In the earliest days of the motorcycle the engine was everything. Many of the frames were indistinguishable from a bicycle, it was all about the power plant. Inventors tried steam, diesel, electricity and petrol to make their motors rev and experimented with a host of technologies to improve power and reliability. These days you can barely distinguish one new engine from another, apart from the number of cylinders and the cosmetic dress ups. But David Widmann and his crew from NCT Motorcycles in the Austrian Alps take the mechanical side of things very seriously. For one lucky customer they’ve turned a 1982 Moto Guzzi 850 T4 into a true classic motorcycle. Its looks are great, but it’s the engine that’s the centerfold.
In recent times it has become all too common a cliché to call a custom motorcycle of a certain quality, a rolling piece of art. It’s not that many of these machines don’t deserve the title and I’d personally take a Max Hazan over an Auguste Rodin any day. But where most art is enjoyed as the finished product, custom bikes are often built by or with considerable input from the prospective owner. From Picasso to Pink Floyd they didn’t sit around with their would be consumers of their work and take input, they simply created. But there was a time, many centuries ago, when the well to do would commission works from their favourite artists and wait for the surprise of the great unveiling. This is the story of such a creation, VITALIS 850 by Filippo Barbacane of Officine Rossopuro, using a Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans as the canvas.
There are plenty of ways to get addicted to speed and the two-wheeled variety sinks its hooks in hard. But when your first day at the local flat track involves getting thrown the keys to one of the world’s greatest builders own personal thrill machines you never had a chance. That’s exactly what happened to Brent Giesbrecht of MotoVida Cycle in Kelowna, Canada; when AMD winning superstar Roger Goldammer sent Brent out on his tricked out YZ400. Now a Moto Guzzi dealer Brent decided it was time to take a life’s worth of inspiration and pack it all into one sideways sensation, a 2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Flat Track bullet.
We think it may be time for an intervention. For Officine Rossopuro’s Filippo Barbacane, barely a week goes by in which he doesn’t send us a ‘bugger-me-sideways-that’s-an-amazing-build’ bike. There can only be a few valid reasons as to the cause of his ceaseless productivity. He’s either possessed, a robot, or he has cloned himself half a dozen times. Unable to decide which scenario is more likely, we’re going for a combo answer; clearly the guy who makes these bikes is some sort of Sextuplet Satanic Cyborg that’s hell-bent on world domination through a never ending stream of totally sweet-ass bikes. Here’s his latest evil effort – a Moto Guzzi Bellagio he calls ‘Terra Moto’.
One thousand Percent. It’s what most top-flight bike builders have to give these days to rise to the top and get noticed. They need the best ideas. The best sketches. The best machining and welding skills. And while we’ve seen the skills that Filippo from Pescara’s Officine Rossopuro possesses, we not sure we ever seen him give one thousand percent. Until now, that is. And that’s because tonight’s donor bike wasn’t, as you may have suspected, a Moto Guzzi Griso 8V. No, tonight’s bike started life a little-know ‘Millepercento Alba.’ What the hell is that, you ask? Good question.
For true drag racing fans, the two famous quotes from the original The Fast and the Furious Movie were enough to make the skin crawl. Dom of course is ‘living his life a quarter mile at a time’ and Brian’s ‘need for NOS’. Working in drag racing at the time and sitting in the cinema, I wanted to be sick into my popcorn. But little did we purist snobs know that those two lines would enter the global lexicon and give a new appreciation for the sport we love. For Stefan Bronold of Bavaria’s Radical Guzzi, drag racing has become both a passion and the place he proves that his company’s products work and win. So while his team campaigned their beautiful MGR Guzzi for the 2016 season, they were secretly building an insane machine for the years to come. And now NOSferatu is ready to rumble. Its name might mean Dracula, but this big bore Italian is more Stroker than Stoker.
When you’ve plied your trade in the paddock of the Italian Superbike Championship you’d expect your garage would house one of the litre bikes that call the grid home. From the glorious Ducati Panigale to the technology tour de force that is the new Yamaha R1 there is no shortage of choice. But for 25-year-old Dario Denichilo of Milan, Italy, he’s gone in the complete opposite direction. A Moto Guzzi fan he chose to ignore their modern stable of steeds that start at a minimum of 750cc and 200kg in weight and instead chose the little Guzzi that could. But after an accident on his 1983 Moto Guzzi V35 he decided not only to keep the ugly duckling of the marque but transform it into the custom creation laid out before your eyes as the very first build of his new venture, Ireful Motorcycles.
There are roughly 6500 unique languages spoken around the globe today. More than a billion people speak Mandarin, while many others languages have just a thousand native speakers. But wherever you go in the world, the language of Moto Guzzi fans is universal. While Ducati might be the king of Italian bike makers these days, Guzzi is arguably more important to the nation’s two wheeled history. Just ask any Guzzi fan and whatever the language they speak, their hand gestures will leave you in no doubt. The V configured engine, the unique engineering and the mechanical beauty of indestructibility sings a sweet song to many an admirer. But for all those who love Guzzi’s, very few can build a custom from a Lake Como creation like Filippo Barbacane of Officine Rossopuro in Abruzzo. This, his latest masterpiece, is known simply as the Ritmo Veloce 850.
In Italian they call it ‘Monte Vesuvio’, but English speakers may be more familiar with its nome Inglese, ‘Mount Vesuvius’. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Pompeii inhabitants in ancient times, modern Naples has clearly forgiven the mountain of its past crimes. So much so, the 3,000,000 Naples residents that currently live around the base of the mountain seem to be perfectly comfortable with the fact that their city is now the most densely populated volcanic region in the world. And what could be more Italian than celebrating this great conundrum by riding a beautiful motorcycle up and down the dormant beast? Nothing, that’s what. So don your fireproof suit and buts out your best pyroclastic wheelies as we take a ride on the latest build from Italy’s Officine Rossopuro, a Moto Guzzi SP1000 fittingly titled ‘MagmaMille’.
Scram Africa is like no other motorcycle ride on the planet. It’s a 2500km trip along some of the most epic roads, trails and sand dunes through the south of Morocco and across the Altas mountains. To make it even more challenging, the ride is only for classic and neoclassic enduro bikes and scramblers. Scram is the brainchild of Karles from Fuel motorcycles in Spain, he wanted to build a classic looking bike that could handle the tough terrain for the recent 2016 ride. This time though, his choice of donor bike wasn’t one of the usual suspects.
Turns out in the 80s, Guzzi saw the success of the BMW R80G/S in the Dakar races, and decided to have a shot at building their own enduro bike. What they created was the Moto Guzzi V65 Tutto Terreno – a plastic coated machine that fit so well into the time period that it didn’t make much of an impression outside of it. Until now. Karles decided the V65 TT would make a good choice, albeit with a flavour of his own.