Safari

July 13, 2012

 Safari bigmade in Italy by MZV or Rovet
Minarelli V1, V1H, V1L, C2, P4 engine

Fox made in Italy by Rovet   Zanetti front engine

 

Zanetti Bicizeta

1970 Zanetti Bicizeta

1970 Zanetti Bicizeta

Zanetti C50 motor

1960’s Zanetti motor

MBISafari is a trade name made by Motor Bike Imports, Inc (MBI), 6005 S Route 130, Pennsauken NJ 08110. MBI began in 1964-65 as First American Bicizeta, Inc, importing the popular Italian motor bike Bicizeta, a front engine, friction drive, pull start, 50cc automatic, made by Motori Zanetti of Bologna Italy.

 

1979 Safari Super Scat

1979 Safari Super Scat

1979 Safari Super Scat

1979 Safari Super Scat

MZVIn 1968-69 MBI contracted MZV of Bologna Italy to produce mini-bikes and mini-cycles using the Zanetti engines. They were given the brand name Safari Scat. Apparently the Safari Scat mini bike line of the early 1970’s  included or became street legal full size mopeds with off road tires and fenders by around 1979. There are currently no pictures or details of those early Safari Scat mini bikes. There is only this 1979 Safari Super Scat.

 

1975 Safari Fox

’75 Safari Fox

1975 Safari Fox

’75 Safari Fox

1976 Safari Fox

1976 Safari Fox

In the early 1970’s MBI went in partnership with an Italian engineer and started their own bicycle manufacturing company, named Rovet. Rovet made the Safari Fox, using the Zanetti front engine. Unlike the Bicizeta that was a folding step-thru frame, the Fox was a non-folding, non-step-thru frame. The compact Zanetti produced 1hp and maxed out a little below 20mph. Also the Fox was DOT approved for US streets.

1975 Safari Ridget

1975 Safari Ridget

 

In 1975-76 MBI began to import complete mopeds, made by MZV with Minarelli V1 engines. They were called Safari Ridget (no speedometer, painted fenders, no rear suspension, solo seat), Safari Super (stainless steel stripe fenders, F and R suspension, solo seat), and Safari Super Extra (speedometer, stainless steel stripe fenders, chrome rear coil springs and motorcycle type fork). Early Safari Super Extra had a solo seat. After mid-1977 they had a nicely sculpted long seat.

 

1976 Safari Fox

1976 Safari Fox

1976 Safari Super

1976 Safari Super

1976 Safari Super

1976 Safari Super

The heavy DOT tail lamps were too much for the thin stainless steel rear fender. The fender would eventually break at the tail light mount holes. To fix this, Safari had the 1977-later frames made with a large 1″ x 2″ steel washer welded to the back frame bar. The tail lamp was relocated there.
  
 
1976 Safari:            engine          fenders            wheels        controls     special  features
Safari Fox             Zannetti front engine, friction drive, 1hp  20mph
Safari Ridget          Minnarelli V1       painted     spoke wheels   Domino     step-thru
Safari Super          Minnarelli V1   stripe metal    spoke wheels   Domino     step-thru
Safari Super Extra  Minnarelli V1  stripe metal    spoke wheels   Domino     step-thru
 
1978 Safari 300MT restored by B. Small

1978 Safari Super Extra restored by B. Small

1978 Safari Super Extra

1978 Safari Super Extra

1978 Safari 300MT B.Small restoration

Super Extra     by B. Small

These early Safari’s, from 1976 until mid-1978 all had the Minarelli flattened can type exhaust, nicknamed “pancake exhaust”. Most were the 40kph (26mph) speed version for Italy, which was OK for either 25 or 30mph US states. Some were 20mph versions with a different piston, a smaller carb, 9mm instead of 12. After mid-78 they had long exhausts, which upped the speed from 26 to 29mph.

 

Safari brochure

1978 Safari

 
1978 Safari:    engine          fenders            wheels        controls     special  features
Super Extra Minnarelli V1  stripe metal    spoke wheels   Domino      step-thru
300 MT       Minnarelli V1  stripe metal    spoke wheels   Domino     top-tank
400 MT       Minnarelli V1  black plastic   spoke wheels   Domino      top-tank
Cobra         Minnarelli V1  stripe metal    spoke wheels   Domino  step-thru wide tank
Commando  Minnarelli P4   black plastic    mag wheels       OSL        top-tank
 
 
 
 
 
1978 Safari Cobra

1978 Safari Cobra

1979 Safari 400MT

1978 Safari 400MT

1978 Safari Commando

1977? Safari Commando

 

 

 

 

 

 

MBI Ad

New Safari models for 1978 had motorcycle style top mounted gas tanks. New model names were 300 MT and 400 MT (for Motorcycle Tank). The motorcycle tank models were more popular, in the US, than the step thru versions. 

 

 

 

 

1980 Safari

1980 Safari

 
1980 Safari: price       engine          fenders          wheels     controls     special features
Leader        $459   Minnarelli V1  stripe metal    spoke wheels   Domino   step-thru solo seat
300MT        $599   Minnarelli V1  stripe metal    spoke wheels   Domino     top-tank
400MT        $699   Minnarelli V1   black plastic   mag wheels     OSL         top-tank
Automix     $739   Minnarelli V1?  black plastic   mag wheels     OSL      top-tank, oil injection
Cobra         $649   Minnarelli V1  stripe metal    spoke wheels   Domino  step-thru wide tank
Commando $1100  Minnarelli P4   black plastic    mag wheels       OSL      top-tank
 
 
 
 

 

 

1981 Safari Commando

1981 Safari Commando

1983 Safari Variomatic

1983 Safari Variomatic

New for 1983-84 is the Minarelli C2 “continuous two speed” engine, on the Safari “Variomatic”. It has a variable belt pulley system, where one pulley gets bigger while the other gets smaller, continously. It is called a CVT continuously variable transmission. The result: quicker take off and better hill climbing!

 

 

 

 

1985 Safari 300MT Turbo

1985 Safari 300MT Turbo

1985 Safari 300MT Turbo black

1985 300MT restored by Bill Small

1984-85 began the newer Minarelli V1-H engine, improved with an aluminum cylinder and more cooling fins. This eliminated the need for the fan and the fan shroud. The V1-H still had the piston port intake design of the older V1. The case ID has a cast “V1”, plus a stamped “H” after it. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
1984 Safari:                       engine          fenders       wheels      controls    special features
Safari 300MT Turbo        Minnarelli V1-H   stripe metal  spoke wheels    OSL         top-tank
Safari 400MT Turbo        Minnarelli V1-H   black plastic   mag wheels     OSL         top-tank
Safari Variomatic De Lux  Minnarelli C2      plain metal    mag wheels     OSL         top-tank
Safari Commando           Minnarelli P4      black plastic   mag wheels     OSL         top-tank
1986 Safari 300MT

1986 Safari 300MT Turbo

1986 Safari 300MT Turbo

1986 Safari 400MT Turbo

1987 Safari 300MT Minarelli V1-H motor

1987 Safari 300MT Turbo
Minarelli V1-H, alum cyl.

With the floorboards on, the Minarelli V1-H looks exactly like a later V1-L. But look under the floorboards and you can see the intake goes in to the cylinder, not into the crankcase, like on the V1-L “case reed” engine.

 

 

 

1988 Safari:                       engine          fenders       wheels      controls    special features
Safari 300MT Turbo        Minnarelli V1-L   stripe metal  spoke wheels    OSL         top-tank
Safari 400MT Turbo        Minnarelli V1-L   black plastic   mag wheels     OSL         top-tank
Safari Commando       Minnarelli 4-speed  black plastic   mag wheels     OSL         top-tank
 
1990 Safari 300MT

1990 Safari 300MT

1991 Safari 300MT

1991 Safari 300MT

1990 Safari 300MT

1990 Safari 300MT

The V1-L one speed case reed engine had more take-off power and torque to climb hills than the V1-H piston port. So there was less need for all the complexity, extra cost and extra weight of the Minarelli C2 two speed engine. 
 
 
 
 

Note that Safari mopeds did not say the model name anywhere. As a result, many people call their Safari mopeds the maker name, MZV, since that is the only other name on the frame. Also the model name MZV is used because it is what Safari’s are called in Italy and Europe. There is very little information about MZV in the Wheels of Italy pages, or anywhere else.

 
1986 MZV Cobra

1986 MZV Cobra

MZV Cambridge Senior

’76 MZV Cambridge Senior

1972 MZV Cambridge Montreal

’72 MZV Cambridge Montreal

Early 1970's MZV Cambridge

Early 1970’s MZV Cambridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safari lasted much longer than most US brands, 1975 to about 1991. Thanks to, and hats off to, Mr. John Oddone, for the info about his father’s company MBI, and Safari early models and history. 

 

Here is a 1980 Safari Owners Manual. Thanks to Moped Central.

Safari 115mm brake

Safari 118 x20 brake

Safari 115 F brk plate

Safari 118mm front plate
alum. casting can crack

Safari Commando rear wheel

1981 Safari Commando
Grimeca 16 x 1.60 
118mm brake drum

These Safari brake pictures are for reference. 

These brakes are also for 2001-03 Tomos A35 Revival rear. See Brakes 118 x 20 Grimeca  

 

 

 

 

OSL smallSafari components: Minarelli V1, V1-H, V1-L engine, or Minarelli 4-speed, Dellorto SHA 14/12 carburetor (V1 engine), CEV lights, CEV plastic slider switches, OSL controls, Grimeca hubs and 90mm brakes or 118mm drum Razze Incrociate style mags (Commando model), CEV speedometer with LH driver. The Safari Super Extra frame has a 40mm push-in gas cap.