Historic Motorcycle Brands
Bianchi motorcycles were made from 1897 to 1967 by F I V Edoardo Bianchi SpA – today a major Italian bicycle manufacturer, who also produced automobiles from 1900 to 1939.
Bianchi was a prominent name in the motorcycle racing world from 1925 to 1930 and again in the post Word War II period.
Edoardo Bianchi started his bicycle manufacturing business in a small shop on Milan’s Via Nirone in 1885. He built a motorised bicycle in 1897 and a car in 1900.
1916 Bianchi 500 – Route Da Sogno
In 1903 he fitted engines in the centre of strengthened bicycle frames that in 1905 featured Truffault leading-link forks.
In 1910 Bianchi built a 498cc single that was very successful and established the Bianchi motorcycle name. In 1916 came a 650cc V-twin that was enlarged to 741cc in 1920.
In 1921 a smaller 598cc V-twin and a new 498 cc single with chain drive were released. There was a 348cc side-valve single for 1923 and V-twins of 498cc and 598cc.
In 1924 a 173 cc overhead valve single was added to the range and was followed by a 348 cc overhead valve (OHV) single.
1934 Bianchi 250z – Subito
There was also a 348cc dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) works racer, designed by Albino Baldi, who was Bianchi’s chief engineer and these Bianchis were the most successful Italian racing bikes for the next five years. Riders included Tazio Nuvolari, Amilcare Moretti, Mario Ghersi, Karl Kodric, Gino Zanchetta and Luigi Arcangeli.
In the 1930s Baldi designed a 498cc OHC single racing bike that was ridden by Giordano Aldrighetti, Aldo Pigarini, Terzo Bandini, Dorino Serafini, Guido Cerato and Alberto Ascari.
Bianchi MT 61
In 1938 a supercharged four cylinder 498cc DOHC racer was built, but was never fully developed.
During World War II Bianchi made many motorcycles, including the mil raised MT61.
Bianchi camshaft drive
In 1946 Edoardo died, and control of the firm passed to his son Giuseppe.
After World War II Bianchi produced 123cc and 248cc OHC single-cylinder racers, and in the late 1950s released a new DOHC, 248cc twin, designed by Colombo and Lino Tonti, but it proved heavy, so it was enlarged to 348cc. There were also a few bored-out 498cc works versions for 500cc class races.
Bianchi 175 Tonale DS – Bat Motorcycles
The 350 proved to be very fast and Ernesto Brambilla led the four-cylinder MV Agusta in its first race, but had carburettor issues. Brambilla and Rob McIntyre scored placings in 1960/61, with McIntyre’s second to Gary Hocking’s MV at Assen being the best result.
In 1962/63 the 350 twin was the fastest two-cylinder racing bike in the world.
1954 Bianchi Bianchina 125cc – Classic Motorcycles
Bianchi’s production motorcycles included the 75 Gardena, 122 and 173cc two strokes, the four-stroke 125cc Bianchi Bernina LV and the Bianchi Tonale, 173cc chain-drive OHC single.
Some 49cc, two-stroke engines were built under licence from Puch and were fitted into the Falco, one- or two-seat moped. This daily transport featured a one piece, pressed girder frame and three speed gearbox, operated via the left hand clutch lever.
1960 Bianchi Bernina 125 – LeeCarson
Small mopeds made by Bianchi were imported by American retailer Montgomery Ward and sold under the Riverside import brand, along with imported Benellis.
Motorcycle production ceased in 1967, when all rights passed to Innocenti. Bianchi continues to be a leading maker of bicycles.