Moto Guzzi is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer and the oldest European manufacturer in continuous motorcycle production.
Established in 1921 in Mandello del Lario, Italy, the company is noted for its historic role in Italy's motorcycling manufacture, its prominence worldwide in motorcycle racing, and industry innovations—including the first motorcycle center stand, wind tunnel and eight-cylinder engine.
Moto Guzzi was conceived by two aircraft pilots and their mechanic serving in the Corpo Aeronautico Militare during World War I: Carlo Guzzi, Giovanni Ravelli and Giorgio Parodi. The trio envisioned creating a motorcycle company after the war. Guzzi would engineer the motor bikes, Parodi (the son of wealthy Genovese ship-owners) would finance the venture, and Ravelli (already a famous pilot and motorcycle racer) would promote the bikes with his racing prowess. Guzzi and Parodi (along with Parodi's brother) formed Moto Guzzi in 1921. Ravelli, ironically, had died just days after the war's end in an aircraft crash and is commemorated by the eagle's wings that form the Moto Guzzi logo.
Carlo Guzzi and Giorgio Parodi, along with Giorgio's brother Angelo, created a privately held silent partnership "Societa Anonima Moto Guzzi" on 15 March 1921, for the purpose of (according to the original articles of incorporation) "the manufacture and the sale of motor cycles and any other activity in relation to or connected to metallurgical and mechanical industry".
The very earliest motorcycles bore the name G.P. (Guzzi-Parodi), though the marque quickly changed to Moto Guzzi. As the only actual shareholders, the Parodi's wanted to shield their shipping fortunes by avoiding confusion of name G.P. with Giorgio Parodi's initials.
Carlo Guzzi's first engine design was a horizontal single that dominated the first 45 years of the company's history in various configurations. Through 1934, each engine bore the signature of the mechanic who built it.
Until the mid-1940s, the traditional horizontal four-stroke single-cylinder 500 cc engines outfitted with one overhead and one side valve (also known as: IOE, inlet over exhaust or F-head) were the highest performance engines Moto Guzzi sold to the general public.
In the 1950s, Moto Guzzi, along with the Italian factories of Gilera and Mondial, led the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing. With durable and lightweight 250 cc and 350 cc bikes designed by Giulio Carcano, the firm dominated the middleweight classes. The factory won five consecutive 350 cc world championships between 1953 and 1957.
Moto Guzzi withdrew from racing after the 1957 season citing escalating costs and diminishing motorcycle sales. By the time of its pull out from Grand Prix racing, Moto Guzzi had won 3,329 official races, 8 World Championships, 6 Constructor's Championships and 11 Isle of Man TT victories.
After World War II company had a hard time, like others in Europe. So light and inexpensive cycles were produced. The 1946 "Motoleggera", a 65 cc lightweight motorcycle became very popular in post-war Italy. A four-stroke 175 cc scooter known as the "Galletto" also sold well. Though modest cycles for the company, the lighter cycles continue to feature Guzzi's innovation and commitment to quality. The step-through Galletto initially featured a manual, foot-shifted three-speed (160 cc) configuration then later a four-speed (175 cc) set-up by the end of 1952. The displacement was increased to 192 cc in 1954 and electric start was added in 1961.
In February 1967, SEIMM (Societa Esercizio Industrie Moto Meccaniche), a state controlled receiver, took ownership of Moto Guzzi. The SEIMM oversight saw Moto Guzzi adapting to a cultural shift away from motorcycles to automobiles. The company focused on popular lightweight mopeds including the Dingo and Trotter – and the 125 cc Stornello motorcycle. Also during the SEIMM years Guzzi developed the 90° V twin engine, designed by Giulio Cesare Carcano, which would become iconic of Moto Guzzi.
Mon, 07 Oct 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Bonhams’ annual fall auction, the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, at Stafford County Showground is scheduled for October 20, 2013. Included in the auction is the above pictured 1974 Kawasaki H1-RW 500cc triple. Expected to sell for approximately $96,000 to $112,000, the Japanese works Grand Prix racer is one of only two machines built by the factory for the French Kawasaki importer SIDEMM for use in the 500cc World Championship. The bikes were ridden during the 1974 season by the French endurance racing specialist Christian Léon and French-Canadian Formula 750 star Yvon Duhamel.
Mon, 12 Aug 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Earlier this month, we wrote about a recall in Canada for the 2012-2013 Moto Guzzi Griso, Norge GT 8V and Stelvio NTX 1200 8V because of a problem with their rear suspension systems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also announced recall for the U.S. market, revealing more information about the issue.
Thu, 01 Aug 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Transport Canada announced a recall for the 2012-2013 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V, Norge GT 8V and Stelvio 1200 NTX because of a problem with the rear suspension. The double connecting rod in the rear suspension linkage may not have been manufactured correctly and may fail. Failure could result in a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.
Fri, 26 Jul 2013 00:00:00 -0700
The Piaggio Group reported a 12.1% decrease in net sales over the opening six months of 2013, the company’s worst first half showing since 2004. Net sales totaled 671.5 million euros (US$891.9 million) over the first six months, compared to 764.1 million euros reported in the same period of 2012. Piaggio still earned a net profit of 25 million euros (US$33.2 million ) in the first half, but that’s a 26.1% drop from last year’s 33.8 million euros.
Tue, 16 Jul 2013 00:00:00 -0700
If you’re going to be at Laguna Seca for this weekend’s MotoGP race, be sure to stop by the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi booths, as both manufacturers are handing out $50 gift cards if you take a model from either manufacturer for a test ride. To qualify for the gift card, simply visit the Aprilia or Moto Guzzi booths during the weekend. There, you’ll receive a postcard encouraging you to test ride an Aprilia or Moto Guzzi at a participating US dealership.
Thu, 06 Jun 2013 00:00:00 -0700
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Recently, we put together a list of the Top 10 Modern Classic motorcycles. It featured some rare and/or significant motorcycles stretching as far back as 1996. Bikes we think will be highly valuable decades, even centuries, from now.
Thu, 09 May 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Saturday, May 4 marked the 5th annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, California. With such a diverse collection of historical, rare and outrageous motorcycles, the Quail is an event we thoroughly enjoyed attending last year. To commemorate the occasion, this year’s guest of honor was none other than three-time 500cc Grand Prix world champion, and local area resident, Wayne Rainey.
Tue, 07 May 2013 00:00:00 -0700
If you’ve been anxious to try the new Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom ABS, featuring the largest engine Guzzi has ever built, traction control, rider modes, ABS, cruise control, ride-by-wire and impeccable fit and finish, but didn’t know how to actually get your hands on one, you’re in luck. Moto Guzzi dealers across the country are offering free test rides. All you need to do is have a motorcycle endorsement and fill out the Moto Guzzi California Test Ride Form to schedule an appointment with your nearest dealer.
Mon, 06 May 2013 00:00:00 -0700
The Piaggio Group reported an 11.6% drop in net sales for the first quarter of 2013, the result of a struggling economy and unseasonably cold weather in Europe and a flatlining two-wheeler market in Vietnam. There was however some good news in North America, Vespa sales in India and a 27.8% increase in Moto Guzzi sales. According to the company’s first quarter report, Piaggio reported net sales of 303.4 million euros (US$396.8 million), down from net sales of 343.1 million euros reported the same quarter of 2012.
Wed, 10 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Moto Guzzi announced the all new California 1400 Custom and Touring models will land at American dealerships on April 15. The 2014 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring will be priced at $17,990 while the Custom version will be available for $14,990. The two new models form the centerpiece for the Piaggio Group‘s efforts to reinvigorate the Moto Guzzi brand.