Italy, 1946. It’s less than 12 months since the Italian Republic’s defeat at the hands of the allied troops. The sight of Mussolini’s battered body hanging from a Milanese Esso gas station is still fresh in the country’s mind. Any rich industrialists in their right mind should have been lying low and avoiding marauding communists…
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…
The Italians sure do have a way with words – especially when it comes to naming fast machines. For their bikes, there’s the ‘Brutale’, the ‘Pantah’ and the ‘Devil Lusso’ to name but a few. Look further a field and you’ll find cars named the ‘Diablo’, the ‘Murcielago’ and even the ‘Millechili’…
Yamaha’s XV750; been there, done that. Am I right? We’ve seen more cafe’d iterations of the good ol’ Coffee Grinder than just about any other bike out there. Hell, if XV cafe racers were actual coffee, the world would be ankle-deep in espresso. But every now and then we come across one that’s different enough to catch our very jaded eyes. No points for guessing that this, the latest bike from Italy’s Kustom Special Components, is just such a one.
In almost every major religion and from ancient mythologies around the globe the Crow, or similar appearing Raven, makes an appearance. The legends are as much as 60,000 years old and although the authors never met, somehow the theme of death is common to them all. But when seeing a murder of the black birds flying past Abruzo’s Filippo Barbacane had an idea to build a bike that would push past the basic stereotype.
No matter how strong your nationalistic tendencies it’s almost impossible to argue against the fact that Italy has produced the world’s greatest artists. Not just the likes of Michelangelo and Caravaggio but polymaths Da Vinci and Galileo who were experts in so many areas it’s impossible to count. What these men also possessed was an unmistakable madness and willingness to transgress society’s norms that are qualities our modern renaissance men of Anvil Motociclette not only share but are deeply proud of. So it should come as no surprise that San Marco and Phonz found their inspiration for this build in an immense and dusty abandoned factory that serves as a mausoleum for a century old motodrome. It’s rolling art with superbike levels of performance, a Ducati Monster S4R that now goes by the name WARTHOG Mille.
It’s easy to underestimate just how big motocross was in Europe in the 70s and 80s. In Italy, it seems you’d be more likely to find someone who didn’t like their Nonna’s food than find a custom bike shop without some connection to the off-road art. For the Soiatti family, it was a seat on a factory bike that marked the peak of their motocross addictions. And after they kicked that habit in the 80s, father Daniele started the Soiatti Moto Classics workshop. Thirty six years later and with his son now in the picture, here’s their latest build.
It’s easy to get cynical about custom motorcycles. Sure, they nearly always look good, but they often sacrifice some things in order to get a certain stance or aesthetic just first-class social media coverage. So there’s nothing that brings us more joy than showing you this – an astonishing MV Agusta Brutale engine modelled after a late 60’s GP Winning 500cc triple done by Itay’s legendary Magni Motorcycles.
Moto Guzzi’s are like heroin. You don’t dabble in Guzzi. You don’t just enjoy a little bit of Guzzi over the weekend. If you’re into it and breathe it. Guzzi swallows your life and becomes the entirety of your world and your sole reason for existing.
I’ll readily admit going into the 2017 Wildays show feeling a little jaded. Bike shows? I’ve seen ’em all. They’re either a car park full of bikes and corporate tents in the summer sun, or they’re a convention centre full of bikes and corporate stands with air-conditioning. Been there, done that. But by the end of this particular show, my eyes had been opened. There is another way to do bike shows. A better way. And I think Italy’s Wildays show has found it.