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Bike of the Month
July 2024
1962 MotoBi F3 Daytona

By Jon Jacobson

This is 1 of 5 specially prepared racing bikes shipped to the USA by the MotoBi factory to compete in the 1962 FIM US Grand Prix at Daytona put on by the USMC, who were competing against the AMA in those days. It is one of two 175cc machines sent over. There were also two 125cc and one 207cc machine prepared for the event. It's in 100% original, unrestored condition including tires. The machine was built in the factory race shop under the leadership of Primo Zanzani, the manager of the the racing team and chief engineer responsible for development.

 

This machine finished a fine 3rd place in the 250cc race, ridden by Bill Powers. Pretty impressive when you realize they were competing against the works Honda RC162 four cylinder 250cc machines. At that race they did not run the full banking, primarily just the tight infield circuit, which prevented the Hondas from using their big power advantage. The MotoBi took full advantage of its' lighter weight and better handling to demoralize the Honda riders, forcing them to withdraw from the race after only a few laps. The riders involved also credit much of the success of the MotoBi to the fantastic Oldani magnesium front brake and the tuning/preparation by Zanzani

 

This bike had not been seen in public since the late 1960's, residing in the garage of Bill Powers in Indiana, until his son brought it up to the AMCA swap meet in Wauseon, OH in 2018 to sell it. A good friend of mine was there and, knowing I'm a MotoBi nut, sent me photos, saying “I think you're gonna want this”. To make a long story short, I bought the bike.

 

Specifications

  • 2 valve head – push rod operated valve train - 17-20 hp @ 9000 rpm – safe revs to 11,000

  • 62 x 57 mm bore and stroke – 10.5:1 compression ratio

  • Dell’orto SSI 22.5mm to 25mm depending on racing circuit

  • Oldani 200mm front brake. Amadori 160mm rear brake

  • Suspension: Bonazzi 34.5mm “F3” forks, B.E.B. Rear

  • Special “DS” frame with extra support for swingarm axle to prevent twisting

  • Hand formed aluminum fairing

  • Complete bike weight = 96kg/210 lbs with fairing

  • Owner: Jon Jacobson

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