Tuesday, 14 October 2008

There's something the matter with Moto Guzzi

There really is.

Once upon a time they built the Daytona which is, and I will brook no argument here, one of the all-time best looking bikes of all time, ever.

Now, they have a couple of different bikes and an increasing number of variations upon the theme of Breva.

Norge: Great tourer, but basically a fully-dressed Breva. Which is fine. Sport: Bit more entertaining than a Breva, but only really has a couple of different components and a little flyscreen. Which is not fine.

Not at all.

This is the company that beat up all comers in international racing from the end of World War II to the fifties, when MV Agusta worked out how to build bikes properly.

This is the company that produced a string of Le Mans models that still have a passionate following and the Daytona, which had a hand built engine for deities' sake.

This is the company that was rescued from obsolesence by Aprilia, who got bought by the immense resources of Piagio, and who now have gearboxes that work (only one neutral, fancy that!) and good build standards, and haven't sacrificed the handling that marks them as a bit special.

So how come, now that their basics are so good, and even their WWII-vintage engine is maintaining its relevance through clever updates and sound basic engineering, they keep turning out new bikes which are, well, variations on a theme? You can't look at the Griso and Stelvio and argue that they can't do something new when needed.

But the latest Sport is, as Hell for Leather point out, massively disappointing.

It doesn't have their most powerful engine. The list of changes from the Breva can be listed in about five seconds. They still haven't realised that the Le Mans evolved, and handed reverently to the Daytona, one of the sexiest sportsbike fairings ever, and have gone with a naked bike with a little bit of plastic on the headlight which looks tacky on a Ducati Monster which costs many grand less.

Come on. Do it properly, Guzzi. Make us proud. Return to your routes. Make a road-going version of the MGS-01 and build a bike that's worthy of a name like 'Sport'.

Link to Hell for Leather commentary, with underwhelming photos.

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