Gilera is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer. The company was founded in Arcore in 1909 by Giuseppe Giler. In 1969, the company was bought by Piaggio.
In 1935, Gilera acquired the rights to the Rondine four-cylinder engine. At the time, it was the most powerful engine in the world with 45 kW (60 HP).
The first four-cylinder motorcycle to be mounted behind the frame was the 1939 Gilera 500 Rondine. It had double overhead camshafts, supercharged forced induction, and was water-cooled, producing 60 kW (80 hp) at 9,000 and a top speed of 140 mph (230 km / h). It formed the basis of Gilera racing machines for nearly forty years.
From the mid-1930s, Gilera developed a series of machines with four-stroke engines. The engines were between 100 and 500cc, the most famous of which was the 1939 Saturno. Designed by Giuseppe Salmaggi, the Saturno was inspired by the pre-war Gilera VTEGS 500cc "Otto Bulloni" model, but was completely different due to the unit's design.
After retiring from the competition in 1957, Gilera sharply changed direction. They began to focus on motocross and off-road events in collaboration with an independent specialist Elmec. Sales fell in the 1960s.
In 1969, Gilera became part of the Piaggio group.
In 1992, Gilera returned to the Grand Prix arena, and Piaggio continues to produce small displacement motorcycles under the Gilera name. The famous Arcore factory closed in 1993 and motorcycles (scooters only) bearing the Gilera name are now manufactured by Piaggio in Pontedera.