The past couple of years have not been good for most motorcycle manufacturers. So it’s reassuring to see new brands appearing, however small. Zaeta is one of those new brands, and it’s inextricably linked to the resurgent sport of flat track racing. The Italian company’s single production model is definitely a case of function over form, but this glittering one-off painted by Kustom Garage reminded me that it’s about time we featured this new marque. Zaeta’s origins can be traced back to 2007, when founder Paolo Chiaia was transfixed by the short track races at Daytona. “There I fell in love with the discipline and aesthetics of those bikes, which are essential, small, and nothing more,” he says.
In December 2008 Chiaia met Graziano Rossi, the father of Valentino. The senior Rossi proposed a slightly different perspective: “He spoke of a small bike that could turn to the right or left; I was talking of a small, lightweight bike that could go on either the dirt or the road.” The result was the Zaeta 530, which is now in its second incarnation and ready for production. It’s powered by an Italian-built TM single—a dry-sumped, DOHC job with four titanium valves and a Keihin FCR 41mm carburetor. The Zaeta weighs just 115kg (254lbs), making it perfect for high-speed dashes across the city as well as open road twisties. In Italy, the price of the stock Zaeta is €13,500 ($18,900), which will probably limit sales—but there’s nothing else like it on the road.