Written by Martin Hodgson
There is something connecting certain builders and brands that we may never understand, but such is the affinity between the two that one becomes synonymous with the other. When it comes to Moto Guzzi that man is Filippo Barbacane of Officine Rossopuro from the beautiful Abruzzo region of Italy. He’s taken just about every one of the marque’s models and turned them into a portfolio of some of the best customs on the market. Now he’s back with his favourite steed from the Moto Guzzi stable, a perfectly crafted, alloy bodied Bellagio that he calls Finisterrae.
To say Filippo is passionate about the Lake Como manufacturers machines would be an understatement. “The now consolidated Bellagio base for me is becoming a must. The quality of the engine and chassis is exceptional. Now many of my specials have this starting point. The perfect compromise between modernity and the past. The name Finisterrae represents the end of all lands, therefore an unexplored terrain, unknown, so the desire to explore and discover. I wanted to make a bike that tastes retro but without exaggerating, so I tried to have a modern and vintage design at the same time.”
In the Officine Rossopuro workshop the Bellagio 940 is hoisted up onto the lift, stripped down and with just the bare bones in front of him, Filippo comes up with his plan. “This motorcycle is born from the desire to have a versatile, lightweight and easy to use means,” he explains. Reducing weight is the first step and a natural part of his always present aluminium body work. The stock steel tank is a monster and in its place Filippo places a handcrafted piece with svelte lines, more purposeful edges and a lower height to reduce the visual size of the Guzzi.
With the factory bike coming equipped with a huge seat with a heavy steel base and one of the biggest rear fenders on the market, it’s the work that you don’t see that makes the tail so tidy. The frame has been cut back considerably with the lower subframe rails capped and an integrated alloy fender fabricated. Then Filippo could get to work constructing the beautiful tailpiece to compliment the tanks lines. In between the two a hand shaped and stitched black leather seat keeps those lines flowing, before it was time for paint. “The colour of the bike is a very dark red, it looks black but it’s not. I liked using the classic Guzzi colour but in a very special version and only in the sun it shows.”
One of the great additions to the Bellagio over earlier models was Moto Guzzi finally getting the fuelling right, giving the rider the feeling they have a direct connection to the 940cc V-Twin. With power through the rev range and torque always on tap, it‘s the sort of engine that makes you want to ride all day. So to give it the soundtrack it deserves Filippo bent up one of his signature exhaust systems, a 2 into 1 setup with smooth as silk path to the rear. To give things some aural pleasure on the induction side of the engine the throttle bodies feed via twin K&N filters and the Guzzi twin is ready to roar.
[superquote]“With power through the rev range and torque always on tap, it’s the sort of engine that makes you want to ride all day.”[/superquote]
With some more mechanical aggression dialed into the cruiser, the handling needed the same, as the stock bike is particularly soft in the rear end. To raise it up and enable the chassis to be fine tuned for more spirited riding, Filippo swapped in a fully adjustable mono shock. Up front the standard telescopic 45mm conventional forks remain, but with new internals to match the new rear end and the same adjustability for rebound and compression. Unlike a lot of factory cruisers, Moto Guzzi doesn’t leave braking to chance and a pair of 320mm front discs with Brembo calipers ensure a firm lever at all times.
With a sportier ride the controls had to match and the factory bars were a little too chilled out and laid back for any serious riding. To remedy things Filippo mounted a set of aluminium risers into the stock trees and fitted up low-rise bars with a wider arc to give the rider total control. The stock switchgear has been reused to make functionality flawless, but the factory grips with their big chrome end caps have been swapped out for a more fitting set of vintage styled items. The indicators on the stock bike are far too big even for the wide Guzzi, so a set of smaller smoked out items are mounted closer to the body at each end.
To finish off the Guzzi build Filippo wanted to add as little weight as possible when installing the last of the functional components. The wiring loom was stripped out and simplified before being re-installed with as much of it hidden as possible. The airbox is gone and so too the large battery that nestles in front of it, replaced with a small lithium unit. While both the front fender and reaction rod on the rear swingarm are more of Filippo’s creations from his favourite alloy material. The final product is another Officine Rossopuro masterpiece, now ready to live up to its name and explore the stunning Northern Italian terrain.