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.
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.
When it comes to old-school motorcycle racers, they don’t come much cooler than England’s Bill Lomas. Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Two-time World Champion. Two-time Isle of Man TT winner. Moto Guzzi V8 rider. And to gild the lily, he was a bit of a movie star to boot. Starring in the 1957 film, ‘I Fidanzati Della Morte’ or ‘Friends of Death’, he’s not half bad. Germany’s Radical Guzzi decided they wanted to honour him by building a bike in his name, and this nitrous beast named ’Fidanzata’ is what they came up with.
Working on a bike project with a team of new people can be a hellish experience. Even simple things like picking paint colours or upholstering a seat can take up many hours while terms are defined and differing expectations are met. But for Switzerland’s Gannet Design and the Wrench Kings and Vanguard Clothes from the Netherlands, it really seems as if they were all freakishly, cultishly in sync. It’s the only explanation we can come up with for how such a superbly turned-out bike came out of such a diverse bunch of brains.
Imagine you’ve built the bike that sits before you, pouring your heart and soul into the creation of a classic custom ordered by a meticulous client who collects vintage Porsches. Such is your attention to detail that each machine upon completion is stripped, every bolt re-torqued and over a thousand parts double checked. Then, just as you are ready to deliver your masterpiece, a single clutch plate sticks. Unwavering in his commitment to perfection Axel Budde of Hamburg’s Kaffee Maschine doesn’t try an easy fix with a few heavy dumps of the clutch. Once again he does a full tear down of the machine and you start to appreciate the genius and devotion that emerges in the form of his latest build, KM21 a classic cafe racer from a 1981 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk II.
If motorcycles were animals, they would surely be black. Trace their lineage back to the original bikes tearing around Southern Europe thousands of years ago and bet your bottom dollar they’d be pitch dark, coal dust, moonless night black. It’s the nature of the beast. Hell, you couldn’t buy a bike in any other colour until the 1940s. Black bikes just look so damn right. It’s some weird collective subconscious thing that’s buried deep in our psyches. Maybe that’s why, when we see a bike like tonight’s build from Belarus shop Recast Moto, we can’t help but like it. And boy, do we like it.
When life is good, the money is flowing and you call Monte Carlo home, it’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of it all. So when the sun goes down in this special part of Monaco and the casino doors are open, it would be hard not to strut towards the lights. Instead, one lucky man chooses not to get his thrills at the roulette wheel and instead plays for the dark side. Ladies and gentlemen, climb aboard a crazy carbon creation, Anima Nera, from the Moto Guzzi Gods at Italy’s Officine Rossopuro.
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.