Historic Motorcycle Brands
FB Mondial was a motorcycle manufacturer, founded in 1929, in Milan, Italy. The brand is best known for its domination of Motorcycle World Championships between 1949 and 1957.
FB Mondial – FB stands for ‘Fratelli Boselli’ (Boselli Brothers) and ‘Mondial’ suggests ‘global’. Father of the entrepreneurial brothers – Luigi, Carlo, Ettore and Ada – was Giuseppe Boselli, an industrialist.
Initially, a workshop was opened for sales and service of GD motorcycles, but within a few months, it soon became clear that there was a market demand for a cheap and robust motorbike.
1949 FB Mondial 125cc Sport – Thesupermat
During his years as a competitive motorcyclist, Count Giuseppe Boselli had met Oreste Drusiani, a well-known engine builder and the pair struck a deal. It was in Oreste’s farm in Bologna that FB established its first production site.
FB expanded its production capability, but World War II intervened. The FB machinery survived bombings, but was commandeered by the military to aid in the War effort, putting production on hold.
The Drusiani and Boselli family collaboration continued after the War period and FB effectively relaunched in 1948.
1951 FB Mondial 125cc – SFO Museum
Mondial achieved early racing success, winning the first of what would become five World Championships in only the second year of production.
At a time when MV Agusta and Ducati produced economical, lightweight, two-stroke motorcycles, mopeds and scooters, Mondial was more of a boutique manufacturer, specialising in high-performance, small-displacement motorcycles.
Mondial focussed on higher-revving four-strokes, in contrast to the cheaper two-stroke competition, typically having its 125cc and 250cc race engines rev to more than 11,000rpm, thanks to gear-driven, twin overhead camshaft valve gear.
Much of the production of each motorcycle was done by hand, which kept output low, so production numbers typically ranged between 1000 and 2000 units per year.
1964 FB Mondial 125cc OHV Super Sportiva
In 1957, Soichiro Honda approached Mondial owner Count Boselli to purchase a Mondial race bike, with which the firm had just won several 125cc and 250cc world titles. Count Boselli gave Mr Honda a racing Mondial and Honda used this bike as a standard to which he aspired, in order to compete on a world-scale.
An original Mondial 125cc race bike is prominently displayed in Honda’s Motegi Collection Hall.
After the 1957 Grand Prix season, the Italian motorcycle manufacturers – Gilera, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta – announced that they would pull out of Grand Prix competition, citing increasing costs and diminishing sales. Mondial, despite ’s continued success, decide to join them.
1957 FB Mondial 250 GP bike Larry Stevens
That decision marked the beginning of a decline in popularity and sales for the Italian company and, in 1960, the last all-Mondial motorcycle left the factory.
After that, Mondial continued producing bikes, purchasing engines from proprietary makers. In this hybrid form, motorcycles with Mondial frames and ancillary parts, but non-Mondial engines, were produced by the factory for the next 19 years.
Mondial stopped production in 1979, until attempted rebirths nearly twenty years later.
However, two separate efforts to revitalise the legendary Mondial name have not achieved that, relying on bought-in engines and bade-engineered running gear.
2002 Mondial Piega
Mondial racing history
At the Isle of Man TT, Mondial took the 1951 Ultra Lightweight TT (125cc) title, with Cromie McCandless in the saddle. In 1957 Mondial scored a win in the Ultra Lightweight TT (125cc) with Tarquinio Provini riding and another win in the Lightweight TT (250cc) race, with rider Cecil Sandford.
The company produced some of the most advanced and successful Grand Prix road racers of the time, winning five rider and five manufacturer World Championships in that short period.
Mondial took the 125cc World Championship and Constructors’ Championship in 1949, 1950 and 1951. In 1957, Mondial took the riders’ and constructors titles again, in both 125cc and 25cc classes.
1957 FB Mondial 250 GP bike – Italian Ways