Malaguti is one of the few old Italian manufactures to have survived and up until recently was still in family hands. The company was established in the early 1930s by Antonio Malaguti to produce bicycles but didn’t add motors to them until 1949.
The range of mopeds, small capacity motorcycles and scooters grew until, by the mid ‘70s, it was the country’s third largest producer. The company ceased trading in 2011 but was revived by the Austrian KSR Group in 2018 with a range of 125 cc four-stoke bikes, a 300 cc scooter was also unveiled.
Historically the company had concentrated their efforts on small motorcycles, principally for the youth market. In Italy that meant “sport mopeds” – not words that are normally found together! However the bike mad youngsters of the ‘70s craved a machine they could emulate their GP heroes on, hence the growth of 50 cc mopeds with clip-ons, rear sets and race seats.
The Italian registration rules had been changed in 1972 to limit 16-year-olds to pedal equipped 50 cc bikes. A rash of rule bending sports mopeds quickly appeared as a result! This situation lasted until 1977 when the authorities changed the rules again to limit top speeds to 50 km/h.
Wish we had those rules in Australia!
In fact we did, and in WA we still do!
In Australia some states had similar rules and, in fact, the editor of this esteemed motorcycle news service started his riding career on a 50 cc Motobecane moped under Western Australia’s R-N category of licencing, which still prevails today. That’s right, lucky young Western Australian kids can still get a learners permit for a 50 cc at 15-and-a-half and go for their licence at 16, just as Trev did back as a 16-year-old in 1988. Word has it that he broke three number plates off the back of his moped doing wheelies….
Anyway, let’s get back to Italy and the Malaguti.
In Italy during the 70s Yamaha’s FS1 was highly popular but for those who could afford (or whose parents could afford), to spend almost three-times the FS1’s price, Malaguti’s Olympique was the model to aim for!
Powered by a 49 cc 6.5 hp at 8500 rpm Franco Morini two-stroke, the Olympique was good for 100 km/h. The 1975 V5 version seen here had a five-speed gearbox and was also available with an optional fairing to complete the race look.
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