125stradali.com would like to thank Alberto and his "Malanca" friends for providing the material for what we believe to be the most complete article on the web about the fabulous twin-cylinder Malanca 125s. Contrary to our custom of only listing liquid cooled 125s, given the total lack of information on the web about 125cc Malanca models and Alberto's great knowledge and passion for the Malanca brand, we decided to also review the fabulous air cooled E2C and E2CS. Enjoy reading.
Ashort history of Mal anca
Malanca began production in 1956, dedicating itself to the "48", as motorbikes up to 50 cc were then called. The product was competitively priced and well made, so much so that in 1960 the company built its historic modern factory in Pontecchio Marconi, moving there from Bologna.
But it was not enough for Mario Malanca to assemble other people's engines on Malanca branded bikes: he wanted his own engine and in 1970/71 he created his own engine which would immediately power the "Testa Rossa", until then powered by a Franco Morini. By way of information, Malanca would refer to the world of racing cars on at least two occasions: with the Testarossa, painting the head red, a clear reference to Ferrari, and later in 1978 with the colours of JPS for the E2CS (John Player Special Lotus).
After devoting more than a decade exclusively to 50cc, Mario Malanca sensed the potential of the 125cc and presented his first 125cc twin-cylinder at the Paris Motor Show in 1973. The engine is robust and traditional in design and guarantees excellent performance. This twin-cylinder engine and its subsequent upgrades would be the mainstay of Malanca's fortunes until its closure. In 1974, despite a furious fire destroying the shed and the plant, the first 125cc arrived at dealers, the E2C. Production then concentrated more and more on the 125cc twin-cylinder in its various evolutions.
In 1983 the Ob-One arrived in dealerships, which was then and later the first water-cooled 125cc two-stroke two-cylinder designed for mass production. It was quite successful due to its high level of performance. The bike bore the initials of Otello Buscherini, a historic rider of the Pontecchio Marconi company.
The resourcefulness of the founder was such that he immediately understood the importance of participating in competitions in order to acquire the fame and prestige necessary to push the marketing of mass production with greater vigour. The results in the 125 class with a Suzuki bearing the Malanca colours and prepared by technician Giancarlo "Fuzzi" Librenti were flattering. The driver Otello Buscherini obtains four victories in 1973 and several placings and victories in 1974 which will earn Malanca, in 1974, a 4th place overall in the World Championship and 1st place overall in the Italian Seniores Championship (Otello Buscherini) and in the Italian Seniores Championship of Marche. Unfortunately, in 1976 following Buscherini's fatal accident, Malanca retired from competition. This retirement was briefly interrupted by a return to competition in 1985, with a 250 always prepared by Librenti, but this did not lead to any concrete results.
Malanca finally and voluntarily ended its production activities during 1987 when the family decided to close down.
The 125 stradali two-cylinder
1974/1975: "Small cylinders" E2C
At the Paris Motor Show in 1973, in the wake of the success of the twin-cylinder 125 driven in the race by Otello Buscherini, Malanca created a 125, also twin-cylinder, to be added to its production, which until then had been centred on 50 cc: the E2C arrived, an acronym that stands for Elettronica 2 Cilindri.
The prototype presented is characterised by an olive green colour that never reached production.
The project and the development of the E2C were followed by the head of the Malanca racing department, Gianpaolo Librenti (known as Fuzzi), a valid technician who was able to enable Otello Buscherini to fight for the World Championship right from the first year of Malanca's participation in the 125 class.
The E2C first series had a twin-cylinder engine with cast-iron cylinders characterised by reduced finning (hence the nickname "small cylinders" that characterised the first E2C) and alloy heads fed by two SHB 19 carburettors. The ignition is electronic and the gearbox is 5-speed. Malanca declares that the connecting rod and shaft assembly were substantially the same as the model used in competitions and subjected to very different stresses. The declared power is 15 hp at 8000 rpm, with a surprising pull at low revs and a torque curve that stretches smoothly up to the maximum rpm. An engine that is therefore easy and suitable for all routes.
The 'small cylinder' E2C is produced in 1974 and 1975 and the components between the two model years remain exactly the same. The E2C is offered with:
> High handlebars - usually combined with Redaelli steel rims and hydraulic front brake.
> Low straight handlebars - usually combined with Borani alloy rims and disc at the front.
But it wasn't a strict rule.
As for the DGM or OM homologation codes, the '74 E2C practically doesn't have them! This is incredible, but with Malanca anything is possible. The word DGM OM appears on the chassis, but there is no number that identifies the homologation code.
The only difference between the 1974 and 1975 models is therefore the colouring:
E2C model '74: bronze or green, both with black frame. Tank and sidewall inserts are black.
E2C '75 model: amaranth red or dark blue with black frame. Light grey tank and sidewall inserts. (The '74 colours remain in production and the black inserts remain). On the E2C mod. '75 appears the code DGM 13746 OM that remains the same on the E2C '76 and on all the E2CS until '79.
Contrary to what is stated in some brochures, the E2CS (where S stands for Sport) would not see actual production until 1976.
The price in 1974 was Lire 520,000 on the road.
1976: E2C & E2CS "single tool"
In 1976, Malanca put two models of its 125 road bike on the market: the touring E2C inspired by the first 1974 model and a brand new sports version called E2C Sport.
The E2C retains most of the components of the '74 model, while the engine is fitted with new cylinders, still in cast iron but with larger extended fins, and with different and larger cylinder heads. The carburettors remain the two 19 SHB, but the performance increases and the great pull that characterized the first engine is now also added a certain capacity for extension.
The E2C Sport, also presented in 1976, was a completely new bike, both in terms of frame and aesthetics, as well as the rest of the components. With a strong sporting connotation, characteristic is the presence of only one rev counter well positioned centrally on the dashboard, which earned it the nickname of "single instrument". But it was above all in the new engine that Malanca distinguished itself from the competition, creating what would prove to be the most powerful twin-cylinder engine in the 125 stradali category.
The engine mounted two new alloy cylinders and was fed by two 22 mm VHB carburettors, becoming the progenitor of all the subsequent 125 stradali s that would characterise the Malanca for the whole of the following decade. Power increased to 18 bhp and 9800 rpm even though the new engine struggled to express its full potential, as it was suffocated by the airbox and closed off by the two chrome mufflers. The braking system was borrowed from the model used on the track by Buscherini and counted on two discs at the front and an effective drum at the rear. The price goes up to 920,000 liras on the road.
1976: E2C 150
Also in 1976 a 150cc version was produced in both touring and sports guises. The first brochures show the E2C 150cc with spoked wheels and a single disc at the front as well as the raised handlebars characteristic of touring models. It is not known whether some 150s were actually marketed in this version or not. The engine had 20 hp at 9200 rpm and was offered for 990,000 lire on the road.
The 150cc introduced for the first time a frame that was not painted black.
Between 1976 and 1977, as is often the case with Italian production of the period, the novelties of the '77 model were introduced on the last '76. So there are versions assembled with what was available. For example, some of the first E2CS '77 still have the seat of the '76 model with a single rev counter and alloy wheels.
In 1977, however, production focused on the new engine with alloy cylinders.
The E2CS was updated in the chassis by adopting alloy wheels and three disc brakes, the dual instruments with odometer and tachometer of the previous E2C were mounted, the handlebar controls were of new construction and were branded Aprilia. Characteristic is the new saddle with tail and a new tank that becomes more spacious. The bike is refined in the tuning of the engine, which significantly increases its performance.
The colours have changed, with combinations such as white/orange, blue/grey and orange/black.
In 1978 a new Dansi/CEV electrical system with Magura controls replaced the previous Aprilia ones and the rear headlight changed from round to square. Towards the end of the year a new John Player Special black/gold colour scheme was introduced with a gold painted frame and gold wheels which would also be used on the '79 model.
The price goes up to 1,050,000 lire on the road.
In 1979 the E2CS is still offered for sale in the successful JPS black/gold colour, although on some '79 E2CS the graphic layout changes with gold friezes on the right and left sides of the upper part of the tank. Characteristic of the E2CS mod '79 is a new instrumentation, still characterized by the presence of odometer and rev counter that now boast larger dimensions.
Also in 1979, the GTI125 was presented. Malanca circulates the images of the GTI using the E2CS as a base, on which it mounts the new sides, Melber rims, ABS mudguards, the fairing, the new side panels, the particular expansions and the arrows. The colour scheme is very similar to that of the E2CS. The carburettors are still the VHB 22 and not the new PHBL 22, the front brake calipers are fixed in front of the stems, while in the GTI 80 (which mounts Brembo calipers) they will be fixed behind the stem. On the GTI 125 the new homologation code DGM 19841 OM is used.
Basically, the GTI125 is a collage between the 1979 E2CS and the 1980 GTI80. Reconstructing the correct equipment is very complicated, as there is no fixed standard. For example, the GTI125 pictured in the brochure has gas-charged shock absorbers and special front brake callipers that will never be fitted in production. The GTI125 is therefore a transitional model.
The E2CS continued production, but as a 'first-time buyer' or 'economy' version, stripped of the indicator fairing and expansions.
In 1980 the GTI80 was presented, a name that might mistakenly lead one to think the bike was an 80cc. 80 refers instead to the year of production. The new homologation code DGM 19841 OM adopted for the first time on the GTI 125 is maintained.
The GTI80 retains strong connotations in common with the E2CS, but is characterised by the presence of the fairing. New side panels, new instrumentation (km counter and rev counter with larger diameter), new Melber rims, ABS mudguards and indicators are adopted. The classic colouring is the black/gold JPS already seen on the E2CS mod. '78 and '79, although on the GTI80 it is characterised by the gold band painted transversally. Another distinction is the ore colour used until '79 on the E2CS JPS that had a so to say "greenish" connotation, that with the advent of the GTI80 takes a more "reddish" connotation.
The other colours are red/white, white/red with a central band on the tank and GTI 80 lettering on the seat and side panels. The wheels remain gold for all the colours offered. The price is Lire 1,450,000 on the road.
The new Magura/Brembo braking system replaces the previous Magura/Mozzi Motors system and features brake calipers positioned behind the stems.
The engine gets new PHBL 22 carburettors replacing the previous VHB and new expansion mufflers replacing the occlusive chrome mufflers. Power is increased to 20 hp.
The GTI 80 is presented with expansions and for reasons that are not clear, later also with the same exhausts as the E2CS. But instead of chrome, they were painted black.
1982: OB One.
In 1982 the OB One was presented, the initials referring to Otello Buscherini, the late champion from Forlì, thanks to whom Malanca achieved important competitive results on national and international circuits. The OB One first series is characterised by the homologation code DGM 19841 OM.
The first series OB One is equipped with the liquid-cooled engine in its first design, i.e. with smaller thermals to allow the cooling system sleeve to connect laterally to the base of the cylinders without protruding too much from the bike's profile. The new powerplant exceeds the wall of 20 hp at 10,500 rpm. This is enough power to push the OB one to a speed of 137 km/h "effective", making it the fastest 125 road bike of its time. Great performance, but with a lazy and grumpy delivery in the low rpm range, which was improved in subsequent evolutions of the engine to the detriment of the higher revs.
The OB One is completely different from the 70's E2CS or the 80's GTI both in looks and chassis. New are the frame, the suspension, the tank, the fairing, the fairing, the instrumentation, the expansions, the 12 Volts electric system. The price is 3,050,000 lire on the road.
In keeping with tradition, alongside the OB One, Malanca markets an economical version that uses the air-cooled engine from the GT 80 on the OB One chassis. Again with a view to keeping prices down. But this time too, as in all other similar cases, the attempt to offer models with poorer equipment to compete in terms of price did not achieve any positive result, and these models were practically never seen on the roads.
1984: OB One & OB One Racing
1984 saw the first evolution of the OB One project, which was modified in terms of aesthetics and chassis with a swinging arm and single shock absorber. The homologation code DGM OL 83051 BO is used.
There are two versions: a more touring version with a fairing and a more sporty version with half handlebars and a full fairing called Racing.
For both, the engine's cooling system was modified, where in the first model it was connected laterally to the cylinders and now directly to the cylinder head, and the thermals were thoroughly revised. Larger in size, they lose some of the dense finning that characterised them despite being liquid-cooled engines. But it's the power delivery characteristics that change, with the new cylinders and new cylinder head the performance drops, but there are real improvements in power delivery. The vacuum in the low range has been corrected and now, with a bit of shrewdness, it is possible to pick up even in sixth gear from 3000 rpm. The best arrives however always around 8000 rpm where the horsepower at the wheel is about 25 hp. The expansions also change. Price 3,450,000 lire turnkey.
The Racing is distinguished by its integral fairing, half handlebars and 16" front wheel. The Racing has its own homologation code, DGM 51517 OM.
In 1984 the Malanca Ob One Racing was the most powerful and fastest 125 road bike on the market with a lead of about 10 km/h over the best of the other 125 cc competitors.
Some OB One Racing models are produced with front forks equipped with anti-dive sia and with instrumentation that sees the adoption of a led indicator for water temperature instead of the normal indicator. This equipment is fitted according to the parts available at the factory, so the presence of one equipment does not imply the presence of the other and vice-versa.
The Special: Cocaine 125.
In 1984 a company from Rome, RMC, presented a curious version of the Malanca OB One Racing called "Cocaine 125". We don't know much about this bike and how many were actually produced, but we can assume that it was a very popular 125. If anyone has any news about the RMC, please contact us at: email@example.com
1985: OB One Third Series (Prototype)
In 1985 the successor to the OB One was ready and was to be a completely new bike with a brand new fairing and beautiful one-piece light alloy passenger footrests.
The chassis features a square tube steel frame, new suspension and wheels.
The engine saw the adoption of important innovations that finally made it modern and at the same time extremely powerful. The reed valve intake was adopted, electronically controlled exhaust valves (even though mechanical ones were being tested at the time), new expansion mufflers with an innovative system to increase their effectiveness and finally the mixer. Being able to rely on the reed valve and the adoption of the exhaust valves allowed the distribution diagram to be pushed further, obtaining a total of at least another 5 bhp, if this model had arrived at the dealers it would have been the first 125 road bike in 1986 perhaps able to touch 30 bhp "real" at the wheel.
Unfortunately, the story turned out differently and Malanca closed its doors, withdrawing from the competition that was soon to be unleashed, giving rise to a decade of sensational development in the 125 sector stradali. Personally, I regret the end of this brand. I would have been even more enthusiastic to see the growth of this motorbike which was born in 1974 under the supervision of the talented head of the racing department "Fuzzi Librenti", with 15 Hp and arrived a little more than 10 years later to express almost twice as much.
1985 - Mark 125
The Mark 125 is built on a second-series OB One base, with which it shares the engine, albeit with a smoother power delivery.
To conclude... here is the article posted on moto.it, which we thank as always!