The famous Italian brand has spent a century making beautiful bikes for enthusiasts.
I’m driving around Manhattan in a Moto Guzzi V7 Centenary Edition adorned with an anthracite and olive green livery. An 850cc V-twin that makes me want to go into the Swiss countryside and find some barbed wire to jump, a la Steve McQueen in The great Escape.
Unfortunately, the attorney must be Park Avenue; a place with its own inherent risks, challenges and dangers. Madcap taxi drivers, lawless Uber drivers, road surfaces riddled with mafiosi holes and titled holes in overpowered German autobahn-worthy cars with no respect for other road users around them. I am not convinced that jumping barbed wire is more dangerous.
But the V7 with its improved 850cc engine is up to the task. Once familiar with the mental gymnastics of accommodating shaft-driven rear wheel torque pull, the V7 happily played with traffic.
Lots of low end growls made for fun shifting gears just to hear the bassoon from the brap come in while threading the traffic needle. The caps worked, and a brother in a waistcoat even nodded to congratulate that I had ridden on such a stylish steed. The costume might have helped, but I’m happy to credit the V7’s sleek lines and limited-edition color scheme.
The Guzzis occupy a special place in the world of motorcycles. A lot of character, and characters who are drawn to these bikes like moths to a flame. The combination of a twin drive and a cardan shaft provides a unique and moving interface with the tarmac. It should come as no surprise, then, that the eagle logo with the outstretched wings on every handcrafted motorcycle is a nod to a friend of the founders who died just before Carlo Guzzi and Giorgio Parodi created the Società Anonima Moto. Guzzi in 1921.
But Guzzi is more than just a soul, and has often sat on the cutting edge of technology, such as when he inaugurated the first motorcycle wind tunnel in the 1950s – still open for tours today in their factory in Mandello – the idea of a tight-knit team. extraordinary engineers who won 15 world speed titles and 11 Tourist Trophy titles between 1935 and 1957.
Then, in the 1960s, Moto Guzzi created its 700cc 90 ° V-twin engine with the now ubiquitous shaft drive, destined to become the calling card of the manufacturer Mandello on models as legendary as the V7 Special, the V7 Sport, the California and the Le Mans. The engine has constantly evolved and today, flanked by advanced electronic control features, it powers the most popular Moto Guzzi two-wheelers, including the anniversary V7 that I drive.
To commemorate the 100 years of this fantastic brand, Rizzoli has released a book, Moto Guzzi 100 years, celebrating the legendary brand in its centenary year. The result is a testament to the unique status of Moto Guzzi, a brand which, a century after its debut, continues to embody the values of its far-sighted founders. Since 1921, every Moto Guzzi that has traveled the roads of the world has been assembled by hand, with love, in the Mandello del Lario factory.
This deep authenticity is the distinguishing characteristic of every Moto Guzzi, and a value recognized and shared by the ten contributors to the book around the world: a famous actor, a writer, three journalists, an astronaut, a world-renowned architect, a Professor of Harvard, DJ and designer. Writer Melissa Holbrook Pierson, actor Ewan McGregor, architect Greg Lynn, journalists Marco Masetti, Mat Oxley and Akira Nishimura, DJ Ringo, designer Tom Dixon, astronaut Paolo Nespoli and Harvard professor Jeffrey Schnapp , who edited the book.
From London to Hollywood, from Tokyo to Sardinia, from Vermont to Mandello del Lario. A common thread that links characters who love Moto Guzzi and what its motorcycles represent, a passion that has created a common language between people from places so far away and with such different stories.
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