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.
Fri, 05 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Considering how much his films “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down” for popularizing the GS, you’d think Scottish actor Ewan McGregor was a BMW guy. His friend and co-star in those two travelogues, Charley Boorman is a BMW brand ambassador, and it’d be easy to assume McGregor is as well. The truth is McGregor, well known for his love of motorcycles, is a much bigger fan of Moto Guzzi.
Wed, 27 Feb 2013 00:00:00 -0800
The Piaggio Group reported a 7.3% decrease in net sales and a 9.0% decrease in net profit for 2012, thanks in large part to a sharp decline in demand in Europe including an all-time low for motorcycle sales in Italy. Piaggio reported net sales of 1.406 billion euros (US$1.842 billion) in 2012, down from 1.516 billion euros in 2011. Motorcycles and scooters accounted for net sales of 993.3 million euros (US$1.301 billion), a 3.1% decrease from 1.025 billion euros reported for 2011.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 00:00:00 -0800
A pair of muscular-looking V-Twin cruisers sit on a dais in front of a dramatically lit backdrop as attractive female brand representatives greet guests, answer questions and pose for pictures. This scene is fairly commonplace at convention centers during the motorcycle show season, but Moto Guzzi is taking the scenario to a new location: airports. Moto Guzzi is bringing the motorcycle show experience to select airports in Europe to promote its new California 1400 models.
Tue, 05 Feb 2013 00:00:00 -0800
The Motorcycle Industry Council reported a 2.6% increase in motorcycle sales in the U.S. market for 2012. According to the industry group’s figures, American consumers purchased 452,386 motorcycles in 2012 compared to 440,899 motorcycles in 2011.
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0800
Last week, we got a peak at the new touring version of the Moto Guzzi California 1400, the new flagship cruiser from the Italian brand. Piaggio has now presented the new California 1400 at the 2012 EICMA Show in both its touring trim and the custom version pictured above. The new Moto Guzzi California 1400 is powered by a 1380cc V-Twin engine, which Piaggio claims is the largest V-Twin produced by an European manufacturer.
Fri, 09 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0800
Photographs of the final production touring version of the Moto Guzzi California 1400 have emerged, just days before the bagger’s impending debut at the 2012 EICMA show. The 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 will come equipped with ride-by-wire throttle, switchable maps, ABS, traction control and cruise control, making it perhaps the most technologically-advanced Moto Guzzi ever developed. Powering the California 1400 is an air/oil-cooled 1380cc V-Twin engine mounted longitudinally in Moto Guzzi fashion.
Thu, 01 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0700
The Piaggio Group reported a 9.1% decrease in net sales over the first nine months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, thanks in large part to a strong decline in the European market for two-wheelers. According to Piaggio‘s third quarter 2012 report, the Italian manufacturer recorded 706.3 million euros (US$913.8 million) in motorcycle and scooter sales, compared to 777.2 million in sales over the same period of 2011. The Piaggio Group, which also includes the brands Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Vespa and other brands, sold 321,300 motorcycles and scooters in the first nine months of 2012, a year-on-year decrease of 3.5% from 2011.
Fri, 28 Sep 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Back in March, Piaggio Vice President of design Miguel Galluzzi revealed the Italian firm would release several versions of the new Moto Guzzi California 1400 including a full touring version. We’ve seen photographs of the new California in prototype form from Piaggio‘s North American dealer meeting, but we’ve now come across a picture of what looks like the final production version in full touring trim. The picture, appears to have been leaked from an official catalog photoshoot, shows the new Moto Guzzi California 1400 with hard bags, engine bars, extra lighting and windscreen.
Wed, 26 Sep 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Piaggio announced it will bring its newly-updated V7 models to North America with sales to begin in mid-October. We’ve written about the Moto Guzzi V7 Stone, V7 Special and V7 Racer when they were first announced by Piaggio in March, and we already have a review of the V7 line up from our European correspondent Tor Sagen. As we predicted at the time the three 750cc models will be sold in North America as 2013 models.
Fri, 27 Jul 2012 00:00:00 -0700
The Piaggio Group reported a 4.8% drop in motorcycle and scooter sales over the first half of 2012 thanks to the continuing struggles of the European economy. The Piaggio Group includes the brands Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Vespa. According to the company’s second quarter report, the Piaggio Group sold 216,700 motorcycles and scooters in the first half of 2012, compared to 227,700 units in 2011.