The best looking motorcycle on this list in my opinion, the Mondial 125cc Grand Prix racer was rather advanced for the late 1940s and early 1950s with its dual overhead cams. It made all the other 125s of the era look rather rudimentary in comparison – an impressive feat considering most of Italy’s manufacturing plants were destroyed by the war. It had an undersquare bore and stroke of 53mm x 56.4mm. The bike didn’t finish its first race, but later went on to record world records in the standing start quarter-mile and kilometer categories. Mondial’s serendipitous timing in developing the 125 also coincided with the creation of the Grand Prix world championship in 1949, where it cleaned house in the 125cc category; winning every 125 race in 1949, 1950, and 1951!

The dustbin fairing seen here wasn’t added until 1957, at which point the Mondial featured gear-driven cams (instead of bevel drive) and not only won the 125cc title, but the 250cc title, too. But that was the end for Mondial’s success, as the Italian firm, along with Moto Guzzi and Gilera, ended their factory involvement with Grand Prix racing, as they came to grips with the eternal truth of racing: it’s expensive!

  • Starmag

    It’s said that Soichiro Honda was quite the fan of NSU racers.

  • Old MOron

    I like thumpers.

  • DickRuble

    The Supermono ended up second at the Isle of of Man in 1994 with Robert Holden atop.

  • Mahatma

    I think the AJS wins the style competition here.

    • Ian Parkes

      I’d put it third behind the Manx Norton and, in top spot, the dustbin with the blue whale on the side.

  • craig collins

    Y’all forgot Isle of Man champion Bultaco Metralla. I had two of ’em.

    • MikeH

      I’ll put in a nod for the Bultaco Metralla as well. I had one and it was surprisingly good, especially handling. Very neutral and forgiving, you could really push them HARD.

      • craig collins

        True – performance was limited only by the tires of that era. I raced the kitted version ( oh, god – priceless today, ) at a couple of old converted airports in northern California. My everyday street / canyon ride was the victim of a nasty, dirt strewn, decreasing radius, left-hander in the hills above the eastbay. I bailed about two thirds of the way through – bike and rider straight off cliff into the poison oak. Fantastic times!

    • TroySiahaan

      That is, in fact, a very cool Single. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • Ian Parkes

    Never heard it called a Norton Manx before. I’m pretty sure they were always Manx Nortons over the pond. Amazing too how the MV Augusta engine has such a strong family resemblance to its descendents. Powerful genes.

    • Kevin Duke

      Just sticking to conventional naming conventions. Same reason we don’t call it a Tuono Aprilia.

      • Ian Parkes

        Wow, it’s usually me that gets put in Pedants’ Corner. Your Tuono example is not be the same thing at all because but no-one (let alone everyone, as in the Norton’s case) says that. I’m just sticking up for the naming convention of using its actual name…

        • Jon Low

          It’s not “MV Augusta”. It’s “MV AGUSTA”.