Gilera is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer founded in Arcore in 1909 by Giuseppe Gilera. In 1969 the company was purchased by the Piaggio & Co. SpA — which now holds six marques and is the world’s fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer.
In 1935 Gilera acquired rights to the Rondine four-cylinder engine. This formed the basis for Gileras racing machines for nearly forty years. From the mid-thirties Gilera developed a range of four-stroke engine machines. The engines ranged from 100 to 500cc, the most famous being the 1939 Saturno.
After World War II, Gilera dominated Grand Prix motorcycle racing, winning the 500cc road racing world championship 6 times in 8 years. Facing a downturn in motorcycle sales due to the increase in the popularity of automobiles after the war, Gilera made a gentleman’s agreement with the other Italian motorcycle makers to quit Grand Prix racing after the 1957 season as a cost cutting measure.
In 1969 Gilera became part of the Piaggio group.
In 1992, Gilera made a return to the Grand Prix arena and Piaggio took over production of small-displacement motorcycles with the Gilera name.
In 2008 Marco Simoncelli won the 250 gp world championship on a Gilera.