Italian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Riva Motorcycles, Italy

Built 1928~1933, probably in Turin.

A supercharged four-cylinder 500cc engine with dual overhead camshaft and water cooling built by Valerio Riva made a brief appearance at the 1928 Monza Grand Prix. It exploded on the first lap. Later another 500cc 4 cylinder machine appeared with front suspension which is understood have been supplied by George Roy of Majestic fame. An image of the 30s machine in the Milani book is titled 1930, but a forum post says the rear hub is by Baruffaldi which was not made until 1933. The machine is also briefly mentioned in Le mythe des 4 Cilindri by Claude Reynaud.

From the thread:

    French man told me he did an interview with Georges Roy. Georges Roys was the inventor of the French Majestic. Roy told him in this interview that in thirty years Valerio Riva visit him and buy the Majestic front suspension. And Georges Roys give this photo to the man who did an interview to show him what Riva did with his suspension.

    uomo francese mi ha detto che ha fatto un'intervista con Georges Roy. Georges Roys è stato l'inventore del francese Majestic. Roy gli ha detto in questa intervista che in trent'anni Valerio Riva fargli visita e acquistare la sospensione anteriore di Majestic. E Georges Roys dare questa foto per l'uomo che ha fatto un'intervista per fargli vedere quello che Riva ha fatto con la sua sospensione.

So, it would appear that the image of the Riva on this page dated 1933 was given to George Roy by Valerio Riva.

After considerable discussion on the origin of the engine, Gérard Martin writes:

  • OK, this Riva engine was built by Giuseppe Merosi who left Alfa in 1926, he invented the DOHC 90 degrees he made a similar 4 cyl engine in 1920 for Alfa, then he made the Alfa 6C engine based on it, Jano will continu his work with the 8C Alfa (2x4cyl), Merosi continued his work as freelancer.

Francois-Marie Dumas wrote that it was he who interviewed Riva, and also "...the remaining parts have been found recently by Benito Battilani in Italy and he is trying to reconstruct it but engine is missing."

Riva was working on projects until 1939 when war broke out.

Valerio Riva was a famous rider from Turin who raced many machines including Borgo (1923) Sunbeam (1924-28), Calthorpe (1929) and the Aquila with Rudge-Python engine 1932-35.


There was also a Riva made in France in the 1950s: Riva RSI

Sources: MC Storico Conti,, Milani, FB group Motorcycles 1867-1930, et al.


mansur.darlington at googlemail dot com
If it is still of interest, see:
Starting at 7mins 38 secs,
Best wishes,Mansur Darlington

Fascinating. Many thanks Mansur, posted above

Looking on your website, I found that funny (for me !) report where an italian source is saying that he has met a French guy who told him... That was me, of course. Here are the photos. The remaining parts have been found recently by Benito Battilani in Italy and he is trying to reconstruct it but engine is missing. All the best Francois-Marie Dumas

Images posted to Comments.

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