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Motobi Motorcycles

MotoBi Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Manufactured: 1949-1962 (and later by Benelli)

FAMOSA (Fabbrica Auto Motocicli Officine Strada Adriatica) was founded by Giuseppe Benelli who left the Benelli company as a result of a family disagreement.

The first model, built in 1950, was the 98 B, using an egg-shaped single-cylinder two-stroke engine with rear suspension of the balestrino style.

In 1952 Motobi announced a model named the Spring Lasting, a twin-cylinder 200cc two-stroke designed to challenge the Benelli Leonessa (Lioness) and which won a Milano-Taranto race.

In 1956 they built a series of motorcycles with four-stroke engines including the 125cc Imperiale and the Catria 175cc, the names honouring Pesaro locales.

Giuseppe Benelli died in 1957, and his heirs rejoined Benelli. The last MotoBi recognizable as such was a twin-cylinder two-stroke 250cc sports machine built in 1968.

The British market saw new Motobi mopeds and lightweights introduced in 1964 with 48cc engines and pressed-metal frames. They were quite attractive machines but did not fare well and were dropped by the UK distributors after just two or three years.

Motobi Motorcycles & Scooters

Model: B98 (Balestrino)

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 98cc

    Production Years: 1950

Model: B Super

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 115cc

    Production Years: 1951

Model: B100

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 98cc

    Production Years: 1952

Model: B Rurale Motofurgone

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 98cc

    Production Years: 1952

Model: B 115 Super

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 115cc

    Production Years: 1952

Model: B 125

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years: 1952

Model: B 200

    Engine: twin cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 195.4cc

    Production Years: 1952

Model: B 200 Spring Lasting Extra Lusso

    Engine: twin cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 195.4cc

    Production Years: 1953

Model: Ardizio Extra Lusso

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years: 1953

Model: Ardizio Turismo

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years: 1955

Model: Ardizio Sport

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years: 1955

Model: B 200 Spring Lasting Lusso

    Engine: twin-cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 195.4cc

    Production Years: 1955

Model: B 250 Spring Lasting Gran Sport

    Engine: twin cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 195.4cc

    Production Years: 1955

Model: Ardizio Standard

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years: 1956

Model: Ardizio Lusso

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years: 1956

Model: Catria Lusso 175

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 172cc

    Production Years: 1956

Model: Imperiale Standard

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years: 1957

Model: Imperiale Lusso

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years: 1957

Model: Catria 175 Sport

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 172cc

    Production Years: 1957

Model: Catria 175 Formula 3

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 172cc

    Production Years: 1958

Model: Catria Scooter

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 172cc

    Production Years: 1959

Model: Picnic 75

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 75cc

    Production Years:: 1960

Model: 1960 Catria Scooter

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 172cc

    Production Years:: 1960

Model: 1960 Ardizio 125

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years:: 1960

Model: 1961 Imperiale

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years:: 1961

Model: 1961 Catria 175

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 172cc

    Production Years:: 1961

Model: 1961 Imperiale Sport

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years:: 1961

Model: Catria 175 Sport
 (note that the Catria designation was used for both this motorcycle and for several scooters)

    Engine: single cylinder four-stroke

    Capacity: 172cc

    Production Years:: 1961

Model: 1962 Ardizio

    Engine: single cylinder twostroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years:: 1962

Model: 1962 Picnic 125

    Engine: single cylinder two-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years:: 1966

Model: 1963 200 Sprite

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 197.9cc

    Production Years:: 1963

Model: Cicloscooter 48 1963

Model: Motobi Sprint 48

50cc 1964-65 (The Sport Special 48 is very similar)

Model: Motobi Sport Special 48

50cc 1961-64

Model: 1966 125 Sprite America

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 245cc

    Production Years:: 1966

Model: 1966 125 Sprite America

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 245cc

    Production Years:: 1966

Model: 1966 250 Sprite

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 245cc

    Production Years:: 1966

Model: 1966 250 Sprite America

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 245cc

    Production Years:: 1966

Model: 1968 125 Sport Special

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 123cc

    Production Years:: 1968

Model: 1968 250 Sport Special

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 245cc

    Production Years:: 1968

Model: 1968 125 Scrambler

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 123.6cc

    Production Years:: 1968

Model: 1968 250 Scrambler

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 245cc

    Production Years:: 1968

Model: 1969 125 Sport Special

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 123cc

    Production Years:: 1969

Model: 1969 250 Sport Special

    Engine: single cylinder horizontal four-stroke

    Capacity: 245cc

    Production Years:: 1969


    The marque name was acquired in 1995 by Andrea Merloni who planned to build scooters under the MotoBi banner.

    Subsequently an Austrian company, Michael Leeb Trading GmbH, assumed the rights to the name and built a number of machines of 50 and 125cc named Imola, Pesaro Misano and Modena.

    Sources: MC Storico Conti, scooterdepoca.com, wikipedia.it, Museo Migliazzi et al

    If you have information to add about these classic Italian machines, please contact us

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