Italian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Ganna Storia

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A Brief History of the Marque

Luigi Ganna was born in Induno Olona in 1883 and was a popular cyclist of imposing stature who entered the limelight in 1908 taking the one-hour record at an average of 40.405 kph.

Further success followed in 1909 with a win in the first Cycling Tour of Italy organized by the Gazzetta dello Sport, and at the Milano-Sanremo.

In 1921 he established a bicycle factory in Varese, Via Belforte. 1

At the time, the transition from bicycles to motorcycles was almost mandatory, and Luigi Ganna did the same.

By 1923 the Ganna was making a name in the motorcycle market, and had entered a 350 Blackburne-engined machine in the Italian Grand Prix.

They built motorcycles fitted with Blackburne and JAP engines, the latter manufactured by Ganna under license.

In the thirties they used four valve Rudge Python engines of 250 and 500cc.


Python Four Valve Head

Rudge Python 250, 350 and 500cc engines were introduced in 1931. Borgo used 4V heads in 1920.

The firm also built a 500cc machine referred to as "tutta Ganna" (all Ganna) with bevel-drive overhead camshaft and four-speed gearbox, designed by the engineer Paolo Rossi of Coquio Trevisago. Unfortunately, this model was short-lived and was only in the catalogue for a year or two.

In 1941 they marketed a 250cc OHV model, a side valve 350, and a 500 OHV. Production ceased in 1942 for the duration.

After the war the Ganna used mainly Puch and NSU engines, and a second "all Ganna" arrived in 1954, a 175cc four-stroke.

With the death of Luigi Ganna in 1957 motorcycle production gradually decreased, the last being built in the 1960s. The name lives on as a bicycle built by Giubilato.

Notes 1. Possibly 1914, as Ganna retired from racing that year due to injury.

Sources: Moto di Lombardia, Henshaw

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