The Big Car Database

Garelli Motorcycles

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


Joint-stock company
Industry Motorcycle
Founded 1919
Founder Adalberto Garelli
Headquarters Italy

Key people

Sesto San Giovanni, CEO
Products Motorcycles & Scooters


At age 22, Adalberto Garelli received a degree in engineering and dedicated his work to developing and perfecting the two-stroke engine for Fiat. Garelli quit in 1911 due to Fiat's lack of enthusiasm for the two-stroke engine. He continued his own engine design between 1911 and 1914 which resulted in the 350 cc split-single cylinder engine. 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 km (520 mi) 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.

Racing history

In the early 1980s, Garelli dominated the 125 class in Grand Prix motorcycle racing winning six consecutive world championships between 1982 and1987.

MotoGP World Championship

Garelli won the following World Titles:

  • 125 cc class; :
Year Champion Motorcycle
1982  Ángel Nieto  
1983  Ángel Nieto  
1984  Ángel Nieto  
1985  Fausto Gresini  
1986  Luca Cadalora  
1987  Fausto Gresini  

MotoGP World Constructors champions

  • 125 cc class
    • 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987