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.
Thu, 05 Jul 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Piaggio announced a new iPhone connectivity system set to debut on its new X10 maxi-scooter. The Piaggio Multimedia Platform (PMP) will be available as a kit for the 125cc, 350cc and 500cc versions of the Piaggio X10, and eventually may be introduced to other models in the Piaggio Group (which would include the brands Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Vespa.)
Designed by Re:Lab, the PMP system turns an iPhone into an onboard computer and secondary display. The kit mounts the iPhone over the Piaggio insignia on the center of the X10′s handlebar which, from the rider’s perspective, puts it just below the scooter’s standard instruments.
Tue, 19 Jun 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Moto Guzzi tuner Ghezzi-Brian unveiled a new motard based on the Moto Guzzi Griso. Available either as a whole motorcycle or as a ready-to-install kit for a Moto Guzzi Griso, the Ghezzi-Brian V-Twin Motard turns the Italian eagle brand’s roadster into a supermoto. The V-Twin Motard even fooled some of the motorcycle press into thinking it was a new Moto Guzzi Stelvio production model when a prototype was caught by spy photographers.
Thu, 17 May 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Guzzis aren’t for everyone, and Guzzisti are quite okay with that fact. While Moto Guzzi recognizes the dedication of Guzzi devotees, it also recognizes that it needs to grow the brand. Moto Guzzi USA, the North American importer of the Moto Guzzi brand, has announced a new “micro” site for Guzzis. The site, www.motoguzzioriginals.com, is part eye candy (actually, it’s very eye candy), part history, part marketing tool.
Tue, 08 May 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Increased scooter sales offset a drop in motorcycle sales, but both segments reported increases in net sales for the Piaggio Group in the first quarter of 2012. According to Piaggio‘s first quarter report, the Group sold 9,400 motorcycles worldwide, down 8.2% from the 10,300 units sold in the same quarter last year. Scooter sales however saw a 7.9% increase to 79,200 units from 73,400 units.
Wed, 28 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Moto Guzzi presented its 2012 V7 featuring three models and the Piaggio-owned brand’s new 750cc V-Twin engine. The three models were previously introduced at the 2011 EICMA show as the V7, two-toned V7 Special and the shiny V7 Racer. Moto Guzzi has since given the matte V7 version a new name: the V7 Stone.
Wed, 21 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Moto Guzzi released a video featuring Marco Lambri, director of Piaggio Group style, and Miguel Galluzzi, vice-president of design discussing the new Moto Guzzi California 1400 and Piaggios’s planned Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, Calif. Galluzzi says the model displayed at Piaggio Group Americas’ dealer convention in Miami last week is just one variation for the California. Galluzzi says Moto Guzzi will release a full dressed touring version this autumn, with the single-seat version to follow, as well as at least one more.
Mon, 19 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Piaggio confirmed it will be importing the production version of its Vespa 946 (a.k.a. the “Quarantasei“) to North America, representing the next generation of scooters from the iconic Italian brand. The 946 was presented alongside the Aprilia Caponord 1200 and Moto Guzzi California 1400 at Piaggio’s North American dealer meeting last week in Miami.
Wed, 14 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Piaggio confirmed it will introduce the new Aprilia Caponord 1200 and Moto Guzzi California 1400 to the U.S. market this fall. The announcement was made at Piaggio Group Americas’ dealer convention in Miami, Fla.
Wed, 14 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Piaggio announced it is opening a new design center in Pasadena, Calif., to be headed by Aprilia RSV4 designer Miguel Galluzzi. Roberto Colaninno, chairman and chief executive officer of the Piaggio Group, announced plans for the new Advanced Design Center at a dealer convention for the Piaggio Group Americas in Miami, Fla. At the moment, North American customers usually have to wait a little longer before they receive new Piaggio models, with most models arriving on these shores months after they are available in Europe.
Mon, 05 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0800
Brim’s Imports is a vintage motorcycle shop disguised as a used car dealership, and chances are you’ve never heard of the place or its proprietor, Tom Brim. If you’re in the market for a rare vintage motorcycle, however, it may behoove you to give Tom or his brother, Ralph, an old fashion phone call. A website does exist, brimsimport.com, but its for searching the inventory of late model car and truck parts — the cash flow supporting Tom’s motorcycle obsession.