History and evolution


In 1960 the American Harley Davidson and the Italian Aermacchi (previously named Aeronautica Macchi) from Varese, form the companies AERMACCHI HARLEY DAVIDSON for production of light motorcycles in Italy. Since 1973 the brand becomes AMF-HD, Since 1973 the brand becomes AMF-HD, when the American Machine Foundry took the place of Aermacchi. Motorcycle production stops in 1978, when Harley Davidson decides to abandon the Italian production. In the same year Cagiva, born as small metal parts factory founded by Giovanni Castiglioni, relieve the company to continue the motorcycle pruduction. Below is a brief history of his first workhorse, the SST 125.


6F SS 125
THE REAL NAME
The symbol 6F SS 125 indicates a series of motorcycles manufactured from 1975 to 1984, initially produced under the brand AMF-Harley Davidson and continue under the brand Cagiva. The symbol 6F is printed on the chassis at the steering tube and constitutes the first two characters of the serial number. In practice the symbol 6F uniquely models SS 125 (and subsequent, SST 125). The serial number has the following format: 6F-6xxxx Hx, where 6F indicates the model; 6xxxx is the numbering of departure for which 6 is a fixed number and subsequent four digits indicate the number of produced units in the current year; H stands for the Decade of production (H = 197x) while the last digit is the year of production. For example: H5 = 1975, H6 = 1976 and so on. This part number numeration system has been used from 1975 to 1977. Below a small reference table:

6F = SS 125 e SST 125
9E = SS 250
7T = SST 250
6A = SS 350 (4 stroke)
8F = SST 350 (2 stroke)

THE ORIGIN (1975-1977)
The first 125 SS had produced had serial number 6F-60001 H5. These bikes had drum brakes on both wheels and the same were exclusively with spoke. The instrumentation was constituted by the odometer and just next to it there was in the ignition key. Was equipped with an SX engine type year 1971, already used by previous Aermacchi, air cooled. This engine was mounted on SS models - SST - SXT until 1984, albeit with minor changes for improvement. Additional features: Rod arrows,
gas cap screw, carburetor VHB 27, only two indicators: turn and high beam. The decals on the fuel tank had logo AMF Harley Davidson and the typical stripes were opposed to each other

AMF-HD SS 125, year 1975 (Picture from: www.aermacchi-world.de)

FIRST EVOLUTION (1978)
Since 1978, significant changes are introduced in the equipment and the name of the model becomes SST 125. First and foremost, the introduction of disc brakes on the front wheel, instead of the drum. The power system is equipped with a new air filter box. The dashboard is upgraded with the introduction of the electronic tachometer and moving the ignition key in the middle. the lights have been increased from two to three: GEN, TURN, HIGH BEAM. The stripes on the tank went from 6 to 5 and assume the configuration as it was known until 1983.

AMF-HD SST 125, year 1978 (Picture from: http://arnaudharley125.skyrock.com/)

THE CAGIVA EPIC (1979)
Schiranna (VA) factory was taken over by Cagiva, which continued to produce the same HD model. The capacity of the Cagiva was to revive the company through an unprecedented marketing operation. In particular, the SST 125 became the most sold bike in Italy, setting a record still unbeaten (Piaggio separately). Those were the days when "Cagiva" and "Piaggio Vespa" became respectively "bike" and "scooter" par excellence. Initially the tank of the motorcycle was affixed the logo HD-Cagiva, that after short time became only Cagiva.
The V.I.N. system assume 6F-xxxxx format, where the digits 6F indicates the model type and xxxxx is the number of units produced, regardless of the current year. First V.I.N. number is 6F-80001.

 

HD-CAGIVA SST 125, year 1979 (Credits: Simone from Pistoia)

SECOND EVOLUTION (1980-1983)
In 1980 Cagiva presented range of models with the new italian logo "elefantino" (a little elephant) instead of the american "Eagle". The SST model underwent some improvements particularly aesthetic: straight chainguard, carburetor VHBT 27 AD, removal of commands switch from right handlebar (engine stop) and replaced switch on the left handlebar, snap tankplug, Cagiva logo on left cranckcase cover, turns with hard rubber shank, crank arm straight. There was the possibility to choose two variants: classic RR with spoke wheels or RL with integral wheels, alloy wheels of fashion in those years. Available were four colors: metallic blue, black, white, grey. Later was introduced also red (limited edition). The initial serial number of model "SST 125 mod. 1981" is 6F-91524, while the initial serial number of "SST 125 mod. 1982" is 6F-104024. In 1982 the SST 125 was subjected to further innovation: starting from chassis 6F-108816 an electronic ignition was equipped. Until then the electrical system, unlike 250 and 350, it was powered by a mechanical flywheel alternator brand Dansi; the new electronic flywheel was a "Mini 6 Hierro" of Spanish Motoplat.

   

CAGIVA SST 125 RR spoke wheels (Credits: Carlo from Varese and Harry from Osnabruck (Germany)

CAGIVA SST 125 RL integral wheels (Credits: Luigi from Nuoro)

THIRD EVOLUTION (1983-1984)
After the great success achieved by his workhorse, Cagiva decides to submit a new range of models named ALETTA (ALA for 250 and 350 cc), this name was already used for previously Aermacchi models. The new restyling marks the abandonment of Harley Davidson style in favor of the new category named enduro motorcycle that was taking the new benefit of the public. It began the time of the mythical Aletta Rossa other object of great success of the House. At this stage the SST model hold his characteristics of motorcycle road, always with the old engine HD. The model was named Cagiva Aletta SST 125 with initial serial number 6F-121025 and had several renovations including: the front fairing, a new instrument cluster with adding several spies (oil, neutral, reserve gasoline), changing the rear tail and its support. The typical stripes were abandoned and replaced with a drawing that recalled the shape. The logo "Cagiva" on the tank was embossed. To install the "neutral" spy a small engine change was required: on left crankcase side a switch has been installed. The Aletta SST was produced exclusively with integral wheels, silver or gold. The Aletta SST 125 was flanked by an extravagant version: the SST 125 C a custom bike better known as Cagiva Low Rider. The model had standard spoked wheels, doubled seat, chopper handlebar and chrome fenders. The chassis and the engine were identical.

CAGIVA ALETTA SST 125 and CAGIVA LOW RIDER (from web)

THE END OF SST (1984)
Cagiva, starting from Aletta and Ala range, had understood in which direction it was moving the market, both to meet the needs of the public is holding onto the fierce competition of the houses in Italy and abroad. The public, especially youth, were directing the most versatile enduro and on models with increasingly modern engines. HD erano engines now obsolete. In recent months of production the Cagiva made a restyling of the SST not entirely convincing: the Aletta SST 125 was renamed ALETTA OFFICIAL, not changed anything except the bodywork bicolour and coloured seat, usually olive green or hazelnut. The adhesive disappeared and was left only one on the left and right caskets to remember the name of the template. Moreover the Cagiva was already all pointing to the new motorcycle road that would have supplanted the SST, namely Aletta Electra. The SST had already played his part and the production was abandoned after nearly 10 years of success.

CAGIVA ALETTA OFFICIAL, last SST (from web)

 


SX engine

The  SST engine is derived from an SX engine (year 1971) that equipped previous Aermacchi HD models, including Z90, X90, SX125, SS125. Over the years has been modified to fit on the various models. The serial number identification is printed up to the crankcase covers. On the left case Cagiva SX is printed, while the right case is printed with the serial number itself. It has the following format:


Y yyxxxxx

where Y is a fixed point which stands for "year", yy indicates the last two digits of year of construction and xxxxx is the number of units produced in that year. For example Y 8302603 indicates the engine No. 02603 manufactured in year 1983.


The new 125's era

NEW CAGIVA MODELS
Can not miss a brief overview of successive Cagiva models that have become icons of young peoples. The ALETTA ELECTRA 125 (1984), the road bike with sinuous and modern line, new chassis and new engine gearbox, electric starter and mono shock absorber "Soft Dump"; the mentioned ALETTA ROSSA 125 (1983) (a Cagiva SXT evolution) an enduro with water cooled engine and with mono shock absorber "Soft Dump" object of worship and fashion for young people of that time; the Aletta Rossa "sequel" the ELEFANT 125 produced since 1984 to 1985 (first series), another enduro "dakar" style, equippped with large fuel tank, ALETTA ORO S1 125 designed as sport bike.
First two digits of V.I.N. are:

2L = ALETTA ELECTRA
6L = ALETTA ROSSA and ELEFANT (WSXT)
8M = ALETTA ORO (WSST)

CAGIVA ALETTA ELECTRA - CAGIVA ALETTA ROSSA - CAGIVA ELEFANT - CAGIVA ALETTA ORO
(Credits: Stefano and Riccardo from Pistoia and from web)


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