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GIM JUNKIE. Officine Rossopuro Get Addicted to a Moto Guzzi Bellagio

Posted on December 14, 2017 by Andrew in Scrambler, Tracker. 33 comments

Written by Marlon Slack

I’ll say it again. Moto Guzzis are like heroin. You don’t dabble in it, you don’t do a bit on the side. If you’re into Guzzis you live and breathe for them. And it turns out this addiction cripples shops as well as owners, as shown by Italy’s Officine Rossopuro. While they’ve produced scores of custom bikes over the years they’re nearly all of the Guzzi inclination. And their latest build continues this single-minded obsession with a modified Moto Guzzi Bellagio. Meet ‘Gimkana’.

Don’t feel too left out if you haven’t heard of the Bellagio. It’s never gained much traction outside of the Guzzi nut crowd – but those nuts absolutely loved it. Head of Officine Rossopuro, Filippo Barbacane, is one of them. ‘The Bellagio is easily the most underrated motorcycle produced by Moto Guzzi,’ he says. ‘It combined the most positive aspects of the old Guzzi – a chassis derived from the famous Tonti, the two valve engine with dual spark ignition and less complicated electrics… but mixed with the best new aspects of Guzzi design’.

“He loves the Bellagio so much he owns one – and of all the Guzzis in his garage it’s the one he rides the most.”

Those new aspects were the CARC (the separate drive shaft housing that prevents the bike rising up when accelerating), the rear swingarm design and adjustable suspension. ‘All that allows you to have a very simple and vintage-looking motorcycle with excellent rideability in all conditions’ Filippo says. He loves the Bellagio so much he owns one – and of all the Guzzis in his garage it’s the one he rides the most.

I know he says it’s good looking and to many it is. But to my eyes it still errs a little too much on the cruiser side of the equation. But Officine Rossopuro wanted to change that – albeit not completely. ‘I didn’t want to modify the frame of the Bellagio too much,’ Filippo says, ‘It’s already great. I modified the back a little but that’s it.’ Instead he turned his eye to shedding as much weight from the bike as possible.

‘Weight is a very important element to consider when I build a bike,’ he says ‘I often think that it’s more important than outright horsepower.’ The man’s right. For this reason he created a new set of aluminium bodywork, including fenders, sidecovers and tank which shed no small amount of weight. As well as making the bike sound a whole lot better, the new 2 into 1 exhaust system also shed a stack of kilos.

The engine, which has a reputation of being long-lasting and reliable was left largely unmolested. In terms of running modifications not much has changed. Aside from the exhaust new air filters were also installed, saving more weight and opening up the standard airbox area under the seat. That new real estate now houses the electrical system and a new light lithium battery.

There’s a few tidy smaller details as well – the adjustable footpegs were designed in house (and are now for sale, if you’re one of the Bellagio fan crowd) and risers were also added with new handlebars and brake reservoir. Interestingly for a Guzzi of this style, the team have added a bash plate underneath the bike.

Officine Rossopuro have thought this through. ‘The Guzzi’s engine guard prevents damage to the engine from off-road use,’ Filippo says. ‘The Bellagio wasn’t designed for this riding, but now I can easily run the bike on poor quality country roads without any problems. It makes it more versatile, which I think is the most desirable thing on today’s bikes.’ It might just be me, but I’m noticing more and more people tackling unpaved roads on bikes that would never have been down them in the past. And that’s no bad thing.

The whole package is one that Filippo thinks sums up the best parts of the current custom scene. ‘I think people are getting more focused on the use of the bike and what you can really do with it,’ he says. ‘I love to build bikes that are rideable, ones that can be used often and not just beautiful’. And so do we, Filippo.

Officine Rossopuro – Facebook – Instagram – Store | Photos by Filippo Barbacane ]

  • James K

    Definitely dig the lines on this bike. Dig them a lot in fact – well considered choices from front to back make this Guzzi look like a whole handful of fun.

    Guess it’s a Guzzi thing, but that engine though. I always see a supermodel with jug ears when I look at one.

    • Always reminds me of a V8 engine, which can’t be a bad thing…

      • James K

        V8 under a hood is one thing…

    • Cam

      aesthetically I rate the engine… the crank is in the right direction for a shaft drive and the cylinders are designed with lean clearance. I have always wondered what a large bore over square, 4 valve, reversed head v2 would look/sound like… and yes, that is my morning porn.

  • guvnor67

    I really like this. It looks purposeful and ready to attack. The colour is subdued and classy with enough shiny stuff to set it off. The exhaust looks mad and I’d love to hear it!!

  • AB

    Nice to see curvy pipes that have not been lobster backed.

  • the watcher

    Their work is always exemplary, stylish and functional. I’m still waiting for them to dish up something that makes me go “Wow, wish it was mine”, though.

    • A little bird told me something might be coming in January… 😉

  • C2

    Great lines – I was wondering how a rider’s knees would fit behind those monster heads. Thanks for including pics with a rider perched atop the saddle.

    • guvnor67

      Should almost be a compulsory thing, the rider-on-board shot, really helps bring the ride into perspective!

      • Fido Zombie

        Totally agree. It also gives the actual stance of the bike, rather than it be jacked up on stands.

        • guvnor67

          So true! Everything sits differently with 80 or 90 kgs of rider on board.

  • Fido Zombie

    The modifications from the original Bellagio have changed it from a cruiser to an everyday bike. Which is fine and it looks purposeful, but it’s not the most exciting bike.
    Also the exhaust, while better than the twin sausage affair on the original, is to my eye a too prominent and looks a bit of a plumber’s nightmare.

    • Guzzto

      The problem with Guzzi’s is you buy one and the next thing you know you have 3

      • Haha yeah and even then the N+1 rule still applies. N being the number of Guzzis you currently have…

    • Bultaco Metralla

      Oh yes! So true so true

    • Mmmm – piiiie…

  • Len Farquharson

    The star of any Moto Guzzi is that beautiful V twin, which is superbly complimented the rest of this build!

    • martin hodgson

      100% with you Len! I love the way the slimline tank allows both engine barrels to be seen unimpeded from any angle. The drivetrain dominates the bottom half of the bike and the top section perfectly accentuates it.

      • guvnor67

        Muscle, with class!

    • World’s most beautiful knee warmer…

  • Neil_TonUp

    A lovely build, well written article, and worthy photography. Thank you, gentlepersons.

  • Mayakovski

    Looks great except for the weird long back end. Kinda looks like they forgot to finish it.

  • Orange Guzzi

    My bike has been on the chopping block for the last couple of months. New additions include V11 high compression pistons, Ram Clutch, 850T seat grab rail and Excel aluminum rims (tubeless).

    This bike started life as a 2003 California Special Sport Aluminium. Weighting in at over 600 pounds. I has parts from 18 different models and year of Moto Guzzi’s along with a few 1 off parts I made.