In 1941, Gilera began production of a special version of the military motorcycle, the prototype of which was the LTE model with an L-head, 499cc engine with an output of 10 hp. This Gilera model was produced in solo version and with the sidecar. The sidecar version appeared in 1942 and was called Marte.
Gilera Marte (solo) from «Motorworld by V.Sheynov» collection
The designers kept the engine of the LTE motorcycle but raised its compression ratio to 5:1 and increased power to 14 hp. However, if the engine was similar, the transmission mechanism was completely different. The first change was that the redesigned transmission came with a cardan drive for the rear wheel (instead of a chain-and-sprocket drive). The gearbox used helical gears, but in addition to these, a spur gear was used to drive the cross shaft in front of the rear axle of the motorcycle. The frame of the Gilera Marte was similar to that of the LTE model, but the right side of the rear fork was new, welded from two pre-cut crankshaft parts. The suspension was retained as on the previous model: a rigid front fork combined with Gilera’s patented springs in horizontal boxes to provide better traction for the rear wheel.
Even the military motorcycles of Bayerische Motoren Werke, AG and Zündapp Werke, GmbH were in many ways inferior to the Gilera Marte. Gilera designed and built a truly innovative machine, which was unique among other military-purpose vehicles during the Second World War.
In total, about 8,500 copies with a sidecar and about 2,500 solo Marte motorcycles were produced. In 1946, Gilera produced a civilian version of Marte — 222 copies were produced within a year, and 158 motorcycles were converted from the military version to the civilian version.
|Manufacturer||Moto-Gilera, Milan (Italy)|
|Years of manufacture||1942 – 1946|
|Quantity produced, units||300|
|ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION|
|Type||4-stroke, 1-cylinder, L-head|
|Engine capacity, cc||498, 7|
|Bore and stroke, mm||84 х 90|
|Engine rating||14 h.p. at 4800 rpm|
|FRAME AND WHEELBASE|
|Frame type||Tubular welded|
|Rear suspension||torsion bars with horizontal coil springs in boxes|
|Wheel size||3,50 х 19|
|Ground clearance, mm||
|Gas tank size, l||
|Maximum speed, km/h||