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malaguti motor & motobecane body chopper by frenchmonkeys

more swap meet ****!

found this yesterday on flakebook. i did not make a note of who posted it, but thanks, man.

malaguti engine - motobecane moped | frenchmonkeys

it’s a malaguti gam16 50cc motor mated to a chopped-to-**** motobecane frame. i’m seriously enjoying the “highway bars.”

the guys who built this are brand new. their blog has one day’s worth of posts on it but if this moped chopper is any indication of what they are capable of, i’m excited for more.

they call themselves the frenchmonkeys. isn’t that where hiv came from?

motobecane/malaguti 50cc moped chopper | frenchmonkeys

it also has the word “f***” on it and some other stuff i cannot make out. i think it says “f*** the *****.” maybe it’s “f*** the purist.” somebody is going to have to comment and let us know. both are good. they’re not snooty art ****. that means they drink good beer, not michelob ultra.

malaguti/motobecane moped chopper | frenchmonkeys

the malaguti motor in this little beast comes from a family-ownedi italian scooter and motorcycle company based in san lazzaro di savena, in the bologna metro region of italy, and was founded by antonino malaguti in 1930.

malaguti had to stop production while italy was invaded in world war two because mussolini bit his weenie while the owners hid in the mountains from the retreating – and looting – germans. unlike its bologna neighbor, ducati, the malaguti factory was not bombed by the allies as it was not considered “a significant threat.”

early 11970's malaguti 45cc moped

in the late 1950’s the company decided to expand business and began to manufacture other products and new vehicles. similar to ducati, malaguti diversified into washing machines, exercise equipment and other manufactured goods that carried the malaguti name. the company also sold many items to the german sachs company and maintained a relationship with sachs well into 2006 when sachs declared bankruptcy.

sachs has returned. i’ve posted this pic before, but it’s too funny not to do it again. i now know a dude who rides one in new orleans. the name fits his personality.

sachs mad *** moped

during the 1960’s and 1970’s, malaguti exported over 70% of its first scooters to vietnam. the first 50cc malaguti scooter was called the “saigon 50cc.”

malaguti was originally imported into the united states during the 1970’s opec oil embargo. at one point the small factory in bologna had up to three flights sending mopeds every day to five different importers who were paying more in air shipping than what the mopeds cost to make. the demand was high and orders continued long after the oil crisis ended, but this sales boom went bust – as they always do – and many moped manufacturers in europe went bust due to excessive over-expansion and riding on credit based on past moped sales in america. malaguti survived but had to cease exporting to the united states.

1972 malaguti gam16 50cc moped

by the late 1990’s only a handful of companies remained who had converted to scooters to take advantage of the little motorbike boom. at this time and for much of the late 1990’s, malaguti was the third-largest italian moped manufacturer. it’s only rivals were aprilia and piaggi, who makes the vespa.

throughout these changes, malaguti, who had been in business longer than all rivals, kept the company 100% family owned. often the company reached out for promotional and marketing opportunities to what was then their “sister company,” ducati.

malaguti returned to america after seeing piaggio and aprilia making strides in the states and figured they’d be foolish not to give it another shot and began with a small shop in miami, where they quickly expanded with help of the high value of the dollar. those were the days.

malaguti logo

just as they were hitting their stride, the attack of september 11, 2001 almost shut the company down as stores across the country began to close and/or lose their sales for months following the crisis. most american importers were suddenly unable to import scooters and watched as their dealer base sat with inventory for months. malaguti’s us operations were able to survive but the increasing pressure from inexpensive chinese products, along with the sliding value of the dollar and the higher costs of production in italy made it impossible to continue importing their products. even vespa was losing money on each scooter sold in the the states at this time. by 2005, malaguti had to leave the usa.

the former american importer of malaguti continues to promote the mopeds with a new company, martin racing performance which seems to be the only source of malaguti parts for countries throughout the americas. today, the owner of martin racing hopes to bring malaguti back to the usa.

other moped companies have continued to fail and currently malaguti is italy’s second largest scooter manufacturer. it is still family owned and operated and is run by the grandson of the founder.

then the guys at frenchmonkeys got one. this is what they did. excellent.

malaguti/motobecane chopper | frenchmonkeys

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