The DOT Vi-Vi - Racers and Sports Mopeds.
A 50cc DOT Vi-Vi 1962 - being given a good run at the 2012 Festival of 1000 Bikes by Pat Davy.
The 1957 Dot Vi-Vi mopeds were not designed or built from scratch at the Manchester factory but were added to augment the DOT range when the Moped craze started to make itself felt in the late 50s early 60s.
These were imports from a joint alliance venture between a German and Italian Company. They were sourced from Italy with cycles parts and assembly by the Italian factory Officine Viberti, using the 2 speed Victoria 50cc engine from VICTORIA Werke AG. The Italian company was primarily a Trailer builder and fabricator of Bus and Coach bodies. (see footnote)
A brief history on the two companies:
Victoria was a bicycle manufacturer in Nürnberg Germany that made motorcycles from about 1901 until 1966. It should not be confused with a lesser-known, unrelated Victoria Motorcycle Company in Glasgow Scotland that made motorcycles between 1902 and 1928
Officine Viberti was an Italian manufacturer of trailers , coach and bus bodies and mopeds, better known by its integral Monotral chassis-less, self-supporting coaches and buses. It was based in Turin . Viberti made the Vi-Vi moped from 1955 until 1957 in alliance with the German motorcycle manufacturer Victoria.
A road going DOT Vi-Vi with the Victoria engine
A Victoria Avanti show ing the twin down tube very close thgether. Vi-Vi fames had twin downtubes that were either side of the engine and back to the rear frame tubes
A sales picture of the early Avanti showing the deep valanced front mudguard. inserted because the webmaster had one in the early 60s.
The Vitoria Avanti was a good sports moped and there were already some over here in the UK. They compeated in the market with the early ITOMs, NSU Quickley and other Italian bikes. It was easy to see why DOT looked for a machine similar to this to bring into their range. The engine was good but the frame needed a little more development to provide a good alround ride.
Enter the DOT Vi-Vi. This had the engine and the Italian style and wes seen by DOT to fill the gap in the market that was being made by the need for a first bike for the teenager or easy and cheap transport for the 'get to work' brigade. It was also seen as a possible mount for the 50cc racing class that was gaining momentum in the UK.
Gerard Periam wrote an article for the Motorcycle News after his visit to a race circuit to witness these little racing 'Wasps' and got the bug for 50cc racing..
DOT 'FLYING FLEAS’ BUZZ OULTON PARK
WE'RE having the whole staff inoculated. This racing bug is sweeping through the office to such an extent that in less time than it takes sprinter Charlie Rous to cover a quarter mile we shall have no one left to write about the "flying fleas" we'll all be riding them.
Frankly, until I went to Oulton Park on Tuesday to watch a try-out of the prototype DOT fifty racer my enthusiasm for the little ones had not exactly reached fever heat. But now 'I'm with it man'. Onehundred per cent,
This was taken at the TTRA Castletown Display
in the Isle of Man at the TT in 2000
Dennis Holden on the DOT Vi-Vi racer. We need a new copy of this picture.
On an otherwise deserted Oulton Park track, Holden gives the DOT its first outing.
Spares service: One of the reasons for using the Vivanti engine, Bert told me, is that there is an excellent spares service already in being, the Victoria moped having been marketed successfully for some years, and having a chain of established agents.
Note that the footrests are mounted independently of the pivot rear fork. Also the wider spaced front tubes.
The Dot development job was suffering from plug trouble and was a little reluctant to start but it's no problem pushing an 80 pound lightweight! Dennis got into his leathers and went off briskly through Cascades, Island Bend, Esso Bend and on to Knickerbrook. This was his first ever ride on a 50cc race bike and as such a bit of an eye opener
You will have guessed that Dennis found it a bit disconcerting on the little bike as it is a very different experience for riders who are used to heavier motorbikes. Four of MCN's staff riders have ridden 50 cc racers and all of them agree that their overall reaction was similar to Dennis Holden's.
In use the rear suspension was found to be on the soft side but this was lightweight Italian stuff and production machines will have special Girling rear legs, Bert mentioned, incidentally that the bottom half of the Victoria engine has now been used for four years and has not had to be touched.
Modified barrel. In production there will be an alloy head, fining will be larger than on the prototype and there will be a modified barrel, head and piston.
Bert Foster, the Newton Heath, Manchester, engineer who has built the prototype Dot; not only brought the machine, but his son Peter, who works with him, Dennis Holden who is to race the fifty, Harold Cosgrove, an experienced 50 cc racer, and Bob Howarth, who to add a little contrast to the proceedings had his two-fifty M.V.
I had a run on Harold Cosgrove's much modified machine which began life as a Dot-Vivi moped that Tery Burgess used to ride. It is only a two-speeder but nevertheless Harold finished 18th of 40 at a Bemsee meeting at Silverstone last season and also finished in the Snetterton Enduro,
Reliable engine? The little engine bursts into full song as soon as it is paddled off and has proved utterly reliable. The frame was built by Bert Foster and is very similar to theone to be used for the Dot. I thought it was a grand little job and I think the new Dots will be too.
(This is Harold Cosgrove with his DOT race bike at the 1961 Snetterton Enduro. His co-rider was Dave Clarke. The little bike ran well and and finished the Enduro, even manageing the inclines of the circuit with its 2 gears, that gave problems to some of the other bikes.) Webmasters comments.
Here's a tip then for two-stroke racing from Bert Foster, "If you get a good plug look after it—don't give it away and don't lend it. Plugs are like a thousand Japanese babies" “they may all look alike to use but they are not”
The following picture gallery is of Harold Cosgrove's DOT racer. This bike competed in the 1961 Enduro and in the 1962 TT with Dave Clarke on board.
Mary Cosgrove speaking to Bert Foster
Bert Foster working on one of the Vi-Vi racers
Harold Cosgrove's DOT Vi-Vi Racer
The flattened megaphone exhaust
Carb and Remote-float bowl
The engine suspended from the frame loop
Head stock and steering with chin pad for long distances.
An Endurance size tank
Research:JEEP's Archives Jeep has the copyright to some of the photographs H Cosgrove has the copyright to some of the photographs and the video Motorcycle NewsMotorcycle MagazinesOn-Line encyclopediaNews Paper Cuttings
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Terry Burgess on the DOT Vi-VI. This is the same bike as in the Harold Cosgrove Gallery below but as it was road legal it could be tasted on the open roads.
Converted cine film - No sound
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