Any historical information about Mondial motorcycle manufacturers can be split into two distinct time periods; the pre-Second World War era will be our starting point.Mondial, or more accurately, FB-Mondial was based in Bologna. They started to make motorcycles in 1929, mostly commercial tricycles used for deliveries. The FB prefix stood for Fratelli Boselli – the owners of the company. The Boselli family were part of the Italian nobility of the time, originating from Milan. Their small manufacturing premises were destroyed during the allied bombing giving them an opportunity to re-invent themselves.
Beating the Competition
In the post-war era of motorcycle manufacture, there were a number of peculiarities about Mondial motorcycle production which would set them apart from their competitors – companies like Ducati and MV Agusta. Most importantly, they were hand built and while this limited the number of motorcycles they could produce (between 1000 and 2000 per year), it allowed them to specialise in ways which the competition could not.
The Boselli family also had ties with an engineer called Alfredo Drusiani. He developed a double overhead camshaft engine which the FB-Mondial company would use on their sport motorcycles with great success. Drusiani’s DOHC engine led to the Fratelli Boselli Mondial setting world records from a standing start in October 1948.
Grand Prix History
It was in 1957 that Mondial enjoyed their slice of Grand Prix motorcycle racing history. The 125cc DOHC “Dustbin” scooped wins in the 125cc and 250cc World Championships. While their rivals Ducati were using bevel-driven camshafts, the Mondial machine had gear-driven camshafts and was simply untouchable. They also boasted the first ever winner of an official 125cc Grand Prix race on a machine ridden by Nello Pagani.
This era of racing glory was, however, short lived. Shortly after the success of the “Dustbin” some of the major players, including Mondial, quit racing as a protest against the rising costs of competition. This closing chapter came only a few years before Mondial ceased building their motorcycles using only their own components.
The Last Lap
From 1960 until the close of Mondial in 1979, the company produced only their own frames and parts. Engines were sourced elsewhere in a bid to cut production costs and increase output. Given the historical facts about Mondial motorcycles and the source of their competitive edge, this marked the beginning of the end, despite later unsuccessful attempts at revival.