The Italian motorcycle marque Moto Guzzi will celebrate its centenary on March 15th, 2021.  According to Moto Guzzi, they have experienced:

A century of history, splendid motorcycles, triumphs, adventures and extraordinary personalities, who together built the legendary Eagle Brand.

But now, Moto Guzzi is celebrating their latest milestone at a time when “it is enjoying a fresh new season of success.”

Centenary pride

In a press release, Piaggo Group Chairman and CEO Roberto Claninno said:

The Moto Guzzi centenary is a proud moment both for the Piaggio Group, which was joined by the Eagle brand in 2004, and for Italian industry as a whole, not just the motorcycling sector.  A capacity for innovation, boldness in moving ahead of the times, a competitive spirit, love for the product and meticulous attention to production quality are the skills that over the years Moto Guzzi has combined with its unique relationship with the local community.

Ever since 1921, every Moto Guzzi bike that has gone out into the world has been built at the Mandello factory, the place where the company was set up exactly one hundred years ago. All this will continue through its second century of history. Moto Guzzi is an example of all-Italian excellence.  It has gone down in our country’s history without ever losing its youthful spirit and continues to inspire genuine passion among thousands of Guzzi bikers all over the world.”

Moto Guzzi’s beginnings

The spread wing eagle emblem is the Italian manufacturer’s well-known mark.  It dates back to the military service of the company’s founders, Carlo Guzzi and Giorgio Parodi, and comes from the Italian Royal Navy’s aviation branch during World War I.

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Top to bottom: Moto Guzzi’s original founders, Carlo Guzzi Giorgio Parodi, and Giovanni Ravelli. Photo credit: F&R

It was during this time that the two friends and a pilot named Giovanni Ravelli decided to manufacture motorcycles once the war was over.  However, Ravelli was killed in an accident in 1919 and did not get to take part in his dream.  And to commemorate their friend, Guzzi and Parodi chose the Eagle as Moto Guzzi’s symbol.

Racing heritage

Over its 100-year history in Mandello del Lario, Moto Guzzi has taken race victories on racing circuits worldwide.  To date, the Italian marque has 14 World Championship titles to its name.

The Italian brand also can claim several firsts.  In the 1950s, Moto Guzzi starts using a wind tunnel for motorcycle development.  That same wind tunnel is still in use and is open to the public for visits at the Mandello factory.

Moto Guzzi V-8

Moto Guzzi’s engineers, including Umberto Todero, Enrico Cantoni, and  Milan-born Giulio Cesare Carcano, all worked together to design and implement the important testing device.

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The Moto Guzzi wind tunnel circa 1950. Photo credit: Pinterest

But the wind tunnel was only one of engineer Concaro’s successes.  He is the father of the Moto Guzzi water-cooled, 500cc Otto Cilindri (8 cylinders) engine.  Even more impressive is the fact that the entire powerplant weighed in at a fairly feathery 45 KG.

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The Moto Guzzi Otto Cilindri motorcycle.

The machine could generate approximately 78 HP.  That amount of power was unheard of at the time.  And, it was capable of a top speed of 275 KPH (~170 MPH) way back in 1955.  Ultimately it would earn 15 world speed titles and 11 Tourist Trophy titles between 1935 and 1957.

V-twin engines

In the 1960s, after the “lightweight” Stornello and Dingo models, Moto Guzzi brought out its 700cc 90-degree V-twin engine mated to a Cardan shaft final drive.  This configuration would become a symbol of the Italian manufacturer.  And, the powertrain layout would become the heart of the company’s V7 Special, V7 Sport, California, and LeMans models.

v7 cardan shaft drive

Moto Guzzi’s V7 powerplant with Cardan shaft drive. Photo credit: Moto Guzzi

Throughout its history, the engine and drivetrain setup continues to evolve.  Today’s models enjoy high-tech electronic controls.  Moto Guzzi’s most popular models including the V7 range, V9 Roamer and Bobber, and the V85TT use the new technology.  Moto Guzzi says that the V85TT is the “world’s first-ever classic enduro.”

Continuing success

And Moto Guzzi continues to expand and sell worldwide.  Its motorcycles are in use by Italian police forces and the Italian army.  More recently, Moto Guzzi became the mount of choice for the Berlin police and other European police forces.  A Moto Guzzi motorcycle is the sovereign’s escort in Jordan.  It is also the motorcycle of the Corazzieri, the elite corps that escorts the President of the Italian Republic.

Moto Guzzi also is proud of its motorcycle’s long-distance capabilities.  Back in 1928, Giuseppe Guzzi reached the Arctic Circle on a Moto Guzzi GT Norge.  Today Moto Guzzi machines still make long-distance trips worldwide.

Piaggio parent

Today, Moto Guzzi is a division of the Piaggio Group, “…Europe’s leading constructor of motorcycles and scooters.”  According to Moto Guzzi, Piaggio “has conserved Moto Guzzi’s original characteristics, promoted its values and returned it to a forefront position.

With Piaggio as its parent, Moto Guzzi says it is back to a “prime market position and is introducing itself to a younger segment of people.  They are accomplishing this by moving back into competitive racing in the Europe-wide Moto Guzzi Fast Endurance Trophy.  Also upping the ante is their new Classic V7 with its 850cc twin-cylinder engine and the enduro version V85TT, which Moto Guzzi says is for travel, comfort, and easy riding.

Centenary livery

Finally, to celebrate its centenary, the entire Moto Guzzi range is also available with a special Centennial livery for 2021 only.  You can find out more about Moto Guzzi machines at Moto Guzzi’s website.

centenary livery

Moto Guzzi is offering a special centenary livery for 2021.

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