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, 23 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0800
The Piaggio Group reported a 9.8% increase in net income in 2011 thanks to rising demand for scooters and increased sales in Asia. According to Piaggio‘s annual fiscal report, the Italian company made a profit of 47.0 million (US$62.6 million) in 2011, compared to a net profit of 42.8 million euros in 2010. Net sales reached 1.52 billion euros (US$2.02 billion) in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 2.1% from the 1.49 billion euros reported in 2010.
Wed, 14 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0800
The Piaggio Group revealed its business plans for the next three years with a focus on developing fuel efficient engines and introducing new electric motors and hybrid powertrains. Beginning in 2012, Piaggio plans to introduce a new generation of engines with lower emissions and improved fuel economy. Examples include the new 350cc engine introduced in the Piaggio Beverly SportTouring and the fuel-injected 125cc four-stroke, three-valve engine equipped in the Vespa Quarantasei concept (which the company has apparently, and quietly, renamed as the much easier-to-pronounce Vespa 946).
Fri, 04 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0700
Moto Guzzi unveiled two new models from its V7 line, joining the already released (and recently reviewed right here on Motorcycle.com) V7 Racer. The new Moto Guzzi V7 and the V7 Scrambler will make their public debuts Nov. 8 at the 2011 EICMA show in Milan.
Tue, 01 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0700
Piaggio announced a net profit of 46.3 million euros (US$63.3 million) over the first nine months of 2011. That represents a slight dip from the 46.7 million euros (US$63.8 million) over the same period of 2010, but still respectable numbers in the face of a shrinking market for motorcycles in Europe. The decrease in profit comes despite a 2.0% increase in net sales, with Piaggio taking in 1.20 billion euros (US$1.64 billion) over the first three quarters.
Tue, 20 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0700
A record crowd of over 20,000 landed in Mandello del Lario, Italy, for Giornate Mondiali Guzzi (Guzzi World Days) to celebrate Moto Guzzi’s 90th anniversary. The first Guzzi World Days event since 2007, the three-day celebration attracted thousands of enthusiasts representing about 52 different countries around the world. Visitors got to see the restoration efforts on historic Moto Guzzi landmarks including its famous wind tunnel, the first to be used by a motorcycle manufacturer to test aerodynamics.
Tue, 20 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0700
Updated with pricing and American availability. Moto Guzzi unveiled a limited edition California touring motorcycle to mark the Italian manufacturer’s 90th anniversary. The special edition model was presented at the manufacturer’s 2011 Guzzi World Days celebration in Mandello del Lario, Italy.
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0700
The U.S. motorcycle industry saw a 4.6% decrease in year-on-year sales over the first six months of 2011, thanks mostly to a 17.3% drop in ATV sales. Motorcycle and scooter sales however saw a 1.7% bump in the first half .
Wed, 27 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0700
The Piaggio Group reported slight increases in net sales and net profit over the first six months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. Net sales increased 1.1% to 830 million euros (US$1.19 billion) over the first six months of 2011, compared to 820 million euros (US$1.18 billion) in the first half of 2010. Piaggio reported a net profit of 33.3 million euros (US$47.9 million), a slight increase from the net profit of 33.1 million euros (US$47.6 million) reported last year.
Mon, 13 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0700
On average approximately 50,000 motorcycles are stolen each year. They're taken from outside homes, from large urban environments across the countries major cites and highly organised gangs are at the heart of thefts preying on innocent motorcyclists. Experts of motorcycle security, Acumen advise on how to protect your bike:
How to reduce the chance of theft
Protection is like layers of an onion – the more the layers; the longer it takes.
Wed, 18 May 2011 00:00:00 -0700
This uber rare 1954 AJS E95, aka The Porcupine, may become the most expensive motorcycle in the world. World-famous auction house, Bonhams, has recently announced that it will handle auctioning of an ultra-rare 1954 AJS E95 during the Pebble Beach Car Week held annually in August at the Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel, Calif. Bonhams estimates that due to the rarity of the E95 (only four were completed by British brand AJS) it may see a bid as high as $750,000.