Italian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Maffeis Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Italian Marque
1895-1935 *

At the beginning of the twentieth century the newspapers often mention the racing success of the brothers Bernard, Carletto and Miro Maffeis.

Carletto won, in 1903, the Susa-Mont Cenis on a Sarolea but his brilliant career was tragically ended in 1921 at the Circuit de Brescia.

Miro, the youngest brother, began racing in 1919 first with Motosacoche and then with Indian, Harley Davidson, Sarolea, Parvus, Garelli, BSA, Bianchi, Ladetto & Blatt, Gilera - and on the Maffeis built by his brother Bernard, who seems to have produced his first motorcycle in 1895 after having learned the basics of mechanics whilst working in the workshop of Louis Figini, another pioneer of motorcycling.

The Maffeis motorcycle, piloted by "Nice Miro" as he was nicknamed, won the 250cc class of the Italian Championship at the circuito del Lario in 1923, 1924 and 1925. Maffeis also won the 250 class at the German GP dell'Avus.

Production of the Maffeis began in 1903, believed to have been based on the racing machine which Bernard raced.

The first Maffeis machines had engines from Sarolea, Minerva and Barscott.

An Interesting and original V-twin machine powered by a 350cc overhead valve V-twin with a three-speed gearbox appeared in 1921.

In 1923, Maffeis models were fitted with Blackburne engines.

With the death of Nando Maffeis in 1928, the Porta Volta business closed. Miro Maffeis then joined Bianchi as a mechanic and rider trainer.

Between 1933 and 1935 motorcycles were manufactured under the brand Miro Maffeis, with the firm composed of Miro Maffeis and brothers Aurelio and Enrico Tornielli.

The Maffeis firm carried out considerable commercial activity representing many foreign brands including AJS, Brough, Harley Davidson, James, Moto Rêve, Rex and Sun, as well as being agent for Blackburne in the Lombardy region.

* Sources vary on dates.

Sources: Moto di Lombardia, Tragatsch p197.

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