Gilera is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer which was founded in in 1909 by Giuseppe Gilera. In 1935, Gilera acquired patents to the Rondine four-cylinder engine. In its time, it was the worlds most powerful engine with 45 kW (60 hp). To help keep the engine in top shape, make sure you have a handy Gilera service manual.
The 1939 Gilera 500 Rondine, was the first across-the-frame 4-cylinder motorcycle was the racer. It had a forced-inducting supercharger and was water-cooled, double-overhead camshafts, and produced 60 kW (80 hp) @9000 and had a top speed of 140 mph (230 km/h). This was the basis for Gilera' s racing bikes for nearly forty years. From the mid-1930s, Gilera developed a range of four-stroke engine machines. The most famous being the 1939 Saturno. Gilera came under the ownership of the Piaggio group in 1969.
After World War II, Gilera dominated the Grand Prix motorcycle racing circuit. Creating, such machines on which former World Champion rider Geoff Duke had much success on. The team was now planning to challenge the reigning champion Mike Hailwood on the MV. They experienced early successes with riders Derek Minter and John Hartle at Silverstone.
In May 1963, Minter suffered severe injuries while racing a Norton at Brands Hatch. Phil Read, who came third replaced him. The team only raced for one season.
Minter arranged to ride the Gileras in 1966, at the TT. However, he was unsuccessful due to the fact he crashed during the last practice before race-week. He broke his left wrist which ending racing for him for the rest of the race season. The bikes were raced at Brands Hatch later that year. And if you ever find yourself having to work on one of these motorcycles, having a Gilera workshop manual can make the job go more smoothly.