Part of the Piaggio empire since 1969, Gilera introduced a glittering array of new models during the 1980s. The majority of these were small-capacity 2 stroke lightweights but then in 1985 Gilera introduced a completely new 4 stroke – the 350cc Dakota trail – powered by a state-of-the-art, water cooled, 4 valve single. A 492cc version followed in 1987 and this larger engine was used for the first Saturno, a model commissioned by Japanese trading house C Itoh. Taking its name from Gilera’s famous 500cc single of the 1940s, the new Saturno boasted a steel trellis frame, aluminium-alloy swinging-arm, Marzocchi suspension, Brembo brakes and Marvic hollow-spoke wheels. Conceived as a modern-day cafe-racer and finished in Italian Racing Red, the single seater Saturno was devoid of unnecessary frills and boasted a commendably low dry weight of around 300lbs. With a max power output of 45bhp and a top speed of more than 110mph, the Saturno was reckoned a first-rate track-day machine by those fortunate enough to own one: manufacture ceased in 1991.

Years: 1987-1991
Production: 1100
Design: Sandro Colombo
Provenience: CMM Collezione Motociclistica Milanese



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