Aspes! This name represents a dream of all kids from the '70s, when owning a moped or a 125cc meant a life of independence and freedom of movement for the younger generation. That is why even today, when sixty-year-olds hear the name Aspes, their eyes light up!

The origins of the Sorrentino company and the Aspes brand date back to 1955, when Italy was still struggling to recover from the disaster of the Second World War, in a small plant on the outskirts of Gallarate, in the province of Varese.

For about thirteen years the company had dedicated itself solely to the bicycle industry, to which they then began to flank with the production of utility mopeds equipped with Minarelli engines.

The first Aspes motorcycles date back to 1969. In that year, the Cross Special ‘69 went into production. It was a moped which marked the beginning of a trend: that of the off-road “fifties”. The Cross Special '69, equipped with a fiberglass superstructure, was to be the first motocross moped to be fitted with the famous Ceriani tele-hydraulic front suspensions and Minarelli CR and RG engines.

In November 1971, at the EICMA Milan Motor Show, alongside the now well-established range of mopeds, Aspes came out with the prototype of its 125 off-road mopeds distinguished by a number of cutting-edge technical advances. The Aspes 125 prototype was equipped with a Sachs engine, but in the final version, which then went into production in 1972 under the name of "Apache", the chosen engine was a Maico.

Towards the end of 1972, Aspes decided to step up its industrial efforts by building its own forks and engines as well. For the production of the forks, a special department was created at the Gallarate plant, while it was decided to form a new company, ASCO, at a plant on the outskirts of Pavia for the production of engines.

In 1974, deliveries began of the first 125cc, motocross and regularity, with Aspes engine; named "Hopi". These bikes immediately stood out in competitions, so much so that they were nicknamed the “Tuttitalia che vince” [All Italian winner]: Aspes was in fact the first 125cc motorcycle entirely designed and built in Italy to reliably compete against foreign competition.

In 1976, Aspes broadened its reach by encompassing the road bike industry, initially by producing the BMS brand only for the French market and then later for the national market, the Juma 125 model, a sporty lightweight motorcycle with brilliant performance that successfully conquered all the European markets.

The Moto Aspes plant in Gallarate encompasses an area of ​​6,500 square metres, of which about 4,000 are covered, and it employs seventy people that meet an annual production capacity of approximately 12,000 units (3,500 automatic mopeds, 6,000 off-road mopeds, and 2,500 125cc motorbikes), not only for Italy, but also for the French, American, Belgian, Dutch, English and Swiss markets.

The Aspes Moto plant is equipped with three assembly lines: one for automatic mopeds, one for multi-speed mopeds and the third for 125cc motorcycles. The motocross bikes, both 50 and 125cc, are not, however, produced on an assembly line, but on individual benches in order to ensure as accurate an assembly as possible. The overall production potential of the three assembly lines is about 90 units per day.

By Maurizio Mazzoni