Gilera Saturno Piuma Corsa
With Phil Aynsley
Gilera debuted its new Bialbero (DOHC) single cylinder engine in 350cc form fitted in the 1985 Dakota trail bike. This was followed, two years later, by a 492cc version as used in the Nuovo Saturno road bike.
Gilera officially returned to racing (after a break of some 30 years) in July 1989 with a modified version of the Nuovo Saturno ridden by Alan Cathcart at Monza in the Sound of Singles class, later to become the Super Mono series.
He won and this encouraged Gilera’s new Technical director Federico Martini (ex Bimota co-founder) to design a dedicated race version.
During 1990-1991 a batch of 50 (with one additional bike later being built from spare parts) Saturno Piuma (Feather) Corsa machines were constructed in the Gilera race department.
The capacity was increased to 569cc (with a few 620cc bikes made available to factory supported riders) and a completely new alloy twin spar frame was employed.
A 41.5mm Dell’Orto carburettor was fitted, with larger valves, a higher compression ratio, competition camshafts and close-ratio five speed gearbox were used.
Only 16 of these bikes are believed to have survived, boasting 58hp at 8500rpm and a dry weight of 121kg. The top speed was 215km/h.