Top 10 Bikes in Italy
The automotive industry is an ever-growing market with colossal revenue generation and economic progress for a country. Bikes are one of the most popular means of transportation. Every motorcycle enthusiast’s ambition is to acquire a superbike, and its incredible peak speeds and acceleration are one of the main reasons for this.
Italian motorcycles are one of the most reputable bikes amongst riders worldwide. When discussing Italy’s top 10 Bikes brands, we often consider various aspects of Bike companies that deal with manufacturing, design, and sports development and production.
In this article, we will be looking at the best Bikes brands and top speeds and acceleration Bike brands in Italy so that you can have a bird’s eye view of the current scenario and will be able to gauge the future of the automotive industry in the coming eras.
The top 10 Italy Bikes are discussed below-
1. MV Agusta
Famous for its domination of top-level motorcycle racing in the 1950s and 1960s, MV Agusta also produced some of the most exotic road motorcycles.
Much like Ferrari, MV was guided by a patriarchal figurehead (in this case, Count Domenico Agusta) and had a passion for racing, first and foremost. With riders like Giacomo Agostini, Carlo Ubbiali, Phil Read, Mike Hailwood, and John Surtees, MV Agusta won 270 Grand Prix and 38 world titles.
The road bikes were noteworthy, too, but when Count Agusta died in 1970, the team lost its edge and could not keep up with the new generation of two-stroke machines from Suzuki and Yamaha. Production slowed up too and finally ended in 1980.
Cagiva revived the brand in 1991 and gave the world the gorgeous F4. Several ownership changes have occurred since then, but the modern company has found some stability, building high-quality sports bikes that provide a viable alternative to Ducati.
Notable models: 750 Sport America, 750 GT, F4
Without a doubt, the most famous Italian motorcycle manufacturer today, Ducati, started as a radio component manufacturer in the 1920s before moving to motorcycling in the post-war years.
The tiny Cucciolo, their first machine, was a motorized bicycle sold in the hundreds of thousands, and Ducati soon moved into making bigger bikes.
The 1960s saw the introduction of the desmodromic valve train design with which they would become synonymous, and in the 1970s, they came out with the 90-degree V-twin engine that would make them famous.
Racing has also been a huge marketing tool for Ducati at various times. The world superbike championship, introduced in 1988, gave the company a platform to showcase its prowess. The 916 series 1994, combined with Carl Fogarty’s riding, moved them from being a niche player to a super-desirable brand and has set them on a path that continues today.
Notable models: Mach 1, 900SS, 851, 916, Desmosedici RR
Aprilia is a relative newbie in the world of motorcycle manufacturing. The Noale bicycle company started dabbling in motorcycles in the late 1960s, but a decade later, it was already a top manufacturer of motocross machines.
The 1980s saw Aprilia make inroads into the road bike market, building dazzling machines, particularly the 125cc AF1 sports bike. The 1990s were a spectacular time for Aprilia in racing, dominating the 125cc and 250cc Grands Prix classes and becoming synonymous with Italian icon Max Biaggi. More recently, they also won the Superbike World Championship.
These days, the company has been absorbed into the vast Piaggio concern and has a broader range of products than ever before, while some of the 1990s and early 2000s metal have ‘future classic’ written all over them.
Notable models: RS250, Moto 6.5, RSV Mille
4. Moto Guzzi
Founded in 1921, Guzzi is one of the first-generation Italian motorcycle manufacturers.
Moto Guzzi was active in racing in the 1950s, winning five 350cc world championships between 1953 and 1957, and created one of the most iconic racers of all time with the short-lived V8 streamliner, which entered the 500cc championship between 1955 and 1957.
The company is most famous for its V-twin engines, which are transversely mounted and feature shaft drives. First introduced on the 1967 V7, models have ranged from commuters to the California cruiser and the sleek Le Mans sports bike. Today, the brand is part of the Piaggio stable, and the updated air-cooled V-twin is used on every single model in the current Moto Guzzi range, giving them a real character no other manufacturer can match.
Notable models: Le Mans, California, V7, MGS-01 Corsa
Bimota was founded in 1973 by Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri, and Massimo Tamburini. Their surnames were used as portmanteau to name the company – Bianchi Morri Tamburini. Bimota started as a niche company, producing high-quality body parts and assembling them with pre-produced engines from other manufacturers. They have also cooperated with reputable motorcycle brands such as Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki. Their first international racing success was achieved during the eighties when Jon Ekerold won the 350cc world championship, riding the Bimota with a Yamaha engine. During the 2000 World Superbike season, one of the leading sponsors of Bimota disappeared with a massive debt to the company, forcing Bimota to file for bankruptcy. Fortunately, a new group of investors came and kick-started the company, but in 2017 they closed the factory in Rimini. In 2019, Kawasaki Heavy Industries purchased 49% of the stake in the company and announced their goal to produce Bimota motorcycles with Kawasaki parts.
Their latest model, KB4 (KB stands for Kawasaki Bimota), has 140 horsepower, a dry weight of 186 kg, and a wheelbase of 1389 mm. This retro-inspired model has a displacement of 1043 cm3 and a top speed of 250 km/h.
Notable models: HB1, YB4ei, Tesi, V Due, SB8R
Benelli is one of the oldest Italian manufacturers, producing its first motorcycle in 1919.
In the early years, the company made some innovative products, including a 250cc, four-cylinder supercharged race bike in 1939, only for the war to intervene. Like many (most?) Italian manufacturer Benelli has suffered tumultuous years since World War Two – leading to several direction changes.
Benelli is most famous for dabbling with its six-cylinder engines in the 1970s. Under the ownership of Argentine industrialist Alejandro de Tomaso, who also owned Moto Guzzi and his eponymous sportscar company, the Benelli Sei (six) range was the first production six-cylinder motorcycle – guaranteed to give them classic status.
Production stopped in 1988, and it would be over a decade before Andrea Merloni (owner of the Indesit washing machine brand) revived the company with a three-cylinder model, the Tornado Tre.
Despite high hopes and a factory world superbike team, the Tornado was a flop, and the brand fell again. These days, it’s under Chinese ownership, on the comeback trail with a range of tidy-looking mid-range twins. Whether they succeed in the long term remains to be seen, but the relative rarity of the brand, as well as the exciting engineering, will see interest in the older bikes rise in the coming years.
Notable models: 500 Quattro, 900 Sei, Tornado Tre 900
Milan’s Lambretta was another product built to get Italy moving after the Second World War.
Made by Innocenti, the scooters first went on sale in 1947 and gained a cult following, especially here in the UK, where they became the vehicle of choice of the Mods. This popularity ensures that Lambrettas remain a common sight today, especially at the many rallies each summer.
British Leyland briefly owned Innocenti in the early 1970s and ended scooter production to free up production capacity for small cars. Innocenti has licensed the name out to fashion brands in recent years, but a prototype scooter was shown at the Milan motorcycle show a few years back, suggesting a revival may well be on the cards.
Notable models: GP125, SX150, TV200
Like many Italian manufacturers, Laverda came into motorcycles in the post-World War Two years as they looked to diversify and tap into the growing demand for personal transport.
Laverda had made engines for agricultural equipment and made its first motorcycle in late 1949.
The company made its mark in the 1970s when it became famous for high-performance bikes. In 1968, they brought out a 650cc and 750cc parallel twin, with performance surpassing the British Nortons and Triumphs of the time. The bikes were well-engineered but heavier than other bikes on the market. However, reliability was a big thing for Laverda, and they had great success in endurance racing with the faired SFC, one of the most desirable motorcycles of the time.
Like Triumph and BSA, Laverda came out with a triple in the late 1960s. The 3C was an 85bhp bruiser, while the UK distributor developed the brutal Jota with 5bhp more and a 145mph top speed to make it the fastest production bike in the world when launched in 1976.
Around this time, Laverda also developed its mythical V6 endurance racer, which retired from the 1977 Bol d’Or but was abandoned after six-cylinder machines were banned from endurance racing.
The company went to the wall in 1985, and terrible reliability problems hindered a brief revival in the 1990s from a range of bikes using developments of the old air-cooled twins in a Dutch-designed chassis.
These days, the Piaggio group owns the brand but remains dormant.
Notable models: Jota, 750 SFC, Alpino
9. Moto Morini
Moto Morini, another brand in the middle of a comeback, is another Italian manufacturer with a chequered past.
Founded in 1925, the company made small sporty bikes between the wars. After World War Two, the company reopened with 175cc machines that were among the most sophisticated.
Morini’s golden years were arguably in the 1970s when they introduced the 3½ models, a range of sporty 350cc V-twins latterly joined by 500cc versions. Although expensive compared to more extensive and powerful rivals, the Morinis were known for their excellent handling. The company was bought by Cagiva but was wound down as they focussed on the Ducati brand.
A revival came in 2004 and lasted seven years before bankruptcy struck. These days, Moto Morini is under Chinese ownership, and recently, a range of 650cc models was announced as they look to enter the mainstream for arguably the first time.
Notable models: Corsaro, 3½ Sport, Dart
Italy’s most successful two-wheeled manufacturer doesn’t make sexy superbikes but a range of humble scooters and mopeds.
The Piaggio company created the Vespa (which translates as Wasp) in 1946 and, after a slow start, sold over 16 million examples.
Although designed as a humble runaround, the Vespa proved to be a machine that proved popular across the classes – helped in no small part by Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn scooting around Rome on one in the 1952 movie Roman Holiday.
These days, Vespa has established itself as a design classic. Like its contemporary four-wheeled brethren, such as the Mini, Fiat 500, and Volkswagen Beetle, the Vespa has been reimagined for the modern era, with a whole range of models sharing the same loose design of the 1940s originals but with thoroughly modern technology.
Notable models: Rally 180, PK 50, PX 200, T5
Now that you’re familiar with the list of the top ten fastest motorcycles in Italy and some of their notable qualities, selecting the bike you want to buy is easier.
The top Italian bike brands listed here are some of the most durable. These are the brands to consider if you’re looking for a Bike that will last you for years. So this list is of legendary bikes that are champions in their titles, reaching the pinnacle of performance and earning eternal fame.
Read also: Top 10 Bikes in Italy.