The Big Car Database

Minarelli Motorcycles

Minarelli is an Italian motorcycle engine manufacturer which was founded by Vittorio Minarelli. It is now part of the Yamaha group.


Industry Motorcycle manufacturing
Founded 1951
Founder Vittorio Minarelli
Headquarters Calderara di Reno, Italy

Area served



Minarelli was founded in Bologna in 1951 as a motorcycle manufacturer. In 1956 Minarelli switched to exclusively manufacturing two-stroke engines, in a 2000 square metre purpose-built factory. It employed 20 technical staff and produced 70 engines a day. These were sold to companies in Italy, other parts of Europe and South America.

In 1967 the company changed its name to Motori Minarelli and opened a new plant in Calderara di Reno. By the 1970s engine production had reached 250,000 units a year. Minarelli successfully competed in Grand Prix motorcycle racing with Spanish rider Ángel Nieto winning 125cc world championships in 1979 and1981.

The origins of Minarelli engines lie in the FBM (Fabbrica Bolognese Motori) founded in 1951 by Vittorio Minarelli and Franco Morini.

The first products are complete motorcycles, including the original Gabbiano (125cc) with a horizontal single-cylinder two-stroke engine, which makes Vampir, 200cc 4-stroke with four-speed gearbox and speed of 110 Km / h. Besides these complete motorcycles, in '54 they start producing engines from 48cc moped.

In 1956 it abandons the production of complete motorcycles and FBM concentrates all his energy in the production of two-stroke engines for mopeds and motorcycles. Also in '56 the two partners split up and Vittorio Minarelli founded FB Minarelli in a factory that occupies 2,000 square meters where, with twenty employees, you are able to produce, including agricultural and road destinations, up to 70 engines per day. From Bologna, the Minarelli engines take the road not only for Italy, for Europe and South America.

In 1967 Minarelli FB changes its name to Minarelli Engines and in the same year, he inaugurated what is still the main plant in Lippo di Calderara di Reno. The company continues to grow: in the 70s are produced in all media 'year 200,000 engines for two-wheelers and 50,000 for agricultural applications. Of those years are the great competitive results it is between '78 and '81 that the Minarelli Engines wins four brands titles and two drivers' titles in the World Cup speed races, the 125 cc., Some of them still unbeaten.

The 90s are characterized by collaboration with Yamaha. Thus began for the Minarelli engines 'the era of the scooter 50cc' who in '90 was joined to the traditional production of two-stroke engines with 50 and 125cc. 

In five years, the '91 to '95, the production levels of the company increased from 12,000 to 410,000 units, the workforce significantly increases from 162 to 350 employees. 

These were years of great satisfaction, the Minarelli Engines provides its thrusters to most European manufacturers MBK, Yamaha Motor España, Aprilia, Malaguti, Beta, etc. Rieju.

In recent years the two-wheeler market has undergone a significant decline due to competition from emerging countries, the market saturation of 'mopeds' and non-European economic situation; the Minarelli Engines has sought to diversify its products range launching in the production, most technologically advanced, of four-stroke engines of more capacities (125/180/250/270 cc for scooters and 660 cc 4 to injection valves for motorcycles).

Since 2002, the Minarelli Engines is part of the Yamaha Group, and the same is developing more and more advanced engines, in line with the challenges posed by globalization.

Motori Minarelli, like all Italian manufacturing companies, and European in general, It found itself having to face a complex world economic situation, and this has resulted in the need to question herself, trying to figure out what could be a correct strategy for the future.

Just think of the inauguration, in 2001, the new plant in the motor assembly, which was followed, in 2003, the new production line for 660 cc engines. Or rather the continuous development in terms of equipment and human resources, the Research and Development department, which benefits from the collaboration of Yamaha engineers, with their know-how. 

Ultimately, we can say that strength in numbers has been replaced by power of ideas, and where until recently it was simply a solid production structure, now require a quantum leap in terms of innovation and design.

This concept has been translated into practice in a widening range of products, increasingly turned to technologically advanced engines (Cycle 4-stroke, fuel injection), and an extension of the concept itself of its business, to auxiliary activities such as the supply of components to Yamaha factories all over the world, and marketing of complete engines manufactured by the Japanese.


In 1990 the company began a business relationship with Yamaha. Five years later it employed 350 people and engine production had reached 450,000 units a year. In 2002, following changes in the world motorcycle market, Motori Minarelli became a member of the Yamaha Group.