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Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi (also known as "Guzzi") is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer that has endured from the industry's infancy to its place today as the oldest European manufacturer in continuous motorcycle production. Guzzi is now one of seven brands owned by Piaggio & Co. SpA, Europe's largest motorcycle manufacturer and the world's fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer by unit sales.

Established in 1921 in Mandello del Lario, Italy, Moto Guzzi has led Italy's motorcycling manufacture, enjoyed prominence in world-wide motorcycle racing, and led the industry in ground-breaking innovation — for the greater part of its history.

Today Moto Guzzi impresses its heritage on a range of motorcycles in touring, cruising, racing and naked configurations — each with the company's iconic, air-cooled 90° V-twin engines.

History

Similar to Harley-Davidson and other storied motorcycle manufacturers that have survived for decades, Moto Guzzi has experienced a series of business cycles and a series of ownership arrangements – some complex, some brief, some that have endured. The company's history has been shaped by the importance of racing, engineering innovation and a constant adaptation to the changes in the motorcycle industry since its inception 1921.

1921–1966 - Origins

Moto Guzzi was conceived by two aircraft pilots and their mechanic serving in the Corpo Aeronautico Militare (the Italian Air Corp, CAM) during World War I: Carlo Guzzi, Giovanni Ravelli and Giorgi Parodi. By happenstance assigned to the same Miraglia Squadron based outside Venice, the three became close, despite starkly different socio-economic backgrounds. The trio envisioned creating a motorcycle company after the war. Guzzi would engineer the motor bikes, Parodi (scion of wealthy Genovese ship-owners) would finance the venture, and Ravelli (already a famous pilot and motocycle racer) would promote the bikes with his racing prowess. Guzzi and Parodi (along with Parodi's brother) formed Moto Guzzi in 1921. Ravelli, ironically, had died just days after the war's end in an aircraft crash – and is commemorated by the eagle's wings that form the Moto Guzzi logo.

Carlo Guzzi and Giorgio Parodi — along with Giorgio's brother Angelo – created a privately held silent partnership "Società Anonima Moto Guzzi" on 15 March 1921 – for the purpose of (according to the original articles of incorporation) "the manufacture and the sale of motor cycles and any other activity in relation to or connected to metallurgical and mechanical industry".

The formation of the company hinged on an initial loan of two thousand Lira from the Parodis' father, Emanuele Vittorio, which he gave on 3 January 1919, offering the balance of the loan upon his review of the project's progress:

Dear Giorgio, you can let both your partners know that I will offer you for your first 1,500 or 2,000 Lire. Although with the condition that the sum, under no circumstances, shall be increased. Likewise, I reserve the right to supervise your progress before giving my agreement to this project.

The company was legally based in Genoa, Italy, with its headquarters in Mandello. The very earliest motorcycles bore the name G.P. (Guzzi-Parodi), though the marque quickly changed to Moto Guzzi. As the only actual shareholders, the Parodi's wanted to shield their shipping fortunes by avoiding confusion of name G.P. with Giorgio Parodi's initials. Carlo Guzzi initially received royalties for each motorcycle produced, holding no ownership in the company that bore his name. In 1946 Moto Guzzi formally incorporated as Moto Guzzi S.p.A. with Giorgio Parodi as chairman.

From the 1930s until the 1960s, Moto Guzzi was the largest marque among Italian motorcycle manufacturers . Carlo Guzzi's first engine design was a horizontal single that dominated the first 45 years of the company's history in various configurations. Through 1934, each engine bore the signature of the mechanic who built it. As originally envisioned, the company used racing to promote the brand. In the 1935 Isle of Man TT, Moto Guzzi factory rider Stanley Woods performed an impressive double victory with wins in the Lightweight TT as well as the Senior TT.

Until the mid 1940s, the traditional horizontal four-stroke single cylinder 500 cc engines outfitted with one overhead and one side valve (also known as: IOE, inlet over exhaust or F-head) were the highest performance engines Moto Guzzi sold to the general public. By contrast, the company supplied the official racing team and private racers with higher performance racing machines with varying overhead cam, multi-valve configurations and cylinder designs.

In the 1950s, Moto Guzzi, along with the Italian factories of Gilera and Mondial, led the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing. With durable and lightweight 250 cc and 350 cc bikes designed by Giulio Carcano, the firm dominated the middleweight classes. The factory won five consecutive 350 cc world championships between 1953 and 1957. In realizing that low weight alone might not continue to win races for the company, Carcano designed the V8 500 cc GP race bike — whose engine was to become one of the most complex engines of its time. Despite the bike's having led many races and frequently posted the fastest lap time, it often failed to complete races because of mechanical problems. Ultimately, the V8 was not developed further as Moto Guzzi withdrew (together with the main competitors Gilera and Mondial) from racing after the 1957 season — citing escalating costs and diminishing motorcycle sales. By the time of its pull out from Grand Prix racing, Moto Guzzi had won 3,329 official races, 8 World Championships, 6 Constructor's Championships and 11 Isle of Man TT victories.

The period after World War II was as difficult in Mandello del Lario as it was elsewhere in post-war Europe. The solution was production of inexpensive, lighter cycles. The 1946 "Motoleggera", a 65 cc lightweight motorcycle became very popular in post-war Italy. A four-stroke 175 cc scooter known as the "Galletto" also sold well. Though modest cycles for the company, the lighter cycles continue to feature Guzzi's innovation and commitment to quality. The step-through Galletto initially featured a manual, foot-shifted three-speed (160 cc) configuration then later a four-speed (175 cc) set-up by the end of 1952. The displacement was increased to 192 cc in 1954 — electric start was added in 1961. Moto Guzzi was limited in its endeavors to penetrate the important scooter market as motorcycle popularity waned after WWII. Italian scooter competitors would not tolerate an incursion from Moto Guzzi. By innovating the first large-wheeled scooter, Guzzi competed less directly with manufacturers of small-wheeled scooters such as Piaggio (Vespa) and Lambretta. To illustrate the delicate balance within the Italian post-war motorcycle and scooter markets, when Guzzi developed their own prototype for a small-wheeled scooter, Lambretta retaliated with a prototype for a small V-twin motorcycle – threatening to directly compete on Moto Guzzi's turf. The two companies compromised: Guzzi never produced their small-wheeled scooter and Lambretta never manufactured the motorcycle. Notably, the drive train that Lambretta made in their 1953 motorcycle prototype remarkably resembles the V-twin + drive shaft arrangement that Guzzi developed more than ten years later, ultimately to become iconic of the company. The Lambretta Museum in Rodano Italy has one of the two Lambretta prototype motorcycles and the single prototype Guzzi small-wheeled scooter on display.

By 1964, the company was in full financial crisis. Emanuele Parodi and his son Giorgio had died, Carlo Guzzi had retired to private life, and direction passed to Enrico Parodi, Giorgio's brother. Carlo Guzzi died on November 3 1964 in Mandello, after a brief hospital stay in Davos.

1967–1973 - SEIMM years

In February 1967, SEIMM (Società Esercizio Industrie Moto Meccaniche), a state controlled receiver, took ownership of Moto Guzzi. The SEIMM oversight saw Moto Guzzi adapting to a cultural shift away from motorcycles to automobiles. The company focused on popular lightweight mopeds including the Dingo and Trotter — and the 125 cc Stornello motorcycle. Also during the SEIMM years that Guzzi developed the 90° V twin engine — designed by Giulio Cesare Carcano — which would become iconic of Moto Guzzi.

Though Moto Guzzi has employed engines of myriad configurations, none has come to symbolize the company more than the air-cooled 90° V-twin with a longitudinal crankshaft orientation and the engine's transverse cylinder heads projecting prominently on either side of the bike. The original V-twin was designed in the early 1960s by engineer Giulio Cesare Carcano, designer of the DOHC V8 Grand Prix racer. The air-cooled, longitudinal crankshaft, transverse cylinder, pushrod V-twin began life with 700 cc displacement and – designed to win a competition sponsored by the Italian government for a new police bike. The sturdy shaft-drive, air-cooled V-twin won, giving Moto Guzzi renewed competitiveness. This 1967 Moto Guzzi V7 with the original Carcano engine has been continuously developed into the 1200 cc, versions offered today (2006). Lino Tonti redesigned the motor for the 1971 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. This engine is the basis of the currently used 850 cc, 1100 cc and 1200 cc Guzzi engines. Notably, the longitudinal crankshaft and orientation of the engine creates a slight gyroscope effect, with a slightly asymmetrical behavior in turns.

1973–2000 - De Tomaso years

After experiencing financial difficulties in the late 1960s, De Tomaso Industries Inc. (D.T.I. Group or DTI), manufacturer of the De Tomaso sports and luxury cars, owned by Argentinian industrialist Alejandro de Tomaso, purchased SEIMM (and thereby Moto Guzzi) along with Benelli and Maserati in 1973. Under Tomaso's stewardship, Moto Guzzi returned to profitability, though other reports suggest a period of limited investment in Moto Guzzi followed attributed to DTI using Moto Guzzi financially prioritizing their automotive ventures.

In 1979 a small block version of the air-cooled V-twin designed by engineer Lino Tonti was introduced as the V35. Radical when introduced, the design featured horizontally split crankcases and heron heads. The former was a common feature of contemporary japanese motorcycle design, whilst the latter was widely used in car engines. Both features allow more efficient mass production and also the design of the engine and associated components cut the weight from of the contemporary 850 T3 to the of the V35. The power of the original V35 at was competitive with engines of comparable displacement of the period — later larger versions (V50, V65, V75) were rapidly outclassed by competing water cooled engines. Notably, the Breva and Nevada today feature a descendent of Tonti's V35 engine: the 750 cc V-twin, rated at . With its ease of maintenance, durability and even, flat torque curve, the engine design remains suitable to everyday, real-world situations.

As Guzzi continued to develop the V-twin, power was increased in the mid 1980s when Guzzi created 4 valve versions of the "small block" series. Of these, the 650 and the 750 were rated at and respectively. The production of the 4-valve "small block" engines ended in the later 1980s.

Moto Guzzis have used an hydraulic integrated brake system, where the right front disc works off the handlebar lever, while the left front and the rear disc work off the foot brake. Rudge-Whitworth (motorcycles) used an early integrated, anti-lock, braking system in 1925.

The cartridge front fork used in Guzzi's motorcycles of the later 1970s and 1980s is a Guzzi invention. Instead of containing the damping oil in the fork it is in a cartridge. Oil in the fork is purely for lubrication.

Still under the De Tomaso umbrella, in 1988, Benelli and SEIMM merged to create Guzzi Benelli Moto (G.B.M. S.p.A. ). During this period, Moto Guzzi existed as an entity within the De Tomaso owned G.B.M., but in 1996 celebrated its 75th birthday and the return of its name to Moto Guzzi S.p.A. In 1996, De Tomaso became Trident Rowan Group , also known as TRG.

2000–2004 - Aprilia years

Under the helm of Ivano Beggio, Aprilia S.p.A acquired Moto Guzzi S.p. A on 14 April 2000 for $65 million. According to the original press release, the intention had been that Moto Guzzi would remain headquartered in Mandello del Lario and would share Aprilia's technological, R&D capabilities and financial resources as well. The arrangement would remain short-lived, as Aprilia itself stumbled financially. At the same time Aprilia attempted to diversify in other areas of manufacturing, new Italian laws required helmets for motorcyclists and raising insurance rates for teenage motorcyclists, severely affected the company's profitability. Nonetheless, Aprilia had committed large sums to renovating the Mandello Moto Guzzi factory – renovations that were ultimately completed. Notably, Ducati Motor Holding again made an offer for Moto Guzzi during Aprilia's financial difficulties, as it had before, when Aprilia had purchased Moto Guzzi in 2000. Other potential buyers included Kymco of Taiwan and Bombardier of Canada (Kymco reportedly making the highest offer). The Moto Guzzi assembly line closed for a short period in March 2004, due to the financial difficulties.

2004 onwards - Piaggio years

On 30 December 2004, Piaggio & Co. S.p.A acquired Aprilia and thereby Moto Guzzi, forming Europe's largest motorycle manufacturer. Moto Guzzi S.p. A officially becomes a Unico Azionista of Piaggio, part of Immsi S.p.A. Investments have allowed introduction of a series of competitive new models in rapid succession. US Moto Guzzi (and Aprilia) dealers experienced considerable parts supply difficulties during the ownership transition, though by summer of 2007, parts supplies were running smoothly .

Key Moto Guzzi people

The following is a list of key people associated with Moto Guzzi since its launch.

Founders:

  • Carlo Guzzi (1889–1963): conceived the marque with Giovani Ravelli and Giorgio Parodi – each members of the mechanics Italian Air Corp. He died in November 1963 aged 75.
  • Giorgio Parodi (1897–1955): aircraft pilot, whose father financed the original company.
  • Giovanni Ravelli (d. 1918): one of the original three friends who envisioned a company that would engineer and sell motorcycles—what was later to become Moto Guzzi—was not present at the formal birth of Moto Guzzi in 1921, having perished in a 1918 air crash. At the time he met Guzzi and Parodi, he had already established himself as an accomplished motorcycle racer, having raced in the 1913 Tourist Trophy on a Premier 500.

Engineers:

  • Giulio Cesare Carcano: engineer with Guzzi from 1936–1966, inventor of the DOHC V8 engine and the air-cooled V-twin that became synonymous with Moto Guzzi. He died in September 2005 after a second career as a Naval Architect, but remained in service to Moto Guzzi into his retirement.
  • Umberto Todero: Joining Moto Guzzi in 1939, his career spanned from the days of the original founders, through the SEIMM, de Tomaso, and Aprilia years, into the ownership of Piaggio. He died while still in service to the company in February 2005.
  • Lino Tonti: engineer, joined the company in 1967 to replace Carcano, developed the V7 Sport, the small block V50, and the Tonti Frame.

Racers:

  • Giuseppe Guzzi (14 August 18826 June 1962): Carlo's brother, rode the famed GT Norge on the 1928 Arctic Circle raid to test the first motorcycle rear swingarm suspension.
  • Stanley Woods: esteemed motorcycle racer who captained Moto Guzzi's to numerable Isle of Man TT wins.
  • Omobono Tenni: celebrated 47 victories racing for Moto Guzzi in the period between 1933 and 1948.
  • Bill Lomas: won the 1955 and 1956 350 cc world championship for Moto Guzzi, defeating multi-cylinder machines on his and aerodynamic single-cylinder bike. The Mandello Guzzi Museum has a section devoted to Lomas' two world title wins and also his outings on the legendary Moto Guzzi Grand Prix 500 cc V8.
  • John Wittner: American dentist, highly skilled pilot and mechanic, craftsman of the 1000 Daytona, with engineer Umberto Todero.

Production figures

  • 1929 2,500 units Italian Moto Guzzi Entry
  • 1971 46,487 units (historic high)
  • 1993 3,274 units (historical low)
  • 1994 4,300 units (approx).
  • 1997 5,600 units (approx)
  • 1998 5,647 units
  • 1999 6,275 units
  • 2004 fewer than 4,000 units
  • 2005 fewer than 5,000 units
  • 2006 greater than 10,000 units

Technical innovations

Moto Guzzi has introduced critical motorcycling innovations throughout its history:

  • First prototype motorcycle shaft drive (first production credit: BMW)
  • First linked brakes on a motorcycle
  • First cartridge forks
  • First motorcycle manufacturer to use AGM batteries
  • First motorcycle center stand: the 1921 Normale

CARC

(Cardano Reattivo Compatto): Above a certain power level the competing forces of drive-shaft arrangements can severely disrupt the suspension of a motorcycle (especially at application of throttle), a phenomenon called "shaft jacking". Moto Guzzi introduced its first anti-jacking system with the Daytona in 1993 and evolved that design though the 2005 V11 Sport. Guzzi later introduced their CARC system, emulating the BMW Paralever design and serving the same function. Kawasaki introduced its Tetra-lever system for similar reasons on the Kawasaki Concours 14 (also known as the 1400 GTR). Notably, Arturo Magni (1925-2005) had sold "parallelogrammo" rear suspension kit in the early 1980s to resolve similar anti-torque issues.

Moto Guzzi's current Breva 750, Nevada 750, and California Vintage fall below the threshold that requires an anti-jacking drive-shaft system.

The Breva 1100, Norge, Bellagio, Stelvio and 1200 Sport feature Guzzi's recently patented swingarm system, marketed as Compact Reactive Shaft Drive — also known as Ca. R.C. or CARC – introduced with the Breva 1100 in 2005. The system separates the shaft final drive’s torque reaction from the suspension via floating torque arms and thereby eliminates the abruptness typical of shaft drive systems on acceleration or throttle-release — still providing a quiet, reliable and low maintenance drive system. Reviewers have observed excellent braking performance and drive train smoothness attributable to the CARC system.

First rear swingarm suspension

Moto Guzzi created the first single-sided swingarm rear suspension: By 1928, long-distance motorcycle travel was limited by the lack of an effective rear suspension design. Until then, alternative designs sacrificed torsional rigidity – gaining comfort but severely compromising handling. Carlo Guzzi and his brother Giuseppe designed an elastic frame using a sheet-steel box enclosing four springs, together with a swingarm in tubes and sheet metal. The first bike to employ the suspension was named the G.T. (for Gran Turismo, Grand Touring), and to prove the suspension – and gain publicity for Moto Guzzi – the brothers conceived a challenging journey from Mandello del Lario to Capo Nord in northern Norway. Despite the very poor condition of European roads at that time, Giuseppe Guzzi reached the Artic Circle in four weeks. The elastic frame rear suspension was immediately introduced to production machines, transforming the usability of the motorcycle as an everyday form of transportation. Moto Guzzi could rightly claim inventing the first modern rear suspension – a breakthrough leading to the first genuine touring motorcycles. In 2006, Moto Guzzi retraced the 'raid' of 1928 to introduce the Norge 1200.

First DOHC V8 motorcycle engine

The Moto Guzzi Grand Prix V8, introduced in 1955, was a 500 cc racing motorcycle fitted with a V8 engine. The engine was conceived by Giulio Carcano, Enrico Cantoni, Umberto Todero, Ken Kavanagh and Fergus Anderson just after the 1954 Monza Grand Prix and designed by Dr. Carcano. The 500 cc V8 had 2 valves per cylinder. Bore and stroke were 44.0 x 40.5 mm. Power was in the region of 80 bhp at 12,000 rpm. Approximately 10-15 bhp more than the rival 4 cylinder MV Agustas and Gileras.

The engine and the bike were without precedent. The motorcycle proved capable of achieving – 30 years before the speed was reached again in Grand Prix motorcycle racing. However, the Otto Cilindri proved difficult to ride, as well as complex and expensive to build and maintain—bikes suffered broken crankshafts, overheating, seizing—all in addition to the danger the bike posed to the racers themselves. By 1957 there were two bikes available and no one willing to race the bike without further development and the bike was withdrawn.

First motorcycle wind tunnel

In 1950 Moto Guzzi created the first motorcycle wind tunnel, La Galleria del Vento, capable of testing 1:1 prototypes at the Mandello del Lario works, thereby allowing the company to market the world's first motorcycle integral fairing. The wind tunnel enabled racers to mimic real-life riding conditions and optimize their seating and body position at varying racing speeds – an unprecedented advantage for racing and production motorcycles. In motorcycle prototyping, Moto Guzzi could refine the air stream around the motorcycle itself, develop an envelope of still air around the rider, reduce frontal area, optimize air penetration, and maximize fuel economy.

The wind tunnel design is a modification of the open-circuit Eiffel type (after Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel tower in Paris), consisting of three sections. Air is drawn into the "Air Duct" with an aperture of , air speed increases as it is passed through smaller and smaller diameters reaching max wind speed in the "Test Chamber" with a diameter of , and finally is exhausted through the "Outlet/Discharge" duct containing the fan mechanism – a 3-bladed variable speed propeller driven by a electric motor.

Located outside of the testing chamber adjacent to the central section, a control room houses fan mechanism controls and the measuring instruments. Outside of the chamber is a large dial "Scala Convenzionale" or "Conventional Scale" to indicate the varying degree of resistance offered by the motorcycle (and rider) to the passing air. Around the circumference of the dial, red lights at each degree provide a visual indicator to the rider and test personnel. This large scale remains visible to the rider in the tunnel during testing and by repositioning himself on the bike he can determine the changing and optimal resistance. A second measurement tool was an alcohol-filled micro-manometer connected to a Pitot tube placed at a 90–degree angle to the airflow in the tunnel.

It is unknown to what extent the wind tunnel is used currently. The December 2005 press release for the Norge 1200 states that the bike was "thoroughly tested" in the Mandello wind tunnel. Aprilia, a company in the same group as Moto Guzzi, maintains a relationship with the aerodynamics program at the University of Perugia, where computer simulations combined with practical tests (done in smaller tunnels using scale models) can more effectively and economically provide accurate testing and feedback.

First production automatic motorcycle

The Moto Guzzi Convert, 1975–1982, @ 6,500 rpm, top speed: , 949 cc overhead valve, air-cooled transverse-cylinder 90-degree V-twin, 255 kg (560 lb)dry, price 1976 US$3,495, Sachs torque converter, two-speed, arrived on the market before the Honda 750 or 450 automatics.

First truck-motorcycle hybrid

The Ercole (Hercules), produced in 1928, capable of carrying an 800 lb (363 kg) load. Guzzi built a range of "goods vehicles" from 50 cc to 500 cc, 1928–1980.

First large wheel scooter

Though the design criteria of a scooter have grown increasingly fluid, historically a scooter featured small wheels – especially in post-war Italy. The configuration, along with a compact engine, allowed the scooter its trademark step-through design. With the 1950 introduction of the Galletto 160, Moto Guzzi pioneered the world's first large-wheel scooter, forerunner of a design formula that has grown steadily in popularity and today enjoys tremendous success. Current examples include the Piaggio BV 500 and the hugely popular Aprilia Scarabeo line of scooters. While giving up some nimbleness and (depending on the design) under-seat storage space, the larger wheels afford greater gyroscopic force and thereby greater balance. Large-wheeled scooters also reduce vulnerability to pot-holes. The Galletto not only offered larger wheels, it is the only known big-wheel scooter to carry its own 17 inch spare tire.

Motorcycle models

Moto Guzzi models currently in production include the Breva, Nevada Classic and Bellagio standards; California cruiser; Griso sport/standard hybrid; Norge 1200 sport tourer/GT; 1200 Sport and MSG-01 Corsa sportbikes; Stelvio dualsport. Guzzi has made a number of historic racing and military motorcycles.

Factory, company headquarters and museum

Since 1921, Moto Guzzi has been headquartered in Mandello del Lario on the Lecco branch of Lake Como. The facility began at a size of , and by the early 1950s Moto Guzzi covered with a workforce of over 1,500. As of 1999, the complex included one, two and three story buildings of over , operating at approximately 50% of production capacity.

During its ownership tenure, Aprilia considered moving the entire operation to Monza, under protest from the Guzzisti and Mandello factory workers. Instead, Aprilia renovated the factory in 2004 at a cost of $45 million.

The original Mandello site remains home to the company's headquarters, the production facility, the historic wind tunnel, the company library, and the Museum. The Moto Guzzi Museum displays models from the company's history, engines that retrace Guzzi's engineering history, and a series of important prototypes. The museum is open to the public, and includes a gift shop featuring books, clothing and accessories. Moto Guzzi currently employs roughly 250–300 employees, making over 10,000 bikes per year.

For decades, the Moto Guzzi factory carried a set of internally lit block letters along the rooftop (and also over the entry gate) spelling "Moto Guzzi". In May 2007, the original roof sign, old and worn, was replaced with a new brighter sign carrying the current official logo and script. At the same time, the factory entrance gate received a new rectangular version of the sign.

Engineering, design and styling

Frame design

Before the Tonti Frame, several Guzzis used a frame known as the Loop Frame. It was at the time, considered sufficient.

Engineered by Umberto 'Lino' Tonti, the Tonti frame represented a significant breakthrough for Moto Guzzi, giving the company a new and up-to-date structural backbone for its cycles beginning with the famed V7 Sport of 1971. Tonti designed the frame with racing in mind, with the goals of mass centralization, lighter weight and compactness. The frame is especially light and strong, and remains in use to this day in modified form in the small block Breva 750 and Nevada Classic and in the big block California. The design contrasted sharply with competitors' frame designs at the time of its introduction; many motorycles were noted for their "hinge in the middle" feel. Notably, the frame tilts the engine slightly rearward.

The Tonti frame was engineered for stiffness using short, straight tubes working well with the engine design and allowing the main backbone to pass through the cylinder splay and connect the steering head to the swingarm in the shortest possible distance.

The frame hugs the engine tightly, giving 'Tonti' big-blocks a low center of gravity and compact overall dimensions. Unladen, 'Tonti' Guzzis are very small, low and easy to handle. Detachable lower-frame tubes accommodate engine access and can be modified for specific applications such as floorboards, pegs, etc.

Dr. John Whittner later adapted a frame design known as the spine frame, a version of which would be incorporated into the early Daytonas, Centauros, and 1100 Sports.

Styling

Moto Guzzi also has its own Design and Styling studio at the Mandello del Lario works, and in recent years (beginning during the Aprilia tenureship), Moto Guzzi has used independent Italian agency Marabese Design for the V11, V10 Centauro, Breva 750 850 and 1100, Griso and Norge. Marabese Design was founded in 1997 and is led by Luciano Marabese along with Rodolfo Frascoli and Riccardo Marabese. Moto Guzzi worked with Ghezzi & Brian on the MGS-01 Corsa.

It remains unclear what role Piaggio's Pontedera headquarters plays with the ongoing design of Moto Guzzi models.

Logo, Guzzisti & brand loyalty

  • The Moto Guzzi Logo: Giovanni Ravelli, Giorgio Parodi and Carlo Guzzi had envisioned the creation of a motorcycle company after WWI. When Ravelli was killed in a plane crash just days after the end of the war, Parodi and Guzzi chose to commemorate Ravelli by choosing as the emblem of their company, the symbol that represented their camaraderie and their common passion for flight: the insignia of the Italian Air Corp, l’aquila ad ali spiegate, the winged eagle.

Logo Evolution: Originally, the emblem consisted solely of the gold eagle (with wings spread) over the Moto Guzzi lettering, usually in a sans serif typeface. From the late seventies to the early eighties, the eagle was heavily stylized, with the upper edge of the outspread wings forming a smooth, horizontal line. The late eighties saw a return to the less stylized gold eagle. The nineties saw the eagle and Moto Guzzi script on a flat red oval with a gold band along its perimeter. Circa 2004, the emblem reached its current, three-dimensionalized form.

  • Guzzisti: Moto Guzzi fans are known world wide as Guzzisti or alternatively Guzzista — the appassionatissimi or passionate ones.
  • GMG: Beginning in 2001, Moto Guzzi has annually hosted Giornate Mondiali Guzzi (aka GMG or World Guzzi Days), inviting fans to Mandello. In 2006 over 15,000 Guzzi fans from over 20 countries traveled to Mandello for the event. GMG 2007 took place on 14,15 & 16 September, 2007, with 17,000 Guzzisti attending, the introduction of the Griso 8V, a Museum exhibit “Moto Guzzi e i Motori” (Moto Guzzi's Engines), display of the first Griso 8V off the assembly line (awarded by raffle), and 500 gift sets of commemorative 'intake valves.' Another exhibit, “Guzzi Art”, featured the work of students at the European Design Institute.
  • Demo Days: Following the lead of other motorcycle companies — and to cultivate brand and product familiarity, Moto Guzzi of North America, Inc. started a program in 2006 called Demo Days, whereby an eighteen wheeler travels the country with sixteen demo bikes for dealer and club events — to provide no-cost test rides of the company's range of bikes. The operation is subcontracted to Barrett Moving, is partially underwritten by dealers, and requires participating dealers to enlist volunteers and organize a demo course for forty -minute rides. Riders must first provide proof of a motorcycle license and insurance — and sign a legal release.
  • MGWC: Moto Guzzi World Club, the official worldwide club of Moto Guzzi, formed 2002 at GMG, publishes quarterly Aquile.
  • MGNOC: Moto Guzzi National Owners Club formed in 1970, serving 3200 members in each of the 50 states and 16 countries internationally — organizing sub-chapters, events and rallies.
  • Police and Military Models: Through various periods of its history, Moto Guzzi has produced models specifically for military and police forces. Notably, the Italian police and military and various US police departments (e.g. LAPD) have used Moto Guzzi bikes in their fleets. Guzzi currently markets police versions of model range — the Breva (all three models) most commonly, as well as the Norge.

Moto Guzzi in popular culture

Notable Moto Guzzi owners

  • Nicolas Cage owns several Moto Guzzi's.
  • Ewan McGregor purchased the first Moto Guzzi Griso to arrive at his local dealer. McGregor also attended GMG 2007.
  • Billy Joel rides a Moto Guzzi Jackal.
  • Peter Egan owns a Moto Guzzi.
  • James May owns a Moto Guzzi.
  • Dale Chihuly owns an antique Moto Guzzi Motoleggera 65.
  • Sean Connery sat on a Moto Guzzi with 'Sheriff' emblazoned across its front fairing in a famous photograph that hangs in the Moto Guzzi Museum at Mandello del Lario.
  • Don Williams, senior editor of Robb Report Motorcycling, rides a Moto Guzzi Griso.

In Film:

  • The James Bond movie Octopussy features military Moto Guzzi escort Eldorado: The convoy is buzzed by a light aircraft and the bikes go down.
  • Ann Margaret rides a Guzzi in Il Profeta (The Prophet), (1968).
  • The 1995 film A Month by the Lake is set in a hillside village on Lake Como, Italy near the Moto Guzzi headquarters, and features several Moto Guzzi's in the film.
  • The movie Harold and Maude features a Moto Guzzi V7.
  • The movie Hooper features a Moto Guzzi Eldorado.
  • A Moto Guzzi Falcone is featured in the movie The Italian Job.
  • The film La Vita e Bella (Life Is Beautiful) features a Moto Guzzi SuperAlce.
  • The film Captain Corelli's Mandolin features a Moto Guzzi SuperAlce.
  • Chris Tucker is seen riding a Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport in the movie Rush Hour.
  • The movie Magnum Force features a Moto Guzzi Eldorado.
  • A Moto Guzzi SuperAlce plays a pivotal role in El Alamein - La linea del fuoco (El Alamein: The Line of Fire), a WWII film highlighting the service of the Italian Army in North Africa.

In Literature:

  • Moto Guzzi is featured prominently in the book The Perfect Vehicle: What It is about Motorcycles. (Holbrook Pierson, Melissa (1998). The Perfect Vehicle: What It is about Motorcycles. W W Norton & Co Ltd. )

In Music:

  • Moto Guzzi is featured in the song lyrics of Scritti Politti's song Boom! There She Was, and Cake's Rock 'N Roll Lifestyle.

See also

References

External links

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