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An Italian romance: Hertford’s scooter mad grandad

PUBLISHED: 09:38 20 February 2018

Terry with his three bikes, which he's owned since the early 60s (photo: Adrian Flux, Forever Bikes)

Terry with his three bikes, which he's owned since the early 60s (photo: Adrian Flux, Forever Bikes)

Adrian Flux, Forever Bikes

Meet the Hertford grandad who bought a rare Italian scooter 58 years ago and still rides it today

They say true love never waivers. For Terry Bedford, who fell in love with his Moto Rumi scooter 58 years ago and continues to ride his pride and joy to this day, that certainly stands true.

The grandfather bought his first Moto Rumi because he appreciated its radical design created not by an engineer but by Italian sculptor Donnino Rumi. The purchase kick-started an enduring passion for the troubled Italian maker.

Terry with his 'Little Ant' Moto Rumi Formichino (photo: Adrian Flux, Forever Bikes)Terry with his 'Little Ant' Moto Rumi Formichino (photo: Adrian Flux, Forever Bikes)

Even for the most ardent of motorcycle fans, Moto Rumi scooters (and indeed its beautiful, sleek and futuristic motorbikes) remain something of an underground secret. Consequently, Terry often finds himself the talk of any motorbike or scooter events he attends.

‘At shows, people who have never seen one before are quite fascinated by it,’ he laughs.

Moto Rumi promotional poster (image courtesy of Moto Rumi Club)Moto Rumi promotional poster (image courtesy of Moto Rumi Club)

After his first Moto Rumi purchase in 1960, Terry loved it so much he bought two more within a couple of years. He still has all three in sparkling condition at his Hertford home. The first Rumi model was a 125cc 1959 Tipo Sport, and it was love at first sight. However, he made the purchase with some trepidation as he knew the company had gone into liquidation. But the look and engineering of the bike captured him. The body, with the exception of the forks, crash rails and leg shields, was produced in cast aluminium with the front and rear castings bolted to the engine to form a monocoque. This resulted in a light and rigid construction. The rear swinging arm, chain case and silencer box were also constructed in cast aluminium.

Terry, who is married with two and children and two grandchildren, says his family ‘can’t quite understand’ his infatuation with the Rumi, despite the bikes being vauled at up to £8,500 each.

Racing the Rumi. In 1957, 1958 and 1960, the company won the Bol d'Or 24-hour races at Montlhery in France (courtesy of Moto Rumi Club)Racing the Rumi. In 1957, 1958 and 1960, the company won the Bol d'Or 24-hour races at Montlhery in France (courtesy of Moto Rumi Club)

‘They think I’m nuts. I’m sure they like them though. I’ve had my Moto Rumi for such a very long time, but it’s really been worth it. It’s a relationship which has endured the test of time.

‘I only ever ride them at shows nowadays so it’s pretty easy keeping up the maintenance and keeping it in good running order.’

Moto Rumi service signMoto Rumi service sign

The Moto Rumi Club has only around 100 members globally, including Terry of course, but they are fanatical about their pride and joys. 
‘A lot of these guys have had their bikes since new. They are truly devoted,’ Terry explains. ‘The chairman, Paul Stokes for example, went to the trouble of tracking down and buying back the Rumi he owned years ago. Incredible!’

But despite these passionate owners, Terry is concerned by a lack of young riders taking up the mantle. ‘I really feel we need to get knowledge of the Moto Rumi out into the wider biking community. We have no new people getting involved and there is a real danger that the Moto Rumis that still exist will end up as dusty old, unused and unloved museum pieces before too long. I fear the Moto Rumi will die off with their rather ageing owners, and that would be incredibly sad.’

Terry’s bike featured in Bikesure’s Forever Bikes blog, the personal stories of motorbike enthusiasts who have owned their vehicles for 30 years or more. Read more stories at bikesure.co.uk/forever-bikes

Want to know more about Moto Rumi?

The Moto Rumi Club is a resource for everything associated with the company. Go to motorumiclub.co.uk

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