Moto Guzzi back in South Africa

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IOL mot pic jun21 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1

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Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX 1200 should be here in time for the Amid show at the end of August. The pillion ornament, unfortunately, is not standard issue.

Kawasaki Motors SA is now also the South African distributor of Moto Guzzi motorcycles in South Africa.

Prior to 2006 various distributors sold the charismatic Italian motorcycles in small numbers, and the robust V-twins from the '70s and '80s still on the road are much sought after by enthusiasts - particularly 850 Le Mans that gave mainstream sports bikes a run for their money in terms of handling and straight-line performance, as well as reliability, thirty years ago.

KMSA brand manager for Aprilia - and now Moto Guzzi - Andre van Rooyen said: “Aprilia and Moto Guzzi are both owned by Piaggio, and we've had queries from existing Guzzi owners asking about bikes and spares ever since we took on the Aprilia franchise; now we'll be able to help them.

“Fourways Motorcycles in Gauteng, Aprilia South in Cape Town and East Coast Motorcycles in Durban will be the first Moto Guzzi outlets, but additional dealerships will be appointed in due course.”

“The Stelvio NTX 1200 and the 750cc V7 Café Racer are expected to arrive in South Africa in time for display at the AMID show on 25 and 26 Augus.

“And factory is about to start production of a new, 1400cc California cruiser that will soon be available in Custom and Touring guise, each with ABS.”

IOL mot pic jun21 Moto Guzzi California 1400 1

Moto Guzzi factory is about to start production of the 1400cc California cruiser, seen here.

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A BIT OF HISTORY

Founded by Carlo Guzzi in 1921 - and still building motorcycles in the same plant at Mandello del Lario on the outskirts of Como - the company to which he gave his name won 45 Grands Prix and seven World Championship titles in the 250, 350 and 500cc classes between 1949 and 1956.

In 1955 Moto Guzzi produced the world's first (and only) V8 Grand Prix motorcycle, a jewel-like creation designed by Giuliano Carcano that weighed only 143kg, fed by eight tiny carburettors sharing four float bowls.

At the 1957 TT Dickie Dale was timed at more than 280km/h on the final version of the Otto Cilindri, and after the factory pulled out of racing at the end of that season it would be twenty years before a 500cc motorcycle attained that speed again.

ITALIAN INNOVATION

Carlo Guzzi's first prototype motorcycle, built in 1920 before the company was officially formed, was way ahead of its time, with a unit-construction, over-square, single-cylinder engine with an overhead camshaft and four valves.

Moto Guzzi was also the first bikemaker to offer a centre-stand, the first with an automatic transmission and the first with its own wind tunnel.

Since the 1970s Moto Guzzi has built mainly touring and sports machines, all using their signature across-the-frame V-Twin engines with shaft drive to the rear wheel. Owned today by the industrial giant Piaggio, who also own Vespa, Aprilia, Derbi and Gilera, the factory produces less than 1000 bikes a month.

But late last year Piaggio announced that Moto Guzzi sales in 2011 had increased by 31 percent over the previous year, and they would invest almost €50 million Euros (R520 million) in the company over the next five years to update and expand the Mandello del Lario factory and develop new models.

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