Gilera plans September unveiling for 600

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GILERA is expected to unveil a new 600cc sports bike at the Milan Show in September.

Italian scooter giant Piaggio, Gilera’s parent company, has confirmed plans to reveal its first big bike since the supermoto-style 600cc Nordwest was discontinued in 1994.

A company source refused to disclose details of the new model, but confirmed it would mark Gilera’s arrival as Piaggio’s motorcycle brand. The first step to associating the name with bikes is to run a Gilera-badged Derbi 125cc racer in GPs this year.

The new 600 will be the first of a whole range of Gilera motorcycles, which is also likely to include larger capacity superbikes.

The 600 is rumoured to be powered by an injected version of Suzuki’s 2000 GSX-R600 motor. Styling details may change before it is unveiled, but Gilera is already known in the scooter world for radical design. It used futuristic styling on its 50cc Ice and DNA scooters, and expect an equally distinctive look for the 600. The illustration here has come from a Spanish designer and is based on Gilera’s current styling trends.

The bike to be displayed in Milan will be a prototype and the firm will gauge public reaction at the Show before deciding whether to go into production. That means it is unlikely to go on sale in 2002, but could be available by 2003.

Piaggio makes more powered two-wheelers than any other European firm, which could help it keep the price down on the new bike.

Having an Italian bike without the premium price tag attached to other machines from the region would make it competitive with Japanese models. .

If successful, Gilera’s new range of bikes will strengthen Piaggio even more and help it add a share of the motorcycle market to its strong grip on the scooter sector.

Piaggio is also rumoured to be attempting to buy a share in MV Agusta, the group which owns Cagiva and Husqvarna. A spokes-man refused to confirm or deny the speculation, but said the firm plans to out-sell Japanese giants like Honda to gain the biggest share in the European two-wheeler market.

He said: " We will do this by buying other companies and by using development and technology. "

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff