Moto Guzzi is celebrating its 100th anniversary with the new V100 Mandello roadster/tourer. It’s the first factory motorcycle with adaptive aerodynamics, and comes with plenty of other modern technology. It comes in two different versions, a base model and an up-spec’d model (we don’t know the name of that model yet).
A big step forward
Moto Guzzi is best-known for its retro roadsters with air-cooled engines and somewhat retro styling. The Mandello is sort of a roadster, with some touring DNA mixed in, but it’s not a retro. The bodywork fits roughly into the new “adventure sports” segment, and the actual mechanical bits are modern, especially that adaptive aero system.
Here’s how Moto Guzzi’s press release describes it:
Moto Guzzi technology also contributes to increasing both comfort and air protection, with the world-first adoption of an adaptive aerodynamic system that automatically adjusts the position of deflectors on the sides of the 17.5-liter tank depending on the speed and selected Riding Mode. The fully raised aerodynamic appendages reduce air pressure on the rider by 22%, which brings V100 Mandello close to the level of air protection afforded by more voluminous and less sporty tourers, thanks also to the protection provided by the top fairing, the height of which can be electronically adjusted.
So, this aero system does not appear to provide downforce, like the latest-generation superbikes. Instead, it provides protection from wind and weather that’s dependent on the rider’s sped; at around-town speeds, the bike is a laid-back roadster, but at highway speed, it’s more of a tourer.
A very clever plan all-round, and Moto Guzzi claims it’s the first to sell such a motorcycle.
Moto Guzzi says this is its first bike with its all-new “compact block” engine. It’s still a transverse V-twin, but water-cooled. That allowed Guzzi engineers to shrink the engine down in size from the V85 TT’s “small block” engine, while boosting displacement to 1042 cc.
The new engine has double overhead cams, with finger followers and four valves per cylinder. The cylinder herds are rotated 90 degrees from traditional Moto Guzzi layout. It comes with a wet sump lubrication system, and hydraulic wet clutch. There’s a quickshifter on the upscale model, too (base model just gets a standard six-speed gearbox). And, the camshafts are chain-driven.
The end result is 115 horsepower, and more than 77 pound-feet of torque, which is mostly available under 3,500 rpm. While that’s still a lot less jam than a superbike or the latest hypernakeds, it’s a big improvement over the brand’s previous air-cooled lumps. But are you worried it won’t feel like a classic V7 twin? The company says it’s “able to offer a riding experience worthy of the Moto Guzzi name.”
The new V100 engine still uses a shaft drive, running through a single-sided swingarm. The Guzzi press release says
The drive shaft exit position, much lower with respect to previous Moto Guzzi engines, does away with any suspension reaction owing to the transfer of torque, with no need for linkage on the swingarm. This makes for a smooth ride during both acceleration and release, like that offered by a chain drive, but with the typical advantages of the shaft, so less maintenance and greater cleanliness.
Again, this ain’t your grandpappy’s Guzzi. That sportier stance spreads elsewhere through the chassis, particularly with the front forks, integrating Ohlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active technology on the up-spec’d version of the bike. The frame itself is a steel tube arrangement with 1486-millimeter wheelbase, but Moto Guzzi says it is “ideal for showcasing the bike’s agility.” Moto Guzzi is familiar with steel tube construction, at least, and this lets the factory put together a proper beefy subframe, easily to handle the weight of a passenger and luggage.
There’s more. These days, a bike needs a proper electronics suite to be taken seriously, and that’s what Guzzi did with the Mandello. There’s a six-axis IMU paired with a new Marelli 11MP ECU to provide a wide range of electronic gadgetry: cruise control, cornering ABS, Travel/Sport/Rain/Road riding modes, selectable engine maps, engine braking level and traction control interference. These systems also manage the settings for the semi-active suspension. Presumably, some of these features will only be available on the higher-end version of the bike, but we haven’t seen that confirmed yet.
Moto Guzzi included a five-inch TFT gauge as standard, and there’s full LED lighting with adaptive function (it “shines into” corners at night, thanks to the electronic brain figuring out where the bike is turning—again, probably only standard on the high-end model).
Although we’d expect these bikes in North America in early to mid-2022, we have seen no arrival date or pricing at this point.