Aermacchi Motorcycles

Aermacchi Zeffiretto 48N & 48NP, 1965-1972

Engine: Single cylinder, 2-stroke

Starter: Kick-starter

Bore & stroke: 38.8 x 42 mm

Compression ratio: 7.8:1

Engine Capacity: 49.6cc (3.03 cubic inches)

Maximum power: 1.5 h.p. @ 4,500 rpm

Valves per cylinder: 2

Ignition type: Dynamo - 6 volts - 18 watt

Carburettor: Dell'Orto SHA

Lubrication: Wet sump forced circulation with mechanical gear pump

Transmission: Gear primary, chain final

Clutch: Cable operated with multiple wet disk

Gearbox: 3-speed, gear shift

Throttle: Cable operated

Cooling system: Air cooled

Frame type: Tubular pressed steel and backbone frame

Front Suspension: Telescopic

Rear Suspension: Mono shock, Swingarm

Front Brake: Drum

Rear Brake: Drum

Front tyre: 2.00 x 18 in.

Rear tyre: 2.00 x 18 in.

Wheelbase: 44.1 inches

Seat: Duck-tail dual seat

Fuel tank capacity: 6 litres

Top speed: 45 km/h

Weight: 52.5 Kg

Price in 1966: US$275 plus tax

In 1960, Harley-Davidson acquired 50% of the Aermacchi factory and assumed complete control in 1974. Harley-Davidson purchased Aermacchi in 1961, to produce lightweight motorcycles for the American market, in an attempt to capture a piece of the youth market back.

In 1965, Harley-Davidson brought a smaller two-stroke Aermacchi onto the market, the Zeffiretto. The name "Zeffiretto" was used for the Italian market. This 48cc machine came as a moped, the 48NP (P for pedals) and without pedals, a no-ped, hence 48N with no P. The engine is 38x42mm, plain piston-port, CR 8.5:1, with 3 speeds actuated by a hand shift. The 48NP was built until 1965, whilst the 48N continued until 1972.

In the United States Aermacchi sold these motorcycles as the "Harley-Davidson M 50 and M 65". The Zeffiretto / M 50 and M 65s were virtually unmarketable in Europe and in America, despite large advertising campaigns. In total only 200 examples of this rare Aermacchi Zeffiretto Sport 48 S (M50S) were built.

Bibliography: Legend Bike Magazine: Volume 8. no. 80, May 1999, pages 42-43

Source: Hessink's NL

N.B. Another short article on this site indicates that nearly 10,000 of the 48N and 48NP machines were built and sold.

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