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Moto Guzzi MGR 1200 – Radical Guzzi

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Andrew in Café Racer, Racer. 52 comments


Written by Martin Hodgson.

Pedigree and history. They are two buzz words that are often thrown around by marketing departments to sell a new model of a motorcycle that shares perhaps a single bolt with the racing machine that actually earned those titles of honour and respect. But when it comes to Moto Guzzi, they have always remained a company that didn’t need to play with words to sell their bikes; they sell themselves by maintaining the pure essence of 95 years of creation and the sort of respect that comes from dominating motor racing whenever the factory rolled out the big guns. Always looking to reward their fans, whose loyalty is never questioned, the owners of Guzzi decided to team up with one of their very best service partners to create a little something special. From Radical Guzzi in Germany, here’s a whole lot of heritage and horsepower in one stand-out package – the project MGR 1200.


Not only has Moto Guzzi always been a company of Emozione e Passione (Emotion and Passion), they’ve also been pragmatic along the way. In the early ’50s the company was dominating on the race tracks of the world, wins at the Isle of Man TT and a five-year unbeaten streak in 350cc GP racing was just part of their resume. But as the Italian economy declined the company quit racing to ensure their customer bikes didn’t suffer in the down turn.

One of the many lessons they learnt from their dominance in racing was they sure could build a V-Twin, 18 years after its development the gorgeous Bicilindrica 500 was still winning race. This ability to develop technology that would stand the test of time was further enhanced with the brilliant frame designs of Lino Tonti who focussed on mass centralisation, lightweight and a compact shape that when combined with the new 90° V-twins created a formula in the 1970s that lives on in the Guzzi line up to this day.


It was with this in mind, that with the backing of Moto Guzzi, that Radical Guzzi’s head honcho Stefan Bronold and designer Kai Riemann penned the MGR 1200 project. An attempt to encapsulate all that is great about the Italian brand, throw off the shackles of being just another superbike with 200hp and no soul and create a machine that is neither retro nor super sport. It’s an amalgamation of Guzzi’s proven high-tech break throughs and their timeless designs and what a beauty she is.

To start the project the idea was to use a frame that paid tribute to the Tonti era and with the modern Bellagio model still using the steel double cradle design this would be the perfect chassis for the job. Stefan creates brilliant Guzzi’s and parts for them every working day, but having the pick of anything he wanted from the factory makes for an extra special day. So next on his order list was an engine and with a scan of the catalogue he had a full V-Twin driveline from a Stelvio sent over.


With the two major components on his bench Stefan began to bring Kai’s design to life and the frame has been modified with a new rear end to support the planned metal work. Unlike the factory Bellagio there is no big padded seat here but a beautifully sculpted tail-piece that hugs the lines of the new subframe with barely room to slide a business card between the two. The old textured leather seat provides room just for one and the colour is taken straight from the ’50s icons of the factory racers.

But if the tail-piece is beautiful the tank is simply a work of art; not only has Stefan found a way to best accentuate the lines of a different frame/engine combination but to also create a one-off piece that oozes class and racing pedigree. The knee dents allow the V configured engine to dominate the landscape, while flowing lines and hard edges defy the difficulties of having to work with an internal EFI system that often means creativity is hamstrung in the worst of ways.


There is no rear fender, instead a protection plate engraved with the projects particulars runs down the frame supports to keep the worst of the tyres debris off the engine and a minimalist front guard gets its support from cleverly crafted round bar struts. The paint work was then applied and is a special tribute to the ’50s factory team colours that became famous around the world.

“Designer Giulio Cesare Carcano insisted his race bikes be given one sparse coat; just a primer to prevent rust”

Today the colour still appears in the Moto Guzzi line up (it’s known as Corduroy Green) but when it was first applied more than sixty years ago it wasn’t a colour at all. The body work of the racers was made from ultra-thin magnesium in an absolute commitment to lightweight and so obsessed with keeping weight to a bare minimum designer Giulio Cesare Carcano insisted his race bikes be given one sparse coat; just a primer to prevent rust and the lightest primer happened to come in Green. Combined with the earthy seat matching brown tone, white stripping and graphics, MGR 1200 takes on a timeless look.


While the Stelvio might provide a 90°, longitudinally mounted, V twin that generations will recognise the technology it packs is only secondary to the brute force it is capable of punching out. The 4 valve engine with 1151cc and controlled by Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection delivers well over 100bhp but it’s the 113 Nm that make this thing pull like a freight train. But what allows it to do so in such smooth and refined way is the manner in which Guzzi integrates the entire drivetrain “The combination of a single swing arm, mono shock suspension, integrated CA.R.C shaft drive and modern technology.”

But there was no chance that Stefan would be happy to leave it stock and the huge twin 50 mm throttle bodies are fed fresh air through an exposed filter arrangement and stunningly TIG welded aluminium intakes. The exhaust gases are then expelled through a one-off stainless system built from large diameter pipe that runs under the engine to the left side of the bike where it howls into the night through twin slash cut pipes.


With all that power on tap in a lightened setup, “Öhlins racing suspension, in 43 mm upside-down front forks and the TTX-rear shock leave nothing to be desired in terms of suspension setting.” The choice of the full Öhlins package with the companies infinite number of replacement springs and endless adjustment are essential in dialling in the unique frame and driveline package.

So having gone big in the handling department the brakes are no different. Behringer braking technology supplies the radial front brake pump, two Behringer radial mounted four-piston mono-bloc calipers with 320 mm floating disc converting all that kinetic energy into heat that can be wisped away by the passing breeze. While the wheel and tyre choice was vital for Kai in telling part of the machines appeal “The 120/70 front and the 190/55 rear tyre mounted on the lightweight CNC shaped 17” Rev-Tech Aluminium wheels underline the sporty aspiration of the MGR 1200.”


Everything else is kept minimal; a small battery hides under the tail sections hump, while a classic round headlight and single speedo embrace the timeless nature of the build. Bar end mirrors let you watch the scenery disappear behind you as the big twin gets itself wound up but ultimately it’s all about the riding experience and capturing everything that Moto Guzzi fans have come to know and love in one inspirational package for all to admire.

This is best explained by the man who builds Radical Guzzis for a living, and was entrusted by the brand for such an important project, Stefan Bronold. “Cool rules; two wheels, two cylinders and 1200cc. That’s the basis. A regulation that let the creativity of the customizers run free. This project concentrates on what many motorcyclists prefer – the essence. Not on 200.000 customized bikes nor on 300 km/h, 250hp super bikes. The focus is on the essence. On the reduction.”


Thanks to Moto Guzzi Germany.

[Radical Guzzi: Web – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Moto Guzzi]

  • Awesome machine! Only one word that keeps spinning in my head: “WANT! WANT! WANT!”

  • Mike Learn

    Really nice!!!

  • the watcher

    To all those who ranted on about that nice, but ultimately puny CX, a couple of days back: bet you feel bloody silly now,eh? Look, learn, and be humbled by the awesome might of a mans’ bike! Loved it on the Glemseck vids, love it here, and man alive would I love to have it twixt my knees. And they didn’t just clear-coat over the primer, either. Whew, now we’re in real BOTY territory.

    • AB

      CX looked better 🙂

      • Yes, but this one has the torque of 3 CX!
        In the end of course everything is just a matter of taste or crackin’ power 😉

        • guvnor67

          Agreed, but don’t forget for a newcomer to our beloved hobby/lifestyle/sport, a CX is probably the easier beast (?) to learn your craft on. Personally I’d like both in my garage!! Having said that, if I had, or kept every bike I lusted over I’d need a shed as big as an Aircraft carrier .. or 2!

          • AB

            Bahahah new comer – man I’ve been riding solid for 68 years. I said it looks better. Not goes better. Purely physical.

          • guvnor67

            My response was to GeoKan, not yourself, and I’m no newbie either, 30+ years on 2 wheels including military service, and I’ve had plenty of big motor/big horsepower bikes in my time. But for a quick blast through traffic, especially for a newbie, or a short-arse a relative light bike with moderate BHP is easier than 260+kgs andlor 150 angry horses I think. But, horses for courses of course. And of course, one could argue that if you’re lookin for a cheap start to a project, especially parts wise, the plastic maggot and other previously unloved/unappreciated machines can be had for a heck of a lot less than beautiful Italian machinery!

        • AB

          I said looks better – not goes better. Make the 1200 MG look like the CX did and my pants will split.

      • Guzzto

        nope it looked like a CX that had been worked on by a skilled builder, it was still a CX.

        • AB

          And as good as this looks it is still a MG. What’s your point?

      • the watcher

        The eyes are the first to go….

    • Mario van den Broeck

      dont you cringe reading your own post?

      • the watcher

        Er, no; and I don’t understand your bile either, unless of course, your finger’s in that CX pie somehow.

        • Mario van den Broeck

          sure do, ive been racing and riding motorcycles since i was a kid, and i love the CX. why are you so offended by it ?

          • jlgace

            Nice ride.

          • Mario van den Broeck

            thx 😀

          • the watcher

            I’m not. I’ve ridden for 40+ years, never had a car, never had a car license, ridden year round, year in, year out. Now we’ve compared dick size, let me remind you; with no reference at all to the Guzzi featured here YOU had a pop at me. That said, you’re welcome to your Maggot; I’ve ridden them and they’re crap. A polished turd is still a turd.

          • the watcher

            Some folks love the VW Beetle; good luck to ’em I say – spend all your time and cash on your nasty little Nazi rust-bucket, the Hell with ya. But don’t try and tell me it’s a better car than a GT-R or whatever; they’re NOT “equal but different”, no matter how trick yours might be, OK? Sorry, but there it is.

          • Mario van den Broeck

            seen you`re profile and your comments, you`re quite the troll are you

          • Mario van den Broeck

            40+ years old and you comment like a 12-14 year old troll, good job lol.

          • the watcher

            Sorry, I still don’t understand your hostility, and I’m puzzled as to why you resort so quickly to insults (itself a sign of arrested adolescence). Perhaps my response to your first dig was a tad ascerbic, but hey, you started it.

          • the watcher

            N.b. if you stick to commenting on the bike (or the pictures, anyway) you’ll avoid this sort of silliness. And mature ADULTS seperate themselves from their possessions in such a way as an insult to the latter isn’t perceived as one to the former.

          • Mario van den Broeck

            hostility now ? xD just observations. i think everyone will agree if they read your comments. dont be so frustrated

          • Mario van den Broeck

            hahahaha, priceless xD scroll up or down and look at yourself calling other people idiots and liars and whatnot

  • the watcher

    The photographer, like so many of their ilk, seems to have forgotten that we want to look at the builder’s skills, and not theirs! Two clear shots of the bike and a load of weird angles/perspectives. Wasted opportunity, snapper.

    • acuity

      Yes, I am sure that only 9 photos were taken during the course of the shoot, and if there were more, I am sure the photographer took note to tell Pipeburn how many and what photos to use. And it what order. Yeah, that is how motorcycle website and photography business’ are run. You sir, and your ilk, are our true beacons of knowledge, please continue to light our world with your thoughtfulness.

      • the watcher

        Apologist. You’re no more privvy to the details than I am; I merely reiterrate a long-standing grievance that many others have shared. For reasons I’m not sure of,you seem only to want to be sarcastic and drop snide little play-ground insults. Acuity? Hardly.

        • acuity

          Exactly, I, nor you are privy to the details, yet after your comments above praising the bike in your own special way, take the time to shit on the photographer for the editor’s selection of photos fully acknowledging you are not privy to the details.

          And lo and behold, look below, @Pipeburn_Andrew:disqus and a bird have knowledge of more photos, maybe even of the variety that you deem acceptable and therefore exempt photographers from you shitting on them.

          You have no idea what the brief was between builder and photographer, what the builder wanted to capture based off of what they are trying to sell and how to sell it, you know, branding and such. I assume that the photographer had guidelines to follow at the client’s behest, and they did them to the client’s liking because they submitted it to Pipeburn. FFS.

          So in my best Bill Burr impersonation, go f*ck yourself you stupid c*nt. Is that playground enough for ya?

          • jlgace

            Since I’ve also commented on the pictures, I would like to clarify I was not at all criticizing the photographer or their abilities – actually far from it. The pictures are gorgeous, art unto themselves. However to me the art I would also like to see is the motorcycle itself in nice, clear, well lit harshness so as to fully appreciate it as well. I suspect the original poster was thinking along the same lines, however being as passionate about his hobby as you are about yours. Or livelihood, what have you. Aside, If I were a guzzi enthusiast, I suspect that picture from behind the cylinder might be something I would want on my wall.

          • acuity

            Point taken, and well received. I guess that is set by the website and their editors as for the visual vibe of their product.

          • the watcher

            Wow, you really didn’t learn anything last time out, did you (RD400 I think it was)? Still, I’m a little surprised that this kind of rank vulgarity and ignorance is allowed to stand. I believe the expression is TROLL ALERT!

          • acuity

            Yes, when people shit on other people and then refuse to answer for what they said, yep, I still call them out on it. So yes, I have not learned anything.

            You still feel you can shit on people so I guess we will both go on not learning, to each his own.

          • the watcher

            You’re an idiot. Take a lithium and relax before you blow a gasket.

          • acuity

            I am sorry you think I am not laughing about this. Don’t worry, my health is fine.

          • the watcher

            What a disingenuous coward. So, you called me a “cunt” because you were defending the honour of downtrodden, voiceless photo-journalists everywhere? Not that I care, but believe me here, there IS something seriously wrong with you. Try looking up “introspection”; it may prevent your shrill, teenage indignation spilling over onto the e-page.

          • acuity

            Oh, I thought we were done.

            Downtrodden, voiceless, photo journalist? Interesting where you took it. I look at both of them, the builder and photographer, as small (or big for all I know) business owners. Both seemingly out there trying to make a living on their own with no bosses but themselves. Entrepreneurs if you will, as well as artists, trying to blend business and their “art” into a living. But what do I know?

            You still shit on the photographer for no reason other than your inability to put yourself in another’s shoes and think beyond your coward’s reasoning that has guided you for the last 20+ years.

            To put it simpler, show some fucking respect, especially for things you are ignorant about.

            Knowing who you are should not make you inflexible with your opinions and thoughts, but actually more willing to adjust to those around you because change is easy.


            I hope you get the help you need!

          • the watcher

            You’re an idiot and a liar.

          • acuity

            So cute when old men get their danders up and start having imaginary conversations with themselves. Feel better you got the last word?

    • jlgace

      I concur. I kept scrolling through the pictures thinking ‘can I not just really see what this bike looks like?’. And the one with the lake, it looks fake but I think it’s real. If that makes any sense… but like acuity said, maybe these are the best shots (or least artsy) they had when it was all said and done.

      • A little bird told me we just might have some more pictures of the bike next month to show you… 😉

  • Fantome_NR

    These guys are Guzzi magicians. Everything they do is masterful.

  • guvnor67

    Oh boy! That’s one awesome Guzzi. Nothing to dislike, great lines, and that exhaust is mad! Yup, another great build, another “I want” machine. Phew, what a year!

  • jlgace

    I want to give it 3 or 4 grand and dump the clutch and see if it goes straight. Very nice. Would have liked a basic profile shot of the bike, maybe a rear or rear 3/4 view from the pipe side.

    • Radicalguzzi

      Hope more Pictures coming soon. Bike goes peefectly straight or in corners. Slow or fast.

    • Radicalguzzi

      Runs peefectly straight and through corners believe me. And Is also comforrable

      • jlgace

        I bet it does. That was a ‘tongue in cheek’ statement. Really love the pipes. Something a little different from most of the guzzis out there and a nice touch of ‘hot rod’ cool. And the colour, and… mostly I really like the bike in general. Beautiful job and I’ll be keeping an eye out for those pics, thanks.

  • Patriccio

    Right mouse click, magnify. I can see the welds on the braces for the front fender & the welds on the intake ports for the carbs. This is high quality workmanship; even the dominant colors–gold, brown, blue-green-aqua–are complementary. Nothing brash or superfluous.

  • This is one heck of a bike. Excellent work.

  • Len Farquharson

    Truly, a masterpiece! Intelligent collaboration, design, creation and execution, followed by highly elevated levels of desire! Sustained, standing ovation to all involved!

  • Bebo Yaya

    Beautiful. Would love to know what it weighs.

    • Radicalguzzi

      Weight with Oli and fuel Is 198 kg