To The Crusher: Gilera Nordwest

If ever there was a motorcycle built for the journalist, this was it.

Posted: 3 April 2008

If ever there was a motorcycle built for the journalist, this was it. It was attractive. Cue erections from half-drunk journos at the offical launch. It was a supermoto, before there really were supermotos - standby for journos penning that this machine was 'ahead of its time.' And it came from a marque with some real history behind it, Gilera.

Oh yes. Here it was. A machine which, along with the little race-replica GFR125 was to help fund both Gilera's 250GP race team and the building of bigger and better road bikes. Now, the GFR was a gem. But it was a little gem only, meaning that few people would buy it. This meant a lot was riding on the old Nordwest.

So what was it? Well, it was available from 1991 as an unofficial import, having as it did a plastic fuel-tank which was only made UK road-legal a couple of years later in 1993. It had a 558cc five-speed single motor, hanging in a spine frame. It weighed 140 kilos and produced 53bhp. It was just that every one of those bee aitch pees were the destructive kind that loved to shake rattle and roll the thing apart. Sure, owners loved it and to be fair it looked absolutely bomb. Problem is, it rode like one. Many just seemed to explode in a shower of engine parts as the big motor shook the living shit out of itself. Meanwhile electrics would be as rudimentary as anything Benjamin Franklin could lash up, batteries would be replaced more often than the Duracells in your Walkman, brakes would seize at the merest apparition of moisture and you could have one in any colour you like, as long as after six months of ownership you liked 'ferrous turd crush brown.'It was a shame. As it promised so much.

Remember we said it was a journos bike? Three bought one - a huge percentage when you tot up the few that were sold. Our very own Mark Graham bought one, as did ex-Bike editor Hugo Wilson and the same magazine's Dan 'derring-do derro' Walsh. What does that say? It says that us journos let our hearts rule our heads and know bugger-all about bikes. To the crusher!


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Discuss this story

Journo's bike??? I had one of these and I'm not a jou... Oh hang on. I love these bikes.

Posted: 25/06/2008 at 16:36

Subscriber only content? wtf? (I've not been on here much since the 'change' - now I see what everyone was moaning about )

Posted: 25/06/2008 at 18:52


Orb the Impaler wrote (see)
Subscriber only content? wtf? (I've not been on here much since the 'change' - now I see what everyone was moaning about )

Orb the Impaler wrote (see)
Subscriber only content? wtf? (I've not been on here much since the 'change' - now I see what everyone was moaning about )

Try using the search function for any recent thread Orb.

Posted: 25/06/2008 at 20:18

tbh its the first bit of subscriber content i've come across. When I subscribed they never told me what I got extra on this site

Posted: 25/06/2008 at 21:18

Can't read the subs-only content, but the Nordwest was a fun little bike.

Posted: 26/06/2008 at 14:20

oh god ,  subscribers ads ,whatever next , people chatting about bikes

Posted: 26/06/2008 at 14:25

Can't read the Subs only content, looks like it will be pay per view soon.

Regarding the Gilera Nord West, brilliant bike way ahead of it's time first of the production  Super motos. Problems with the Cam belt that was made from Cheese, had to be changed every 3 miles. A complete pig to start if you lesft it for a few days.

Great fun to ride, mine was a pink one.


Posted: 26/06/2008 at 14:46

I had a Blue one. Would have another if Bob Wright wasn't a complete bandit. Cam belt was an issue, as were fork seal and others bits and pieces, but for me it was perfect. Bought for £1500, owned for 5 years, sold minus tax and mot for £1400.

Posted: 26/06/2008 at 17:20

I had a pink one as well. It was fucking ace. I sold it to Orb the Impaler. Who then sold it back to me when I sold him my Triumph Tiger.

Posted: 27/06/2008 at 12:05

Hi

Had a go on one years ago. Great bike. Ultimatly not that quick, but 99% of the performance was easy to use. Great brakes.

Not really the first factory supermoto. Gilera had the 125 and 200 "Fast Bike" models in the mid 80s.

All the best

Keith


Posted: 27/06/2008 at 12:42

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