Italian motorcycles are often recognized for their beautiful styling, but one brand (Ducati) tends to overshadow all of the other smaller marques. When you step outside of the Ducati world and look at the other bikes, there's much to appreciate. Recently, I've been noticing more and more really nice examples of the Moto Guzzi lineup, both current and classic, so I thought I would take a closer look at a few.
Bill Johnson, over at DucCutters, was pointing out another bike on his site, a Ducati of course, but while I was there I spotted this Moto Guzzi, the Marrano 1160 and it just struck me as a beautiful piece of work. It's the blue bike shown above and built by Das Mototec of Germany. It's a really clean makeover.
Moto Guzzi's longitudinal crank V-Twin engine has a unique look. If the styling focuses your attention on the drivetrain, like the one shown above, the bikes look great.
After seeing that I dropped over to Ghezzi Brian, the well known Guzzi aftermarket company, to check out their latest work and they have a couple of kits for modifying your bike, this one is the Sport Monza 1100 for your V11. You can add the parts and pieces in stages, body pieces first, suspension components next and finally, engine parts. It looks lighter and tighter than the stock bike and, as any Guzzi should, it shows off the engine to advantage.
One custom shop in Japan that I've mentioned before, Ritmo Sereno, does a variety of bikes, but some of their Moto Guzzis are especially impressive. Browsing their custom Guzzis should give anyone a lot of good ideas for starting their own modifications.
Some are quick to point out that these customs can look good because they don't need to meet the restrictions the manufacturer has to consider and it's a valid point but it takes nothing away from what these builders have done. Also, except for the Ghezzi Brian example, the others are modifications to older models no longer produced.
Moto Guzzi has had a number of interesting models over the years and some that don't get the attention they deserve. The Daytona, originally developed by Moto Guzzi working closely with Dr. John Wittner of Pennsylvania, who campaigned a Guzzi in the USA, the 4 valve sportbike looks good and performs very well, maybe not to the standard of Japanese bikes of early 1990s, but definitely a notch up from any standard Guzzi. Another model, only produced for a few years, the Centauro, which actually evolved from the Daytona, looks good to me and works well as a high performance sport touring machine or an all around ride. Buy one of these and you'll stand out from the crowd on bike night, because there just aren't many around and they have an impressive stance. Occasionally, you'll see one or the other come up for sale, and I think, if you like Guzzis at all, you would be smart to keep your eye out for a well maintained used example. They'll probably appreciate over the years and you'll get a lot of enjoyable riding in the meantime.
Of course, some enthusiasts don't care for Moto Guzzis at all, it's really a matter of personal preference, but to my eye, the engine really makes it. The V-Twin was designed with visual appearance in mind, with cooling fins on the cylinders and ribs cast into the cases, it's a nice piece of mechanical eye candy. The longitudinal mounting allows perfectly symmetrical dual exhausts without any extra curves and bends necessary to get equal length pipes and the shaft drive doesn't require an extra 90 degree turn to get to the rear wheel. Nothing extraordinary in these features but they're a nice little extra compared to conventional V-Twin positioning.
If you're really looking for entertainment, Koehler even makes superchargers for the Moto Guzzi V-Twin which look like a natural fit but they do seem to take up a lot of space so you would need quite a bit of room to install one.
With the new V7 Classic, a retro model bringing back the appeal of the earlier models, a lot of people may get the chance to see why Moto Guzzis are so popular with some owners. I haven't seen any makeovers of this new model yet and some might see no need for it, but there's always room for a little original thinking so we'll have to see what shows up.
If you think a Moto Guzzi might look good in your garage, if you don't already own one, check out the Moto Guzzi for sale page. If you've never really thought about owning one, they're worth considering, a V-Twin that looks better than some, (especially if you're a motorhead that looks at the engine first) sounds good and not on the road everywhere you look, it's a nice combination.