Moto Guzzi turned 100 this year, and celebrated with a slew of special edition models. But the crew at Guzzi Motobox in Catalonia had something grander in mind. To pay tribute to the storied Italian centenarian, they set out to build their ultimate Moto Guzzi cafe racer.
The idea of creating a 100th anniversary Moto Guzzi came about rather fortuitously. A client arrived with a whopper of a brief, and since it coincided with the factory’s birthday, the ante was upped considerably.
“The challenge,” says Guzzi Motobox co-owner, Manel Segarra Capera, “was to build a Guzzi that rivals modern day capabilities, has a top quality finish, and looks like a motorbike that has come directly from the Mandello del Lario factory.” A tall order, but one that the shop had confidence in taking on.
Guzzi Motobox (also known as GMB99) was started by Manel’s father 26 years ago, and back then worked exclusively on Moto Guzzis. Manel and his brother Sergi later joined the team, and took over the shop when their father passed away seven years ago. The team has since grown, and, as Manel puts it, “is dedicated to the completion of clients’ dreams.”
They certainly pulled out all the stops to make this dream a reality. This project started with a 2011-model Bellagio donor, but all that’s really left of it is the frame, transmission and final drive. And there’s been a number of changes to the chassis, too.
GMB99 had to shed the Bellagio’s cruiser-like geometry for something sportier, so they modified the steering neck to sharpen the steering, and fettled the rear with a new subframe.
Next they installed top-shelf Öhlins suspension; upside-down forks, and a built-to-order rear shock. The forks are held in place by a set of custom-machined yokes.
The wheels are mismatched but look like they belong together. There’s a Yamaha R1 hoop up front, and a magnesium wheel from Marvic out back. The twin front brake calipers are Beringer’s six-piston Aerotec billet aluminum units, setup with custom carbon cooling ducts for the discs.
It’s an impressive chassis package, but the real story here is the motor. GMB99 transplanted the eight-valve powerplant from a 2008-model Moto Guzzi Griso—then tasked the specialist shop Radical Guzzi with bumping it up to a whopping 1,700 cc. The upgrades include new cylinders, pistons, connecting rods and a crankshaft kit, adding up to “a lot of money,” as Manel admits.
There’s also a pair of 44 mm Mikuni HSR carbs fed by velocity stacks, and a custom exhaust system that terminates in an Akrapovič muffler. The crew has experience in prepping Moto Guzzi race bikes, so they put that expertise to work to rebuild and lighten the bike’s clutch. This cafe racer now makes a reported 142 hp and 160 Nm of torque.
It’s a looker too, thanks to a clever mash up of scalped and custom bodywork. The fuel tank comes off a newer Moto Guzzi V7, but the crew cut it and welded a new piece in, to ‘stretch’ it. The front fairing’s a modified Triumph Thruxton 1200 part, with the addition of a pair of custom-shaped fiberglass aero wings.
The seat’s custom too, upholstered by the Spanish seat specialists MPGas, and sporting more length and padding than most modern cafe racers. And there’s a second one that has space for a passenger, plus a removable set of pillion pegs.
Behind the fairing you’ll find new clip-ons, with Beringer controls, bar-end mirrors, and slick switches from Renard Speed Shop. There’s also a digital speedo with GMB99 branding, and a keyless ignition.
A host of smaller custom touches are sprinkled throughout the machine. Keen eyes will spot a new brace on the swingarm, but GMB99 have also fabricated a new battery box, axles, foot controls and more. The finishes are impeccable too, from the elegant blue paint to the tasteful 100th anniversary insignia.
We’ve seen plenty of Moto Guzzi cafe racers, but few that are this well considered—or this well specced. Bravo.
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