1956 MotoBi 175 Catria MSDS
Moto Sportive Derivate della Serie (MSDS) junior racer model
With Phil Aynsley
MotoBi was established in 1948 by the eldest of the six Benelli brothers, Giuseppe, after a disagreement saw him split from the family company.
After his death in 1957 the MotoBi company’s fortunes declined and it was absorbed into Benelli in 1961, although the MotoBi name continued to be used for some of the company’s sporting models – right up to 1973.
The Catria (in both 125cc and 175cc sizes) was 1956 and the 175 Catria and was released in 1955. 200cc and 250cc versions soon followed.
The distinctive OHV motor (which became known as the “power egg”) was designed by Piero Prampolini who later went on to design the 1972 Benelli 500/4 GP bike. All the various versions of the Catria used a pressed steel spine frame.
The 1956 175 Catria seen here is a MSDS (Moto Sportive Derivate della Serie) model. MSDS was a Formula 3 category for Junior class riders, a fiercely contested series, both by the riders and manufacturers.
The cable operated pivoting ‘baffle’ at the end of the exhaust was used to quieten the bike when travelling through villages during road races.
It was common for owners of the time to add colourful “victory” decals to their (older) bikes over the years.