1980 Di Blasi R7-50 Folding Moped
I bought this little Italian monkey bike earlier this year, as I’d always wondered what they were like to ride.
It has been through our workshops and everything works well.
I’ve had my fun on it so now it’s your turn… :)
The Di Blasi is a well-built and practical mini-bike.
- Overall length 128 cm (50,3″)
- Wheel base 93,5 cm (36,8″)
- Width 57,5 cm (22,6″)
- Length 78 cm (30,7″)
- Width 37 cm (14,5″)
- Height 61 cm (24″)
In Italy it has achieved iconic status as a leader in its field.
As the makers say, it can be used…
as an auxiliary vehicle for campers
* on the ship
* in the plane
* Auto Car
* Service vehicle for transfer / disposal of rental car
* … … even at the Italian Polizia is DiBlasi R7 in helicopters on board.
This one is in fine fettle. Everything works, so it’s an ideal little bike to fold up in the back of your campervan. When you’re at a show or a festival, you can nip round to the shops on it on a Sunday morning to get the milk and papers.
The Di Blasi R7-E, an uprated version of this model, is still in production.
The current advertised prices for a new Di Blasi folding moped are between 1640 euros and 2123 euros, depending on specification.
Bearing in mind their price new, a 29-year-old model such as this, in good working order, represents very good value for money.
To turn off the engine, remember to flip the switch below down to ‘off.’
This text comes from the Italian Di Blasi website:
DI BLASI HISTORY
Mr. Rosario Di Blasi is the founder and current general manager of our company.
For our clients and for anyone who appreciates our products, here is his story as an inventor and an entrepreneur.
Mr. Di Blasi was an pilot officer of the Italian Air Force until 1946. During the war he flew three-engine SM79’s over the skies of North Africa, Malta and the western Mediterranean.
Along with his passion for flying, Mr. Di Blasi always had a special fondness for mechanics and anything innovative.
So in 1940 he established a “Charting Rule” which is a rule to perform the necessary calculations for aerial navigation, in an era when it was still an art that was left up to the ability of the pilot.
In April 1942 the now Major Rosario Di Blasi published an article titled “Operational Diagram of a Rotary Engine” in the “Rivista Aeronautica”, official magazine of the Italian Ministry of Aeronautics. In this study, its author clearly set the theoretical base for the functioning of a rotary engine which later became known as Wankel engine. He not only indicated the advantages but also the difficulties in building it, as the various attempts of practical production had demonstrated. In February 1943, the same article was also reprinted in the German magazine “Deutsche Luftwacht Luftwissen”.
Immediately after the war, Mr. Di Blasi lived in Rome. He owned a bicycle which in those days was an important asset (recall the famous neorealist film of 1948 by Vittorio De Sica “Bicycle Thieves”). In order to not leave his bicycle unattended, he was forced to carry it into his home, on the eighth floor of a building with an elevator that was too narrow to hold it. This is where the idea came from that a folding bicycle would be much easier to transport. By the end of the 1940’s, Mr. Di Blasi left the Air Force and began his own agricultural business in the town of his birth near Syracuse, a city rich in the proof of its important past in the Greek world.
As a hobby, he started with the idea of a folding vehicle which in the meantime had transformed into the idea of a folding scooter (remember that the boom years for scooters such as the Vespa and the Lambretta were just ahead). From 1952 to 1956 he created prototypes of various folding scooters, all characterized by innovative solutions, such as the central freestanding hinge (because it is slightly inclined with respect to vertical), the retractable front wheel, etc. For the curiosity of our readers, we would like to point out that the boy shown in one of the photos, with his finger in his mouth, is one of Mr. Rosario’s sons: his name is Carmelo and today he works for our company in foreign relations as well as customer relations.
Some past documentation of entrepreneurial interest regarding Mr. Di Blasi are a brochure of that first scooter and a press clipping with him at an Inventions Show at the Rome Exhibition Centre.
But the time wasn’t right to transform a brilliant idea into a production activity.
The idea of the folding vehicle was dormant until the end of the 1960’s, when it finally appeared in the form of a motorized folding tricycle (called DIBLA 7) which was also innovative in its patented solutions. It was equipped with a Zanetti engine, in those days a well known manufacturer in Bologna, and an Encarwi membrane carburettor, possibly known only to our Dutch readers. The young man in one of the photos is another of Mr. Di Blasi’s sons: his name is Carlo and today he works for our company in the production and technical areas.
The DIBLA 7 was shown at the 1968 Turin Auto Show as documented by the photo which shows Mr. Di Blasi presenting his tricycle to a then younger On. Andreotti, who was visiting the show and was then the Secretary of Industry for the Italian Government.
That tricycle did not effectively go into production, but we will talk more about it after we continue our trip through time for another thirty years.
In the meantime, Carmelo graduated in aeronautical engineering and a few years later, Carlo too would receive his degree in aeronautical engineering.
We are now in 1973 with an innovative idea for folding vehicles. A quadrilateral hinged frame that reduces in size when collapsed.
This idea, protected by international patents, is applied to a folding bicycle (mod. Avia) and to a folding moped mod. R2: two vehicles characterized by the extreme simplicity to fold, the completely original lines and by the fact that every detail is innovative. For example, the first foldable pedals ever produced were mounted on the bicycle, pedals that were later copied by the competition. The speed and simplicity of folding these vehicles is one of the qualities that even our competitors recognize and still today remains unequalled.
These vehicles were exhibited for the first time at the Motorcycle and Bicycle Show of Milan in 1973. An unforgettable date for us for two reasons: because with that initiative our adventure as entrepreneurs began and because it was right at the time when the first important gas shortage began and consequently started the famous “Sunday’s without car” and the boom, or rather the big bang of the bicycle: All the manufacturers sold out their stocks before the first day of the exposition. Unfortunately at that exposition we only displayed two prototypes and therefore we could not take advantage of the enormous demand for bicycles.
In September of 1974, we were at the Motorcycle and Bicycle Show of Cologne (Germany) where we met who turned out to be our German importer for more than twenty years. From that moment 80-90% of our production was destined for exportation.
That first model R2 folding scooter, known in Germany by the commercial name of Paperino (= Donald Duck), has today become a sort of cult object among antique motorcycle enthusiasts. It had a single gear Franco Morini engine.
In 1979 the R2 model was replaced by the R7 model which had an engine built by us, because it was more adapted to the needs of our folding scooter, fitting a variable speed system. Therefore the R7 model had vastly improved drive characteristics over that of the R2 model.
Over the years, this scooter has been continually improved. Its possibilities of use are many: as a backup vehicle on a camper, on a boat, in an automobile, as a service vehicle for the delivery and pick-up of rental cars, etc. It has also been used as an auxiliary vehicle on board the helicopters of the Italian National Police. The model currently in production is the model R7E.
ABOVE: THE FIRST DI BLASI
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