Omer (Omer Fabbrica Italiana Motocarri), a historical brand of mopeds located in Reggio Emilia. It was an Italian brand that in 1968 began producing sports mopeds with a 48 cc FB Minarelli two stroke engine.
Andy Wallace's 1968 Omer Giramondo 50 cc
A Great Story
So many regrettable incidents in my life can be recalled by starting with ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time, but….’ And this is one. About 10 years ago I was relaxing on holiday in France when I heard the unmistakable sound of a number of old motorcycles pulling into the village square. I ran up to see what was happening and one of those events happened which changes your life. I heard a small single cylinder red 4-stroke thrum past, and when it stopped I saw the Moto Morini decal on the tank. Now I’ve owned a 1978 Moto Morini 31/2 from new but I didn’t know they’d made anything this small. Chatting with the rider it turned out to be a 1960 Corsarino Sport – red paintwork, tiny clip-ons, tiny 50cc 4-stroke motor – a miniature 350! I knew I had to have one. However, over the ensuing years despite chasing a few leads down I realized that I was not going to be able to afford one.
Again, whilst on holiday in France a few years later, idly browsing Ebay, I came across a little motorbike I’d never heard of – an Omer Giramondo 50cc. It was selling for not much money, so it seemed a good idea to buy it. Which I did. When I went to pick it up I discovered it was recently imported from Italy, unrestored, and with the patina of age and neglect a hundred youthful owners had bestowed on it for 40 years. Would I restore it – rebuild the wheels with new rims and spokes, get the frame and cycle parts resprayed etc? I decided not to – after all, this type of machine was built by hundreds of small Italian factories in the sixties, using off the shelf parts like headlights and seats, and were built down to a price. How do you not over restore something that when new had the thinnest coat of paint on it, flimsy chrome, basic shocks, matchstick forks, unlacquered stickers on the tank etc?
Trying to get the machine registered for the road became a nightmare. After three years of trying (there are no factory records, no owners club, and the IMOC could not provide a dating certificate) I turned to North Leicester Motorcycles. Stuart Mayhew agreed to get it up to MoT standard, provide a dating letter and register the machine with an age related plate for a very reasonable sum. As I agreed to it, Stuart looked me in the eye and said, “You know, it’s not worth it”. And he was right – in bald financial terms it wasn’t – but something about the machine and the challenge it represented made me say, “It is to me”, and seemed a good idea at the time.
Finally on the road, the Minarelli – engined two stroke has a hand gear change, three speeds, and a top speed of 24 mph. Friends laughed when I turned up on it and said, “Why not tune it up?” to which I would reply, “The suspension and brakes hardly cope with what little power it’s got, I don’t want any more!” The Omer became a bit of a fun joke as I used it for shopping and gentle bimbles about the Devon countryside.
As the annual Welsh National Rally came around this year, which I normally compete in on either my 350 Morini or my Triumph Daytona 675, it seemed like a good idea to do it on the Omer. Certain it would break down, I entered the bike in the Rally. As the date got nearer, I started to think about the reality – big mileages, awful weather, mountains… not a good mix with a 50cc bike.
However, the Omer took me 200 miles in 10 hours non-stop apart from refueling, crossing and recrossing the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains (at one point I was holding it in first for 20 minutes up a mountain road at a constant 7mph and was overtaken by a cyclist) and the bike not only ran perfectly but also earned a Bronze Award. It also earned my respect and I no longer yearn for a shiny red jewel-like Moto Morini Corsarino – a rusty green unloved 1968 Omer Giramondo will do me very nicely, thank you.
Tech Details on the 1968
- Engine No: P3AKS DGM124700M
- Frame No: G * 00482
- Carburettor: Dell’Orto SHA 14/12
- Tyre Size: front 2 ½ x 16, rear 2 ¾ x 16
- Tyre Pressure: 1.7 front and 1.8 rear
- Spark Plug: NGK BR6 HIX
- Bulbs: Headlight 6V-15W, sidelight 6V - 5W. Rear light 6V-3W
- Chain: ½ x 3/16
- Engine sprocket 13 teeth
- Final drive sprocket 35 teeth
- Fuel capacity: 9 litres, of which reserve is 1 litre
- Electrical system: alternator 6v-18w
- Contact gap 0,35 – 0,40 mm
- Check points gap (0,35 – 0,40)
- Lubricate felt pad in points
- Clean carburettor petrol filter
- Grease forks/swing arm
- Lubricate cables
- Check clutch / adjust
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