The strange case of the Soriano motorcycles

A new brand appears in motorcycling with the aim of revolutionizing the rules of electric mobility thanks to a motorcycle made in Italy and American capitals. Yet something does not add up.

If it had been April 1st, there would have been nothing strange about it. I would have looked for the paper fish that some marauder had stuck on my back and I would have had a laugh while stammering “I fell for it”. And instead was the 10 November and what I was seeing was not a variety show despite the dancers, a tenor and loud music. Around me fellow journalists from various newspapers, representing more or less the entire press in the engine sector, some foreign correspondents and newspapers, youtuber, in short, what is called a good coverage.

Some looked amused, others more baffled as mine must have been at some point in the presentation. What am I referring to? At the debut of the newborn – or reborn, as we will see shortly – Soriano Motori, an event that was singular in form and substance, but of which it seems to me no colleague is willing to speak specifically, all limiting themselves to reporting the bare facts, or the birth of a new motorcycle proposal. Now I'll explain better, but before let's take a step back about eighty years perché, as I said some time ago in this post, you are more credible if you have a past.

Soriano yesterday

In the late thirties a Spanish artistocrat with a passion for motors, of art and business, he had the intuition that light motorcycles could have a good market. If we think about it, there were some examples of light motorcycles at the time, but vehicles such as the Vespa or the actual moped had not yet been born.

An old Soriano motorcycle, the Forties, Spagna.

Ricardo Soriano, so it was called, he started a business that he knew for a decade, if not a great deal of relevance, at least a fair share with interesting insights into product terms and the commercial agreements that led to them, eg, even at the birth of the BONE. In the same years the Marquis of Ivanrey, this is the noble title of the engineer Soriano who had studied in Belgium and had interests ranging from art to aeronautics, from cinema to tourism, had started with another noble, the Marquis Pedroso, an automobile company. It didn't last long though. He had better luck with tourism, so much so that a certain push for the Costa del Sol and the Marbella Riviera is due to him.

Historical image of a Soriano motorcycle in action.

In short, the Marquis Soriano he was certainly a volcanic and influential man in his time and also knew how to accumulate wealth. Although his interests have shifted to other fields and he has divided himself between Spain and the States by marrying in 1907 the Italian-American of Chicago María Italia Blair Mitchell, the pioneering role of that motorcycle adventure is undeniable of which, most likely, you've never heard of it until now.

Soriano today

Marco Antonio Soriano IV poses on the Jaguar V1R.

I take the liberty of insinuating it because me too, although he defines me as a decent lover of the subject and I have been involved in motorcycles for many years, I had never come across the history of motorcycles Soriano until a few days ago. I am making amends for my ignorance. I was introduced to them by the self-styled great-grandson of the aforementioned marquis, al secolo Marco Antonio Soriano IV, protagonist of this curious rebirth.

Known information about lineages is lost a little’ over the decades: the only certain news is that in 1910 Ricardo Soriano had a daughter, Inés Soriano and Blair, then in turn became Marquess of Ivanrey. I have therefore not been able to reconstruct in these few hours the exact genealogical branch that binds the founder Ricardo Soriano with those who tell me about the rebirth of the glorious brand by introducing himself as his grandson, but I have no doubt that he is entitled to it. In any case, little changes in the continuation of our history.

Grew up on Wall Street between Nasdaq and Dow Jones indices” – cito il comunicato – “and attracted by the current change underway and by a gradually expanding sector”, Marco Antonio Soriano IV gathered us to tell us that he simply does not intend to relaunch the historic company of “family”, but wants to apply to become a real bulwark of the future green mobility. In short, he wants to do things big.

Fluorescent ballerinas introduce the presentation of Soriano Motori.

In the space set up for the presentation, with soft lights and techno music that certainly does not facilitate conversation, I immediately notice a detail: the new Soriano motorcycle, reason for our presence in that place, yes it is on stage but in the end, practically leaning against the wall as well as obviously covered. I would have expected to see it in a more central position since it is the only one present (and probably built). But even that doesn't matter, perché the real protagonist of the presentation is our New York high-finance man.

On a couple of occasions a tenor has intervened on the notes of “Permanent center of gravity” of Battiato e “it’s my life” of Bon Jovi.

Bright smile, flowing tuft, shiny shoe, he has all the trappings of the successful man of our century. With the American accent of a consummate actor he seasons an excellent Italian with some Anglo-Saxon expression and emphasizes with some insistence his attachment to our country where he has decided to set up his new industrial adventure. Marco Antonio Soriano IV is a businessman and on the back cover of his book “Entrepreneur Madness – Learn to disrupt any industry” (The madness of the entrepreneur – learn to revolutionize any sector) of which he kindly pays us homage, leaves us speechless with a curriculum that few can aspire to. A soli 16 he was already an assistant in his father's private bank and in his grandfather's chain of clinics and pharmacies (another grandfather obviously). A 20 “pours his passion into independent business partnerships focused on transformative technologies“. All clear no?

Over the years, roles such as “Senior Financial Analyst” a “The World Bank Group” and even “delegate to the United Nations” as well as prestigious roles at Goldman Sachs up to being integrated into The Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Platform. However, his activities as a broker and entrepreneur are widely declaimed on his website and on the LinkedIn page as well as on the main social networks on which it gathers a few hundred followers.

The Giaguaro is born. But it is so innovative?

So let's come to the highlight. After tekhno music and videos in which anything and nothing was shown with the redundant repetition of terms such as “disruption”, “bold”, “innovation” and so on, after dancers in the dark dressed in lights and a tenor who suddenly appears above the notes of “Permanent center of gravity”, finally our man is ready to reveal his plan. Soriano Motori begins a journey to become a reference point in electric mobility and does so starting from Italy (that's why the tenor! I think to myself). The first step is a high-performance motorcycle called the Jaguar of which there is not a single photo in motion. On the walls the renderings made on the computer follow one another up to the moment in which, helped by Marco Melandri, the Soriano heir removes the cloth from his creature with satisfaction. I will not comment on its aesthetics, since everyone can make their own tastes, and I'll just talk about the information that matters, since everyone can consult the technical data sheet.

The bike was developed by a small Italian engineering center in Galbiate (Lecco) at the time also in charge of its future production. To reveal the technical details is the person in charge of this project, the’engineer Cesare Brioschi which is the first to admit the many difficulties in facing such an important challenge and the problems associated with electric propulsion. From the stage, however,, they all seem reluctant to give details about the bike. They just emphasize the presence of two motors, liquid cooling and gearbox and clutch, certainly some originality in terms of electric motorcycles and I bet sources of trouble for the men of the engineer Brioschi. Remove these three oddities, however,, the Giaguaro has nothing else innovative. It looks big, clumsy, with a very important front section and the technical data sheet shows us a weight of 255 kg. Little is known about batteries, which should be of 20 kWh and weigh about eighty kilos by themselves. According to those who have tried it (apparently only the engineer and the owner) the performances are exciting for the great torque and for the ease and handling that the system with two engines and gearbox 5 speed (more retro) manages to donate to the Jaguar.

Soriano tomorrow?

The Jaguar specimen brought to the press presentation.

Starting a new challenge of this kind cannot be easy. Especially when you declare your goal to become the Tesla of motorcycles but show up with a bike that has very little innovative and interesting. What's more, you don't have any big industry behind you, no particular know-how gained in years of studies or productions for others, you just started with a blank sheet of paper, or rather a sketch on the napkin as the founder tells us amused. Of course, Elon Musk also started from a vision and a blank sheet of paper or almost. Apparently, the group of engineer Brioschi is at their first experience on an electric motorcycle and moreover on a project that was commissioned by Mr. Soriano, therefore not born of a previous experience. The Jaguar, in conclusion, it has no historical, but it will have a future?

Soriano Motori will bring at least two prototypes of the Giaguaro to EICMA and the program foresees the production of the pre-series of about ten models by early spring in order to push on the orders that, obviously, they can already be done on the online site. Tomorrow there should also be physical stores and Marco Antonio Soriano IV admits his ambition to have a home for his motorcycles in every city, a powder’ like Apple with its stores. The Cupertino brand is cited as an example to follow almost as much as Tesla, so much so that on his own Instagram profile the founder confronts Musk, Bezos and Bill Gates, getting only though 5 likes.

A curious post on Soriano Motori's Instagram profile.

Soriano Motori wants to become a lifestyle, not just a motorcycle manufacturer. The production of a capsule collection of garments that recall the biker aesthetic is already much more complex. Leather nails that have the originality of having been painted by an artist friend and caressed by a designer friend. In short, valuable stuff that fits into a broader program, named “Soriano Lifestyle Membership” with which it will be possible to participate in events, go on vacation to a luxury hotel, playing polo and who knows what else.

Lifestyle collection Soriano Motori.

I don't know the prices of leather jackets, but those are known for the Giaguaro proposed at launch in two versions a 25.000 euro e 32.500 Euro. The personal and entirely questionable impression that I get at the end of this short story is that we won't see many Jaguars around.

Or am I really in front of a new Elon Musk in biker style, or to a shrewd businessman who intends to exploit the bubble of sustainability and electric propulsion to attract investments.

If in the first case, Soriano Motori would really become a milestone in this sector (but certainly with another product, not with the Jaguar), in the second it would disappear in a short time with much less hype with which it appeared but with the money of some investor in the pocket. A hypothesis, questa, which would certainly not be good for the future of electric mobility and its credibility.

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