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Italian Motorcycles

Diana Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Manufactured: Nerino Ghibellini, Bologna

The Diana was of limited production but well-respected for its racing success.

Nerino Ghibellini of Bologna created the Diana motor-bicycle in 1923, with sales handled by Ernesto Pettazzoni who owned a shop selling bicyles and motor bicycles. The machines were fitted with DKW two-strokes of 118cc to 147cc capacity and were ridden by Ghibellini in gruelling races such as the Circuito del Lario and the Giro d'Italia in order to promote the product - and because he loved racing.

The venture was not a commercial success and Pettazzoni's business failed. Ghibellini attempted to continue alone but was forced to close the factory in, it is believed, 1924.

Pettazzoni made a new start and opened a small workshop in Strada Maggiore where he created the Velocino bicycle of rather unusual but quite attractive design. It had a small front wheel and the handlebars could be positioned beneath the seat allowing the whole device to be folded and carried in a relatively small bag.

Patented in 1935, the bicycle attracted considerable attention and it is said that Mussolini comissioned it for production but war came and the order was cancelled. Pettazoni left for Africa, and on his return to to Italy and after the death of his wife in 1947, took his own life, a victim of depression.

His design was produced by other companies including (possibly) Raleigh of Great Britain in the 1960s.

Diana Turismo 1923


    Engine: DKW horizontal two-stroke single. Bore 50, stroke 60mm, 117.7 cc
    Ignition: flywheel magneto
    Carburettor: Zenith
    Lubrication: petrol/oil mixture
    Gearbox: 3: 1 reduction
    Final drive: Belt
    Frame: Single cradle, steel tubes
    Maximum speed: 45 km/h

Sources: motoclubetrusco.it, Musei Patrimonio Industriale, oldbike.eu

Notes: There is also a Durkopp Diana, and a Portugese Diana.


Wed Oct 19 2005
gippo- at hotmail dot com
Diana - Italian motorcycle years '20
Diana 125 DKW motor model "Turismo" 1923 - Motorcycle manufacturer Nerino Ghibellini, Bologna Italy



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