This MV Agusta Mini Bike Racing was an official model offered by the Italian motorcycle manufacturer in the mid-1970s. As the story goes, a one-off special was made for Phil Read’s son in 1973 to celebrate his 500cc World Championship victory riding for MV Agusta.
The mini bike was intended as a miniature replica of Read’s race bike, and it has small versions of the fairing, seat/cowl, clip-on handlebars, and even four exhausts exiting at the rear. Images of this special little motorcycle were published and the public interest was overwhelming. So overwhelming in fact that MV Agusta put the mini bikes into production for a few years, offering versions with 8″ and 10″ wheels, and a very rare 12″ version.
One of the images that caused this groundswell in interest around the little Italian mini bike was a black and white images of Phil Read sitting on the bike playfully begging two parking ticket attendants to let him off with just a warning (this picture is included below).
The design and manufacturing of the Mini Bike Racing was all done internally at MV Agusta, the only major part that was purchased was the engine – a 47.6cc two-stroke Franco Morini single-cylinder unit with a 6.5:1 compression ratio, a small Dellorto carburettor, and a centrifugal clutch.
The top speed of the MV Agusta Mini Bike Racing is listed as 40 km/h however that would really depend on the weight of the rider, fuel economy is 50 km/l, and the bike has a total weight of 30 kgs. A tubular steel twin down tube frame was designed for the model, with a traditional swing arm rear with two shock absorbers. Telescopic forks are used up front, and both the front and rear hubs are fitted with drum brakes.
The fibreglass fairing is a single piece, it’s fitted with a large perspex shield, and there’s a traditional twist-grip throttle, with twin levers controlling the front and rear brakes.
It’s thought that MV Agusta only produced approximately 300 examples of the Mini Bike Racing, and many of them haven’t survived to the current day due to years of neglect. Those that have survived are much-loved by vintage motorcycle racing enthusiasts, and thanks to the Franco Morini engine, parts aren’t that hard to come by.
The example you see here is due to roll across the auction block with Artcurial on the 9th of February, it has an estimated hammer price of between €2,000 and €3,000 – a rather reasonable sum given the little bike’s remarkable history. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.