Gilera name set to return with 900cc bike from China

The legendary Italian brand could be on the way back thanks to Zongshen-Piaggio. 

Zongshen-Piaggio 900cc motor.

GILERA, the historic Italian motorcycle manufacturer, could be on its way to revival courtesy of the partnership between Zongshen and Piaggio.

Gilera’s return looks to be in the form of a 900cc bike resulting from the Italian-Chinese collaboration. 

Insella reports that the Gilera name was applied to the cover of a 900cc V-twin engine patented by Zongshen-Piaggio.

Insella also says that the engine shares its architecture with the motor used by one of Piaggio’s subsidiaries, Aprilia, in the Noale marque’s Shiver model from 2007. The Aprilia Shiver was originally a 750, but the motor was expanded to a 896cc version later on. 

The Gilera name also appeared with Zongshen-Piaggio at the 2021 China International Motorcycle Trade Exhibition, when Zongshen presented its concept of the Cyclone RA9 (pictured above). Insella says that the Cyclone’s engine was not dissimilar to the one which Zongshen-Piaggio now expects to be in production models by the end of the year. Additionally, the Cyclone RA9 shares a frame design similar to that of Aprilia’s Dorsoduro.

This collaboration bares similarities with that of KTM and CFMoto, whose 1250 TR-G is apparently set to hit Europe in the future, where the Chinese brand benefits from the historical experience and technology of the European brand while capitalising on its own access lower labour costs and to an expanding Chinese motorcycle market, and one that is increasingly interested in larger capacity bikes. 

With that in mind, it is interesting to note the recent news of QJMotor’s 700cc sports bike that is reportedly also on its way to Europe. The styling of the QJMotor 700 is distinctively modelled on that of successful sports bikes of established brands, such as the Honda CBR1000RR and Ducati Panigale V4. 

Considering the stylistic Aprilia references of the Cyclone, perhaps it is possible to infer that something similar might be true of the aesthetics of the anticipated return of Gilera.

Images courtesy of Insella.