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Profile – Mondial Piega 1000

Mondial Piega

(August 2020)

Mondial Piega

Lost World

by Guy 'Guido' Allen

Mondial’s revival in 1999 promised much, but the finances didn’t hold together

There is something of a litany of failed revival of historic names across the last few decades. Plus a few exceptions.

The exceptions almost without fail have been those that have been funded by people with very deep pockets. Think Triumph with John Bloor from the early 1990s. A couple of hundred million quid was sunk into that one.

Or more recently Indian (after several false starts) with the Polaris group, which had deep pockets and reserves of engineering expertise.

And there were exercises such as Mondial, which unquestionably had promise but fell over with just 35 motorcycles produced. The exercise began in 1999, when the last of three attempts through the eighties and nineties was launched by print publishing industrialist Roberto Ziletti.

Ziletti was realising a long-held ambition to steer a motorcycle company and formed his plans in cooperation with a scion of one of the Mondial founding families, Pierluigi Boinini Boselli. The plot was to develop a one-litre sports V-twin using a proprietary engine from another maker and, most ambitiously, go world superbike racing with it.

Suzuki was that other maker, with the robust and powerful TL1000 V-twin making perfect sense as a candidate. However the plan to build 250 homologation motorcycles, with a prototype shown at the 2000 Milan show, quickly started to unravel. Suzuki decided against supplying engines.

ZiIletti cast around and asked his friend Oscar Rumi – head of the high-profile Team Rumi of World Superbike and GP fame – to make an approach to Honda.

The story goes that Honda was sympathetic, thanks to a history dating back several decades. Back in the late 1950s, the then fledgling company was researching ways to lift its game in international competition and identified Mondial’s post-war class-leading designs as something to emulate.

Soichiro Honda wrote to Mondial’s Count Giuseppe Boselli in 1957, asking to buy an example of the 125 DOHC machine that had just won the world title. Boselli agreed, well knowing the implications of the sale.

So the story goes that Honda had not forgotten (a Mondial is on display at its museum at Motegi) and this was a factor in it agreeing to supply the premium RC51 twin, aka from the VTR1000SP-1. That was its own world superbike contender.

However, the Mondial enterprise still ran off the rails almost as soon as customers started receiving bikes in 2003. Zilletti did in fact have significant financial resources, but one theory is a lot of them, and most of his attention, were soaked up by the purchase of Mitsubishi’s world graphic arts business.

Whatever the cause, Mondial stumbled into a formal declaration of bankruptcy in 2004. The firm was to be revived again a decade later, but essentially as a branding exercise for a China-based maker.

It seems to be accepted that only 35 Piegas were eventually assembled, and sold over a long period of time. There was small batch of a ‘final edition’, in black, sold as late as 2008.

Wrapped in a shape credited to Sandro Mor, the eye-catching machine used a light steel trellis frame, matched to a carbon fibre subframe. The rear swingarm was all carbon fibre on the race machines and a carbon-wrapped steel trellis on the road bikes. Former Aprilia staffer Nicolo Bragagnolo led the engineering.

There were ambitious plans to develop more major components such as suspension and brakes, in-house. Initially, however, the spec included well-known brands such as Paoli for forks, Ohlins for monoshock, Brembo for braking and Marchesini for wheels.

A more free-wheeling approach was taken to tuning the Honda engine, with an Arrow exhaust and giant airbox. All up, with an altered ECU, it claimed a slight lift in performance at 138 horses. Weight was claimed to be a light 177kg dry. Those numbers mean this was a very lively package.

For a motorcycle with such a short run, it’s surprising how often they come up on the market, often with next to no miles on them.

An example listed in the UK in June 2020, claiming just 43km, has a price of GBP18,000 (US$23,500, Au$32,900). That seems in line with recent trends.

Another in the USA, with a patchy history, reached a high auction bid of just US$12,500 (Au$17,500, GBP9500) and failed to sell.

New, they were priced around $50,000 in Australia.

Further reading

More Piega background at odd-bike.com

Mondial profile at WIkipedia

Mondial Piega 1000 2003-2008 (road bike)


TYPE: Liquid-cooled, four-valves-per-cylinder, 90-degree DOHC V-twin (Honda RC-51)

BORE & STROKE: 100 x 63.6mm




TYPE: Six-speed, constant-mesh, 



FRAME TYPE: Steel trellis

REAR SUSPENSION: Monoshock, Ohlins 

FRONT BRAKE: 310mm discs with four-piston Brembo calipers

REAR BRAKE: 200mm disc with two-piston Brembo caliper





FRONT: 120/70-ZR17
REAR: 180/50-ZR17


POWER: 103kW @ 9500rpm

TORQUE: 110Nm @ 8500rpm


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