, at least to my eyes, scissor-type arrangement. I am indebted to Ian Falloon and his excellent book, The Moto Guzzi Story, for a more technical description: ‘the rear swingarm uses a rubber element in compression with Hartford-type friction dampers.’ I hope that makes it clear.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania

This model must be post-1955 as it is red as opposed to the ash grey that was used on the early machines. It also, rather unusually, has leg shields that were more usually associated with the 65cc version – perhaps the original owner got fed up of wet trousers when the rains came. Incidentally the photograph above is of the original insurance certification badge – how things have changed when, these days, you have to print off your own when you want one.

You would have thought Mrs Jones’ woes were now over but we were wandering through Alcudia a couple of days later when I saw an old Fiat 500 poking out of some double doors and, being a nosy so-and-so, stuck my head inside; joy - it was an Aladdin’s Cave of motorcycles together with their owner.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania

Naturally I didn’t have my camera so I am indebted to my son-in-law to-be, Chris, for taking these on his mobile phone which produced creditable results despite it being rather dark in the garage and the bikes packed in closely. Here you can just see the owner – whose English matched my Spanish – working on a 1954 Mosquito autocycle; I know this because there was a label handily tied on to the handlebars.

Garelli produced the original 38cc Mosquito power unit after WW2 and, at that time, it was simply attached to a conventional bicycle frame to provide some additional power. Later came the 49cc unit, a centrifugal clutch and the proper autocycle of which this appears to be an example. It was beautifully finished and ran well when started but then so it should – in a publicity stunt a team of eight riders rode a 38cc Mosquito for 55 days and nights around the Pau circuit in France, covering 25,000 miles at an average of 19mph.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania

Spanish engineer Luis Bejarano Morga worked for Douglas in Bristol for 30 years before returning home to found Lube motorcycles in 1947 at Barakaldo, part of Bilbao. After a failed venture with his former employers he turned to NSU in 1952 and many of the Lube machines used the German power units, including the 125cc two-stroke, 125cc ohv and 250cc ohc versions, housed in frames designed by Luis. Apparently two-stroke timing genius, Hermann Meier, came to work with Lube in the early 1960s and the marque experimented with rotary valve technology and double carburettors as well as introducing Earles fork front suspension. This example looks like one of the earlier NSU powered models but it’s difficult to be sure as we didn’t photograph the label.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania

Clearly Ducati’s 48 Sport but with pedals – startling but true. Built in the 1960s this 48cc beauty was capable of a claimed 50mph although this is academic when you see that wonderfully shaped tank and those drop handlebars; some even came with fairings. If only it was red.

Mallorcan Motorcycles - Moto Guzzi Hispania

No sooner said than done – a red Ducati was also present in the garage. I’m not sure what model it is as the tank is the wrong shape for an Elite and the rear suspension is wrong for the 175cc Turismo but then who cares? It’s splendid and that’s all that matters.

We did go back a few days later with my camera but regrettably the garage doors were closed and no one was at home. However I did discover there is a decent classic bike scene in Mallorca, especially in Palma, so if anyone out there is reading this then please get in touch. I’d really like to come back and take some better photos of the machinery on the island.


Like this page? Share it with these buttons:

Home


More Guzzis on Right Now...

Bikes | Features | Events | Books | Tech | Magazine | About | Messages | Classified | Links

More Bike Profiles...


RedLeg Interactive Media

© 2002 The Cosmic Motorcycle Co. Ltd / Redleg Interactive Media

You may download pages from this site for your private use. No other reproduction, re-publication, re-transmission or other re-distribution of any part of this site in any medium is permitted except with the written consent of the copyright owner or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.