Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
RC600 - 1989
Return of a legend
Founded by Count Giuseppe Gilera in 1909, Gilera is one of the great names of motorcycling, laden with sports honors in all fields from racing to enduro. But in the face of the Japanese competition, it sat tight waiting for better clays. The huge Italian Piaggio group bought Gilera, giving it a new lease on life. A notable venture, revealed at the end of 1989, is the RC600.
High-Tech Power Unit
Gilera has always designed and built its own engines, and the RC600 power unit, designed by Lucio Masut and developed by Federico Martini, is no exception. A fine product incorporating more high-tech features than its rivals, it boasts twin overhead-camshafts driven by a cogged belt, four valves (two inlet, two exhaust) liquid cooling, balancing shaft, one-piece crankshaft, Nikasil cylinder and electric starting.
Up with the Leaders
This excellent engine is mounted in an equally impressive frame, with sophisticated suspension, a detachable rear section, an aluminum swing arm and disc brakes. The overall concept is well thought out and the striking design is squarely aimed at the class leader, the Honda Dominator. Moreover, the RC600's sport credentials are more deeply rooted, as was proved by the performance of the Gilera "Silhouette" evolution model in the 1989-90 Paris-Dakar Rally, where it was up with the class leaders among the works prototype twins.
Engine: 558cc (98x74mm) water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Power Rating: 48 hp @ 7250 rpm
Valves: twin overhead-camshafts; 4 valves
Fuel System: carburetor
Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive
Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swing arm with twin spring/dampers (rear); travel
11 inch (front); 10.25 inch (rear)
Brakes: disc (rear)
Wheels: 21 inch (front); 17 inches (rear)
Weight: 340 lb
Maximum Speed: 95 mph
Though it looks like an elegant trail bike, beneath the skin the Gilera RC600 is a full-blooded enduro racer.