Today in Motorcycle History

MV Agusta 48 Liberty

The MV Agusta Liberty was a light motorcycle built in MV's factory in Cascina Costa di Samarate from 1961 to 1969. After the Nuovo codice della strada (traffic code) came into force, motorcycles with a cylinder capacity of less than 50cc and a maximum speed of 40 km/h were the only motor vehicles that could be used by those without a driving license.

As a motorcycle aimed at youngsters not old enough to hold a licence, the MV technicians focused giving the machine 'real' motorcycle looks. The chassis and bodywork were of a generous size for its engine size. The 'Liberty' was offered in two versions, the 'Turismo' and the 'Sport Speciale', priced at 112,000 and 114,000 lire respectively. This was quite inexpensive, in relation to the technical refinement of the engine and chassis. For the domestic versions of the 'Liberty', to the 'Code', the maximum speed was 40 km/h, however, overseas version were capable of 60 km/u. Initially fuel consumption of 1 litre of petrol per 100 km was claimed, later a more credible consumption of 1.5 litres per 100 km was claimed.

A second series was introduced in 1966, 18" wheels replaced the original 16" items and the 'Sport' received a 4-speed gearbox. A more upmarket 'America' model was introduced.

The Liberty's engine was an air-cooled pushrod single-cylinder 4-stroke with a bore and stroke of 39 x 42 mm giving an displacement of 47,7 cc. Compression ratio was 7.5:1 and the ignition was provided by a magneto. Power output was 1.5 bhp @ 4,500 rpm. A wet multi-plate clutch was driven by gears from the crankshaft. There was initially a three-speed gearbox, but sports models got 4 speeds from 1966. Gears were controlled by a handlebar twist grip. The rear wheel was driven by a chain. The MV Agusta had a double cradle frame and telescopic forks were used. At the rear there was a swinging arm with hydraulic shock absorbers.

The 'Liberty' was not a great commercial success; 5,292 were produced, of which 2,000 were the 'America' model and 3,292 'Sport'.

Specifications (1961 Model)

Engine: Single cylinder 4-stroke OHV

Bore & stroke: 39 x 42 mm

Compression ratio: 7.5:1

Engine Capacity: 47.75cc

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

Valves per cylinder: 2

Carburettor: Dell'Orto 14/9/2

Cooling system: Air cooled

Ignition type: Flywheel-magneto

Lubrication: Wet sump forced circulation with mechanical gear pump

Transmission: Gear primary, chain final

Clutch: Cable operated with multiple wet disk

Gearbox: 3 speeds, handlebar mounted selector

Starter: Kick-starter

Throttle: Cable operated

Frame type: Open cradle frame and pressed steel

Front Suspension: Telescopic fork and shock absorbers

Rear Suspension: Swingarm with hydraulic shock absorbers

Front Brake: Drum Ø 104 mm

Rear Brake: Drum Ø 104 mm

Wheelbase: 1,110 mm

Front tyre: 2.00 x16 in.

Rear tyre: 2.00 x16 in.

Seat: Dual seat

Fuel tank capacity: 9 litres

Fuel consumption: 1.5 litre/100 km

Top speed: 40 km/h (25 mph)

Weight: 58.5 Kg

Price: 114.000 lira

Production: 5,292 units

Bibliography: Legend Bike Magazine, Volume 12. no. 132, September 2003, pp 40-42

Source: Hessink's NL