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, 21 Feb 2011 00:00:00 -0800
An ultra-rare Moto Guzzi V8 race bike will make an appearance at the Race Retro show this weekend. The Stoneleigh Park event takes place 27-28-29 Feb. But rather than just marvelling at the static exhibit you can hear it running, too.
Fri, 12 Feb 2010 00:00:00 -0800
Motorcyclists can now enjoy total freedom on the open road confident in the knowledge that their cell phones, GPS, MP3 players and latest generation of iPhone/iTouch devices will remain fully-charged and in-service for the duration of the ride thanks to Powerlet’s plug and play systems. “Our product line was inspired by personal experience and the realization that there were no worthwhile options for clean, reliable on-board power for cell phones, stereos and GPS devices,” says Powerlet Products founder Adam Bonislawaski. “Before we came on to the scene, riders would bust out the black tape and wire strippers and cut into their bike’s fragile wiring to tie-in a cheap cigar lighter to power their devices.
Tue, 15 Sep 2009 00:00:00 -0700
LEGENDARY ITALIAN motorcycle manufacturer Moto Guzzi have announced a mass European ride-out, named 'Where Eagles Fly'. Convoys of Moto Guzzi enthusiasts and their bikes will set off from six European cities to meet in Milan on November 10th for the opening of the EICMA 2009 motorcycle show. On November 8th, the British Guzzisti participating in the first Where Eagles Fly tour will set off from London (other convoys will also be setting off from Madrid, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Vienna and Naples).
Thu, 28 May 2009 00:00:00 -0700
British motorcycle design studio Xenophya Design and product designer Ellis Pitt have teamed up to produce a new company, Mac Motorcycles. Based out of Upton-Upon-Severn in Worcestershire, England, Mac Motorcycles will produce a line of bikes powered by Buell’s air-cooled single cylinder 492cc engines used in the Blast, with a tubular backbone frame. On the company’s website, Pitt describes its bikes as being simple to maintain, include references and details from choppers and bobbers and feature “Harley posture, flat-track manners, Ducati handling”.
Mon, 05 Jan 2009 00:00:00 -0800
If contemporary society has taught us anything, it is that few things are held as sacred. Shameless film and television remakes are rampant while musicians sample (steal) any beats or mixes they deem suitable that will gain their crumby creation attention. In regards to motorcycles, there are times when retro-inspired modern engineered creations work, like the Triumph Thruxton for instance.
Fri, 21 Nov 2008 00:00:00 -0800
Actor Ewan McGregor has introduced traveling long distances on motorcycles to the mainstream with the “Long Way Down” series. He is now trying to give UNICEF just as much exposure by donating one of his prized motorcycles to help raise money for the charity. “I’m donating my Moto Guzzi California motorcycle,” says McGregor, a UNICEF ambassador.
Mon, 03 Nov 2008 00:00:00 -0800
I have had a little walk around checking out the preparations for the show. I haven’t seen anything that I haven’t already seen or heard about previously, but here’s a selection from three of the halls. Yamaha are the only manufacturer to use an industrial crane to place some of its bikes up on high rise stands.