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Founded 1919
Defunct 1991
Location Italy

Garelli Motorcycles is an Italian moped, and motorcycle manufacturer. It was founded in 1919 by Alberto Garelli.

Garelli 350 cc 1919
Garelli 350 cc 1919

At age 22, Adalberto Garelli received a degree in engineering and dedicated his work to developing and perfecting the 2-stroke engine for Fiat. Garelli quit in 1911 due to Fiat's lack of enthusiasm for the 2-stroke engine. He continued his own engine design between 1911 and 1914 which resulted in the 350 cc split-single. Garelli worked for other motorcycle manufacturers from 1914 to 1918 during which time he won a competition organized by the Italian Army to design a motorcycle with which he used his 350 cc split-single engine.

In 1919, Garelli constructed a 350 cc motorcycle which set a long distance record from Milan to Naples. Rider Ettore Girardi covered the 840 kilometers with an average of 38.29 km/h (24 mph). Many famous Italian racers such as Ernesto Gnesa, Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi began their racing careers on Garelli bikes. The Garelli 350 cc split-single stayed in production until 1926 and made a major impact in racing. The company also produced motorcycles for the Italian military. After World War II, Garelli concentrated on producing smaller bikes and mopeds for the European market.

In the early 1980s, Garelli dominated the 125 class in Grand Prix motorcycle racing winning six consecutive world championships between 1982 and 1987.


Garelli City Bike 1972
Garelli City Bike 1972
Garelli Cross 1968
Garelli Cross 1968

Tiger Cross/Tiger Cub (5 speed, capable of 58 mph)

Record (5 speed, capable of 58 mph)

These models could carry 2 people and with one person could reach a speed of 58 mph (93 km/h), unheard of before or since for a moped. However, continuous use at high speeds meant very limited engine life expectancy. They have been very popular in Europe, especially UK in the late 1960s and 70's, during the new motorcycle craze. Since it had pedal arms and pedals connected to a crank, it was classified as a moped and it could be legally ridden by a 16-year-old. These pedals, although operational, were functionally useless. It was just a loophole in the law for 16-year-olds to ride the next best thing to a motorcycle.