The Mondial Piega 1000. Japanese engine, Italian style and craftsmanship. Best of both sportsbike worlds...?
Pics courtsey Motoblog
The Mondial Piega 1000 is powered by the same liquid-cooled, 8-valve, 999cc, 140 horsepower v-twin that you’ll find in a Honda RVT1000 RC51 SP2. Which, right away, tells you something about the bike. If Honda are supplying them with their engines, Mondial bikes must be something special, eh?
Mondial, an Italian company based in Bologna was very active in the 125cc and 250cc grand prix motorcycle racing classes in the 1950s, and even helped Honda break into the racing scene. Today, Honda are repaying the favour by supplying them with engines for Mondial’s road-going superbike, the Piega 1000.
While the engines come from Honda, the chassis has been engineered by Mondial – the tubular trellis frame (made of chromium-molybdenum-vanadium alloy) is light and stiff and is said to provide excellent handling. Paioli USD front forks, Öhlins rear shock, and Brembo brakes complete the package. Various carbonfibre bits help keep the Piega’s weight down to 179 kilos, which further helps performance – top speed is said to be around 265km/h.
Back in 2005, bike journalist Alan Cathcart interviewed Andrew Wright, the British-born American businessman who heads Mondial these days. Wright acquired the rights to the Mondial name in 2004, from one Roberto Ziletti, who in turn had bought the rights from the Boselli family, the founders of Mondial, back in 1999.
It was Ziletti, himself a hardcore motorcycle enthusiast, who had swung a deal with Honda for the RC51 engines and even set up a brand-new factory at Arcore, in Italy, for manufacturing the Piega. However, due to troubles with his other businesses, Ziletti had to walk away from Mondial, and Wright – an ex-superbike racer who used to ride Ducatis – ended up buying the rights to the Mondial name from him.
Speaking to Cathcart, Wright said, ‘I looked at Mondial to see if it was viable, and concluded that it wasn’t – the prices were too expensive, it didn’t have a proper distribution network, the organisation of the factory was very poor, and production was sporadic. But I was convinced the product was a very good one which just needed to be properly manufactured, and professionally marketed, especially with Mondial having such a long history and a famous sporting pedigree. I spent quite some time with Count Boselli, the son of the owner, and his main interest is that Mondial should survive, rather than be split up and sold off and disappear for ever…’
For a fascinating insight into the rebirth of Mondial, and the full interview, go here.
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