Fuchs Workshop builds a Piaggio mini-tracker…
In 1967, Piaggio introduced their first moped, the Ciao — a 50cc two-stroke with a belt drive, drum brakes, and 6-volt electrics. Produced in various versions well into the 2000s, the Ciao attracted quite a lot of aftermarket attention, as owners outfitted their machines with performance exhausts, carbs, and airboxes.
“Further tuning with performance cylinders, porting, and higher end exhaust pipes will result in a very fast little bike.” –Moped Army
Enter Massimo Rinchiuso of Italy’s Fuchs Workshop — a Ravenna-based shop that began preparing track bikes more than 20 years ago and now specializes in hand-shaped aluminum bodywork, 3D design, CNC parts, and more.
Some of their most well-known builds include the Suzuki GS1000 “Yellow Weapon” (above), Suzuki Bandit 1200 “Lucky Legend” dedicated to 500cc GP champion Marco “Lucky” Lucchinelli, and their Moto Guzzi Enzo 1000sp.
When Massimo and crew needed a new pit bike for their flat track weekends, they looked at what they had lying around the workshop:
“The idea was to make something to use in the paddocks during the flat track races and events we do all over Europe. Having just an old and shabby Piaggio Ciao (1980) available, the decision was made easily.”
A staggering amount of custom fabrication work went into this “Speciao” (Special-Ciao), including a 5-cm widened frame and fork, custom aluminum trellis and saddle support, hand-beaten aluminum number plates and tail section, Sunday Motors wheels (36-hole rear rim welded and re-drilled to work with the original 32-hole rear hub), hydraulic rear brake and stem / handlebar derived from a downhill mountain bike, and more.
Claudio Lanconelli of Lanko Tuning handled the engine work, including a 75cc Malossi cylinder, lateral reed valve intake, Dell’Orto 19mm carb, and lots of port work. According to Massimo, this Ciao tracker is just as fun on the track as in the paddock — especially in the hands of flat track champion Niko Sorbo:
“The Speciao is naturally very fun to ride as you can imagine from the videos in which the pilot Niko Sorbo whizzes it around the track…very light and fast, a real toy for grown-up children ????”
Below, we talk to Massimo for full details on the build, along with more photos from Annalisa Pisanelli.
Ciao Tracker: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Fuchs Workshop was born in the late 90s, preparing track bikes, when the term “Special” was still little used. Those were the years of “Tuning.”
The Ravenna workshop specializes in the processing of aluminum sheets; it is made from tanks to fairings, from tails to mudguards in hand-wrought aluminum.
We also offer 3D design services, construction of components from solid stock with CNC machines, creation of models and composite structures.
The best known motorcycles built by Fuchs Workshop are the Yellow Weapon, a GS1000 Suzuki designed by Oberdan Bezzi; the Lucky Legend based on a Suzuki Bandit 1200 dedicated to Marco Lucchinelli; up to the last motorcycle presented in 2022, the Moto Guzzi Enzo 1000sp.
• Please tell us about the build.
The idea was to make something to use in the paddocks during the flat track races and events we do all over Europe. Having just an old and shabby Piaggio Ciao (1980) available, the decision was made easily.
So we literally sawed the frame in half and widened it by 5cm, same thing for the fork. Then came the creation of the necessary trellis in aluminum tubes as reinforcement.
The construction of the cushioned saddle support is in aluminium. The tail section and number plates are in hand-beaten boxed aluminium. I modified the plastic side panels of the engine with hand-beaten aluminum inserts.
Dedicated handlebar support derived from Downhill bikes, as is the Shimano hydraulic rear disc brake system.
Wheels derive from a Sunday pitbike; the rear hub is original Ciao to which the 32 holes for the spokes were closed by welding instead of the 36 of the new rims (therefore re-drilling on the table in the milling machine).
The cylinder now a 75cc Malossi, crankcase with lateral reed valve intake, Dell’Orto 19mm carburettor, and a lot of filing on the head shaft, transfer ports, and piston.
New staggered transmission line with pulleys and toothed belts, elimination of the clutch weights for pedal starting and elimination of the valve lifter, in place of a new recoil starter.
Exhaust sponsored by SC, who’d supplied two silencers but they were too big for the Ciao — and therefore the present silencer was built by me in aluminum and marked SC.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Our little Piaggio Ciao is named “Speciao” (Special-Ciao).
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
The Speciao is naturally very fun to ride as you can imagine from the videos in which the pilot Niko Sorbo whizzes it around the track…very light and fast, a real toy for grown-up children ????
Builder: Fuchs Workshop
Engine work: Lanko Tuning (Claudio Lanconelli)
Photos by: Annalisa Pisanelli
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