Moto Guzzi, the oldest European manufacturer in continuous motorcycle production, celebrates 100 years of world beating motorbikes this year.
Moto Guzzi is noted for its historic role in Italy’s motorcycling manufacture, its prominence worldwide in motorcycle racing, and industry innovations — including the first motorcycle centre stand, wind tunnel and eight-cylinder engine.
Established in 1921 in Mandello del Lario, Italy, in 2004 Moto Guzzi became a wholly owned subsidiary, and one of seven brands owned by Piaggio, Europe’s largest and the world’s fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer.
Moto Guzzi changed the way the world made motorbikes
Here we take a look at four fantastic Moto Guzzi innovations that improved biking and changed the way the world manufactured motorbikes.
1 Compact Reactive Drive Shaft
Above a certain power level the competing forces of driveshaft arrangements can disrupt a bike’s suspension causing “shaft jacking”.
Moto Guzzi introduced its first anti-jacking system with the Daytona in 1993 and evolved that design through the V11 Sport a decade later. The result was the CARC system which separates the shaft final drive’s torque reaction from the suspension via floating torque arms.
The CARC eliminates the abruptness typical of drive shaft systems on acceleration or throttle release, while still providing a quiet, reliable and low maintenance drive system.
2 Rear swingarm suspension
Long distance motorcycle travel was limited because, frankly, the ride was too rough. That was until 1928 when Carlo and Giusseppe designed an elastic frame using a sheet-steel box enclosing four springs, together with a swingarm in tubes and sheet metal.
The first Moto Guzzi manufactured with the new suspension was the GT and to showcase its performance Giusseppe made the 4,000 mile journey from the factory in Mandello in Italy to Capo Nord in northern Norway. Despite the poor road conditions he reached the Arctic Circle in four weeks.
The elastic frame rear suspension was immediately introduced to production machines, transforming the usability of the motorcycle as an everyday form of long distance transportation.
3 First DOHC V8 motorcycle engine
The Moto Guzzi Grand Prix V8 introduced in 1955 was the first machine of its kind. It was a 500cc racer fitted with a V8 engine using dual overhead camshafts.
The bore and stroke of the engine were 44.0mm x 40.5mm. There were two valves per cylinder and power was in the region of 50bhp which was about 10-15bhp more than the rival 4-cylinder engines used by their great rivals, MV Agusta and Gilera.
The engine and the bike were unprecedented and topped at 172mph, 30 years before the speed was reached again in Grand Prix racing. However, the bike was hard to ride and costly to build and maintain and the bikes were withdrawn in 1957.
4 The Moto Guzzi wind tunnel
In 1950 Moto Guzzi created the first motorcycle wind tunnel capable of testing full size prototypes . It allowed the company to market an integral fairing on its models and enabled racers to replicate authentic racing conditions to optimise their seating and body positions at racing speeds.
In prototyping Moto Guzzi coils refine the air stream around the motorcycle, develop an area of still air around the rider, reduce frontal area, optimise air penetration and maximise fuel economy.
More biking innovation
From one great innovator to another: Moto Guzzi to Bikesure, the motorcycle insurance company that has changed the way people get their bikes covered.
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