Gilera's history has its roots in the early part of the twentieth century. The first motorcycle to bear this name, the VT 317, was produced in 1909 by Giuseppe Gilera. In the years following World War I, Gilera produced the 500 cc side valve motorcycles that went on to win major international races. From the mid-Thirties the production of motorcycles with a valve in the crankcase, such as the "Quattro Bulloni 500" and the "Otto Bulloni", began.
The "Rondine", a futuristic cross-racing bike with a four cylinder 500 cc engine, dates to 1936. The motorcycle set several world records (274.181 kph on a flying run in 1937: a record that remained unbeaten for almost two decades) and won Dorino Serafini the 1939 European Championship. After the war Gilera presented the new Saturno 500 and a range of medium-high displacement motorcycles. The four cylinder 500 cc became the new winner: Umberto Masetti was world champion in 1950 and 1952, followed by Geoff Duke (three wins) and Liberati (one title). Gilera also collected six manufacturer's championship wins, three Tourist Trophies, seven Italian titles and an impressive record win by Bruno Francisci at the Milano-Taranto race.
In the early 90s Gilera became part of the Piaggio group, and expanded into scooters. The ground breaking Runner typified their sports background, and they still stretch the boundaries of what can be done with the development of the GP 800 - an 850cc twin cylindered scooter! But the racing pedigree continues, with the 2008 GP 250 series won by Marco Simoncelli on a Gilera.