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1982 Segale Honda

  • 1982 Segale Honda
  • Retains all of its rare and desirable features such as frame, swingarm, forks, shocks, engine, wheels
  • Recent mechanical overhaul by Chris Mayhew
  • Built at the height of the company’s fame
  • Extraordinary rare surviving example

Model History

Italian Luigi Segale started his professional involvement with motorcycles as a dealer in 1972, however, he quickly moved into modifying production machines for junior and national racing. He was clearly very talented and when the FM1 programme started in 1979 there was an opportunity and demand for machines to run in TT1 / TT2 and endurance races.  It was in this area of design that Luigi Segale is best known.

As with most small racing outfits, Luigi began by modifying factory frames and engines to improve their performance and as his skill and knowledge grew he began constructing his own complete frames. Segale took a big step in 1980 when he exhibited his designs at the Bologna Motor Show, which paid dividends and resulted in numerous orders for frames to house Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki engines.  To help him capitalise on this demand Luigi recruited a top-class technician and welder, an Austrian called Dirk Ilderbrand.

The collaboration was very successful with Luigi designing the bikes and fairings while Dirk made the frames. Alongside the frames they also offered an engine building and tuning service, Segale was a Honda agent, so the principle engines to receive treatment came from this manufacturer although Kawasaki, Suzuki and others also got worked on.

The majority of Segale frames are made from Cro-Mo Steel tubing using the engine as a stressed member with rear engine plates made of Ergal 55 that both attached to the rear of the engine and also formed attachment points for the rear suspension. The swingarm was another unique design for the company. It was constantly developed but they are made of a magnesium casting where the underside is of open section with diagonal bracing ribs cast in. This combination of magnesium and braced open design made them both very light but also very strong.

Luigi Segale wanted his frames to be adjustable as well as very rigid so he designed an advanced feature of eccentric rings and special bearings in the headstock that allowed the wheelbase of the bike to be changed very quickly. This was obviously hugely advantageous at the racetrack but this feature was also used on the road frames as well – an amazingly advanced feature for the time.

From 1979 the front forks used were also of Segale’s own design and manufactured in partnership with Ceriani using cast magnesium legs and yokes. These forks there so good Bimota often used them on their frames as well.

Through the early 1980s Segale built a number of bikes for both Honda Italia and Kawasaki Italia, the later worked extremely well and the Segale bikes won 3 Italian TT1 championships in 1982, ’83 & ’85.  Other successes include a 2nd place at the Bol d’Ore in 1981 with a Honda 1000cc, the Italian endurance championship in 1982 as well as countless other wins and podiums at both national and international level through the 80s.

Luigi Segale continued building beautiful and successful racing and road motorcycles though until the late 1990s and his longevity and racing results speak volumes about the skill, design and advanced technical attributes of his bikes.

This Motorcycle

This 1982 Segale Honda CB1100 is one of the best examples possible from an extraordinary designer. Built at the height of the company’s achievements and retaining all of the most desired features, this wonderful example really is the best of the best.

The tubular frame is of the classic Segale design using the engine as a stressed member with side plates for the engine mount and rear suspension. The utterly fabulous adjustable Segale magnesium front forks with lightened magnesium yokes are a work of art as are the period Campagnolo magnesium wheels. The rear suspension is via gorgeous period-correct twin shocks that work on the original magnesium open section swingarm and the brakes front and back are Brembo. Looking over the plethora of exotica on the dash you see the equally beautiful Veglia rev counter as you hold onto the Menani clip-ons. The lightweight fairing, tank and seat unit, along with original Segale drilled aluminium rear-sets.

The frame houses a beast of a motor in the form of a tuned Honda CB900 that has been big-bored to 1100cc which is often the case for this period, as that was the capacity limit on a lot of the endurance series. The engine breaths in through the standard Keihin carburettors, which again is normal and right for these series and it breaths out via the custom made exhaust.

Everywhere you look on this fabulous bike, you see yet another jewel of engineering  It is light, fast and utterly fabulous. Endurance racing during this period of time in the early 1980s was at its zenith and this is as good an example as you will find.

The Segale has been fully overhauled in recent years by Chris Mayhew at Lusso Veloce (formerly NLM), ensuring it runs and rides excellently and it has covered only a handful of miles since this work was done. The bike is UK road registered.

This is a rare opportunity to acquire one of the best endurance racers of the 1980s to use either on the track or as the ultimate road bike of the period. The Segale Honda is now available for sale at The Classic Motor Hub.

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