An anchor hardly seems to be an appropriate part of a motorcycle company’s emblem, but for Rumi it made sense. Originally formed in the early 1900s to produce cast metal products such as propellers, during WW II it turned to armaments manufacture including miniature submarines, periscopes and torpedoes.
After the war Donnino Rumi (the founder’s son and a noted artist and sculptor) diversified the company’s products to include dough mixers, textile machinery and, from 1950, an individualistic range of 125cc twin-cylinder tw0-stroke motorcycles and scooters, all powered by the same basic engine designed by Pietro Vassena. This engine was the first (in a motorcycle) to employ alloy barrels with a chrome plated bore and expansion chamber exhausts (in a rather basic form).
At the top of the range in the early ‘50s was the factory race team’s Gobbettos (Hunchback). These were built in three versions: Series 1, 1st type (1951-52) had a flywheel magneto and cast iron cylinders; Series 1, 2nd type (1952) had an external, chain-driven magneto and alloy cylinders. Series 2 (1953-55) had the same motor as the previous model but fitted with a new frame and tank. Rumis were highly competitive and won their class in the Bol d’Or 24 Hour race in 1957, ’58 & ’60.
This Series 1, 2nd type bike has the correct, original motor and frame and nearly all original parts and is one of only two Series 1 bikes known to still exist.
As befitting a design commissioned by a sculptor, the engine cases are a thing of beauty (these shots are of a 1950 125 Tursimo but all the models were the same). Both bikes were photographed in San Francisco.
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