Derbi Angel Nieto replica

Derbi motorcycles
Sometimes a motorcycle built purely for function can have beautiful form as well. This vintage 50cc racer from the Spanish Derbi factory is packing just 15hp, but it could reach an extraordinary 200 kph (124 mph) on the track. And as you can see, it also looks good standing still. It’s a ‘Angel Nieto Replica’, a short run of bikes built in 1973 to honor the success of Spain’s leading motorcycle racer. Nieto won no less than 13 Grand Prix World Championships, and this bike was aimed at privateers hoping to emulate some of that success. The motor is a disc valve single that peaked at 15,000rpm, equipped with a Mahle piston and 24mm IRZ carburetor. There’s also a six-speed gearbox. (The clutch action on the Derbi was reportedly extremely hard, despite the small size of the machine.) The most unusual detail, though, is the spare spark plug attached to the frame (pictured below); a matching wrench was also fitted to the bike. This was apparently a request from the superstitious Nieto, who did not want to be stranded by a faulty plug in the longer races.

Photographed by Phil Aynsley at the Museu de la Moto de Bassella in Spain. Phil’s book Ducati: A Photographic Tribute, with a foreword by Troy Bayliss, is available from Amazon.

Derbi motorcycles
Derbi motorcycles
Derbi motorcycles
Derbi motorcycles
Derbi motorcycles