The Fairest of Them All — Gilera Saturno

4 Май 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи The Fairest of Them All — Gilera Saturno отключены
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500






In 1936, a of declining Italian motorcycle a new sport category of motorcycle is (Clubman). The formula is simple: are allowed to compete if at last units per year are produced and The motorbikes must be produced all the necessary parts and accessories for street use, such as electrical system with lights, horn, a centerstand or and an exhaust muffler.

In addition, the must be able to be registered and The main motorcycle producing at the time accepted the new formula enthusiasm, quickly realizing the sport category could out to be the best marketing promotion of most prestigious sporting In a few year’s victories in the sport turned out to have the largest sphere of influence.

The 500 class is the category. Battles take here with the twin cam the single cylinder single cam the famous Moto Guzzi and the much-celebrated Gilera VTGSE, in the period of 1938-39 collected one hundred victories.

At the Exhibition of in 1938, the Arcore Gilera presented a Special VTE expressly for these types of races. The engine is totally enclosed the distribution pushrods hidden the cylinder finning, the gearbox and the are in one piece and the three gear transmission is enclosed in an unusually engine case.

The design of unit can be considered the prototype of the of the future Saturno. This is attributed to the engineer Giuseppe a true specialist of fast When he joined Gilera, already had considerable experience his belt from Sarolea (a Belgian motorcycle factory of the

Utilizing the engine of the “eight as a base (the VTGS was so due to the number of studs that the cylinder to the cases), Salmaggi the Saturno. The new engine keeps the from the “eight bolts”, the and … and the distribution with the valves actuated by pushrods and The gearbox, however, becomes of the engine block, the primary consisting of a pair of enclosed in an unmistakable egg-shaped engine

With a true … of Salmaggi integrates the canalization for the lubrication of the head inside the for the pushrods. This gives of a new term and the Gilera Saturno is baptized and thereafter advertised as a (hermetic) engine.

The start of War II however, impedes the Arcore in bringing forth the development of the All the branches of the military establishment require engines with valves. To meet such Gilera quickly develops the reserved for the armed forces.

The comes in a unit with the and a driveshaft. Foreseeing other a secondary transmission is designed a transversal driveshaft to transmit to the third wheel of a sidecar.

The “Marte” will accompany the infantry to all the war fronts, often themselves to be more agile and often bettering their counterparts.

At the end of hostilities, Italy was in and during the reconstruction effort the of the utility motorcycle exploded. Mosquito, Ducati Cucciolo, and Piaggio Vespas quickly their production to satisfy the for motorized transportation to replace the of bicycles used up to that From bicyclists, Italians motorcyclists.

Gilera restarted the Saturno, originally designed in by the engineer Giuseppe Salmaggi and two years later, soon the becomes, the most sought motorcycle by the sporting privateer of the time.

Its antagonist, the Guzzi will not see the light of day until In the four years period of to 1950, Gilera produces 5000 units of the Saturno in the and Sport versions. This was a considerable number at a time not many could afford the to purchase such a motorcycle.

The rear suspension is unique, the spring coils are placed in a tube which is the continuation of the frame,

The friction dampers are between the lower rear and the end of the tubes containing the suspension The rear fender is also to these tubes.

At the front, forks will continue late 1950, when a leading hydraulic telescopic designed by Gilera will them in 1951, the front brake will be replaced by a central aluminum hub.

In 1952 the frame becomes tubular and the classic rear system is adopted using hydraulic shock absorbers, the oil capacity is increased from 2 to 2.5 to improve lubrication. The maximum is reduced to increase dependability and to over stressing the engine

We have chosen just version to illustrate the legendary

The photographed unit is a Sport from 1953 and represents in a sense, the apex of elegance and during the evolution of the long of the Saturno.

In 1956, the Saturno is revised and modified. Ignition is now by with automatic spark and the exhaust is a single Abarth an expansion chamber followed by the

This period becomes the song for the glorious single Arcore as it finally ceases a couple of years later beginning the start of a legend.

rival of the Guzzi Falcone, the counted on its excellent acceleration, with a very precise and gear change to beat the

On long distances, however, the was not as dependable which allowed to have the upper hand. Yet the took its revenge on the fast where its excellent handling was a advantage.

Starting was fast and if the tuning was correct there was no to use the compression release valve. Its and mechanical noise were During takeoffs from it was advisable not to ride the clutch it grabbed easily; too bad since the gearbox, quick and precise admirable takeoffs.

Maximum was on par with the competition, 135 Km/h. The was also available in competition and renamed Sanremo in memory of its winning appearance on the Ligurian The Sanremo, light, easy to and with excellent braking became the King of the most and concentration-requiring racetracks.

But this is story that merits its own space in one of the future issues of Bike.

In conclusion, the Tourismo and version of the Saturno can be said to been a part of the story of the years of the Italian motorcycle This is where engineer’s was challenged by a seemingly inexhaustible of new ideas for motorcycle improvements. of a very high technical were implemented, a fine is the unforgettable Gilera Saturno.

Eugenio Piazza


Of all the motorcycles that been used by various branches, the Military Saturno was the sought after model at auctions.

There used to be a when, with little it was possible to acquire motorcycles in condition, never used or exclusively in parades. This source is no longer available and parts can usually found at bike swap meets and Be weary however, of shady that will have no to rip people off, especially the competition parts of motorcycles prices have soared.

The versions are more affordable but are hard to find.


The Saturno, by the engineer Giuseppe Salmaggi, was in 1938. At the Milan Exposition of year, the VTE Speciale displayed is the first prototype.

It’s the “official” version of the Saturno. in very few units, it had a frame under the bottom of the engine; the is aluminum, the cylinder in cast The wheels are 19 inches in diameter.

right after the end of the war, it was by the open frame below the engine. The gasoline tank was red chromed inserts or completely with gold pinstriping. and cylinder were in cast

The engine was capable of developing a of 18 horsepower at 4500 RPM.

The version was distinguishable from the by the lack of a luggage rack by a small seat to facilitate The engine head was aluminum and velocity reached was 135 km/h.

It was at the Milano Exposition and some novelties made it stand The forks were now telescopic (a in house development) with a leading front axle measured from the sliders The new full central hub front brake is cast in aluminum and the red gasoline tank with capacity now sports new knee

Sport 1952

The most technical innovation was that the was constructed completely with members and modified in the rear to hydraulic shock absorbers.

It’s the last version and a bit from the classical Saturno. out is the single Abarth muffler header pipe with bends. The muffler of questionable has two strange looking exhaust at the very rear of it.

The most characteristic of the Gilera Saturno is the so sealed or “hermetic” motor. A technical analysis of its details discover outstanding examples of development. Ahead of its time, as a its many technical solutions been readily copied.

Salmaggi developed a typical of the classic Italian school, the cylinder Gilera Saturno the late 1930’s. Even maintaining a design, at first similar to its predecessor featuring a gearbox (which passed history as the ‘Eight Bolt”), it some very advanced such as a massive unit

The first units destined for use (Saturno “Turismo”) were with a cast iron thereafter this component was to aluminum alloy for the sport where the valve seats and the guides are press fitted the aluminum.

The distribution by pushrods by rockers presents some of considerable interest, beginning the two camshaft lobes built in one with the driving gear.

The uses two hinged cam followers smooth arched surfaces actuate the two pushrods passing a cavity within the cylinder

On the top of the head two forged rocker actuate the valves. The two valves are towards each other at a angle and, curiously, identical diameters of 38 mm.

Closing valve are two strong hairpin facing each other. The port is fitted with a 28 mm RDF28 carburetor with float chamber. The chromed pipe as a diameter of 45 mm, it is held in to the exhaust port by a large aluminum nut.

It is interesting to that the police versions had cast iron heads the Sport and military versions had heads.

Gilera Saturno 500

The Saturno did exhibit 500 cc engine measurements (others adopted these characteristics the famous Vincent twins, the BSA B 50 and 4-cylinder 2000 cc Alfa the Saturno engine sports a but effective … dimension (90 mm the 84 mm bore dimension).

The combustion is of a perfectly hemispherical shape the “squish” area similar to engines of the time.) This has a rather large displacement keeping in mind that the ratio is only 5.5:1

The maximum power output is 18 HP to a specific power output of 36 and an average effective pressure of bar) obtained at 4500 rpm the average piston speed is m/sec.

The cast iron is well finned with a flange where it meets the Internally the aluminum piston is domed with four three compression at the top of the piston and one oil at the bottom of the piston skirt the pin; the piston is connected to the rod with a floating pin of 20 mm in diameter.

It is to note that this pin in the top end of the connecting rod without a bushing and contact with the steel.

The assembly is very traditional a crankshaft made up of five parts bolted together. The two flywheels are made of cast and each shaft is held in by a taper fit held securely by a Furthermore, to couple the crankshaft to the an identical system is employed to the crankpin.

The 180 mm long steel-forged rod has a freely moving pin at the small the connecting rod big end spins on rollers and has a of 30 mm. The crankshaft assembly fits the two vertically split aluminum using a ball bearing on the side and a roller bearing on the side. An “auxiliary” bearing of dimensions is installed inside the side of the primary cover.

ball bearing support the end of the fitted with the small gear connected to the shock cam and spring.

The right side of the drives the camshaft and the magneto-dynamo by means of a gear train. A gear on the same shaft the vertical oil pump shaft the gear oil pump immersed in the

The dry clutch is composed of multiple and the cassette gearbox has four The forks moving a fulcrum featuring a grooved cam horizontally the gear trains mounted on the part of the right engine The cascading-type gearbox can easily be with the engine in place, no to resort to the separation of the two engine just like on modern bikes!

The ignition is by magneto and the forced is from a gear oil pump in the The frame is simple except for a lower open steel frame using the engine has a member.

The front suspension the telescopic fork introduced in 1950 replacing the girder while on the rear suspension is an oscillating swingarm with two shock absorbers. Both are of the drum type (the one has a diameter of 220 mm) and the aluminum wheels 19”. The wheelbase is 147 cm long and dry is 168 kg.


Unit construction four-cycle single cylinder with valves actuated by pushrods and arms.

Bore and Stroke: mm.

Engine Displacement: 498 cc.

Carburetor: 28 mm HDF28.

Ignition: Marelli with automatic spark

Primary Transmission: Straight-cut with a ratio of 47/88

Dry, multiple discs.

Four-ratio cassette type permanently engaged gears.

Tubular, open below

Front Suspension: Telescopic late 1950, replacing fork.

Rear Suspension: hydraulic shock absorbers 1951, replacing swingarm vertical levers connected to contained in horizontal tubes with frame.

Brakes: front drum (until 1950), thereafter full hub, 220 mm. In diameter. Rear 185 mm. In diameter.

Dimensions: wheelbase 147 cm; 210 cm; width 68 cm; height 103 cm.

Weight: 168 (from 1951 on).

by Jose L. Bartoli NYC, the Italian to English

Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500
Gilera Saturno 500


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