RUMINATIONS: Carl's Moto Rumi Pages
How I fell in love.
There I was, spectating at the 2003 Motogiro d'Italia, a vintage time trial in Italy. The route covers 1000 miles in 5 days. To be eligible, you must ride a motorcycle made in 1957 or earlier. And that moto must be 175 cc or less! Let's be clear, this is a 1000 mile road rally riding a bike with about the same power as a moped! This is one of the premier vintage motorcycle events in Italy.Where did this event come from? After WW2, there was a great need for transportation in Italy. Not only was the whole country ready to travel for work, but the country was also moving from an agricultural to an industrial economy. So people were very interested in small motorcycles as affordable transportation. After the war there were many small companies looking to rebuild themselves and to make new products. And so, more than 100 companies started making motorcycles! This being Italy, where motorsports are an obsession; the best of these companies raced their bikes to prove their quality to the public. One of the best ways to prove your motorcycle was to race it in long distance races and there were several, like the Milan e Taranto and the Motogiro d'Italia. These races ran annually, until 1957 when there was a major accident in a car race and the government stopped these events. In recent years the Italians have revived some of these events as vintage rallies. In the US we would call these TSD or Time - Speed - Distance rallies. The object is to complete the course in a set amount of time. And there are checkpoints along the way, where you time is checked (and they verify you are following the proper route) and sometimes there are tests of your skill. Today these are wonderful recreations of the original events with beautiful old machines, old and young drivers and fans lining the roads cheering the competitors.
At the 2003 event I went as a spectator. I am a fan of old Ducati motorcycles, and Ducati is a major sponsor of the Motogiro. I went on a modern bike and followed the vintage riders throughout the event. It was a wonderful tour through Italy, surrounded by great friendly people and fantastic vintage machines.
Now, in the mid 80's I raced a Yamaha two stroke. I have a real affection for these bikes. But since the early 90's I have been a for of Italian bikes, primarily Ducatis.
So there I was enjoying the Motogiro, when I hear the distinct sound of an 180 degree parallel twin two stroke so similar to my old racing Yamaha. It is a ripping howl that ends with a dinging ring. And I turn and see this beautiful old machine, very Italian with an engine so similar to the ones I used to race. I fell in love instantly. It was a Rumi. The rider of this rare motorcycle was Sascha Kripgans. Even in Italy Rumi's are quite rare. The company stopped making them in 1962. But the Italians remember and Sascha was greeted as a hero wherever he went. And while many riders can't make the distance Sascha made it through the whole event. I must admit, I cheered him on the whole way and became a one man fan club. I learned much from Sascha about Rumi's right there at the event. After the competition was over he even let me ride his prized Rumi around the hotel parking lot! I was hooked.
Upon return to the California, I immediately started my search for a Rumi. Actually, although these are rare bikes, there are a very limited number of people who truly love them, and thus I found several available. After about 4 months of research, shopping, learning and negotiation; I bought a fabulous one. Well, it's fabulous to me, but it needs a lot of work.
During my search and as I work on the Rumi I find I am learning things and finding useful information. Given the rarity of these bikes, and the limited information about them that is available, I have decided to publish some of what I find in these Rumi pages. Enjoy.
Return to Ruminations