60 Moto Guzzi’s beau­ti­ful ‘MGS-02’. RETRO RE­BOOT

The road-le­gal MGS-01 was ar­guably the most beau­ti­ful pro­duc­tion bike never built. We take a look at what could have been in a well-de­served re­boot.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS - WORDS AND IMAGES: KAR LEE / KARDESIGN

Moto Guzzi staff at the In­ter­mot show in 2002 had to hastily put bar­ri­ers up around the pro­to­type MGS-01 Moto Guzzi Sport num­ber one – it was get­ting mobbed. The de­sign was pro­duced by spe­cial­ists Ghezzi and Brian and was sup­posed to be a hard­core sports ma­chine. It’s fair to say they ex­ceeded their brief. Un­der Aprilia own­er­ship, Moto Guzzi was to com­plete a lim­ited batch of track-only ver­sions fol­lowed by a full pro­duc­tion run of road-le­gal ver­sions. An es­ti­mated 100 track bikes were built and sold in 2004 and the road ver­sion would fol­low… ex­cept it didn’t. Moto Guzzi had been taken over by Pi­ag­gio who promptly shelved the MGS-01 project and we never got to see it with head­lights, in­di­ca­tors and mir­rors. Un­til to­day, that is… The MGS-01 en­gine was unique for Moto Guzzi at the time. Fea­tur­ing 100mm Cos­worth pis­tons, four-valve heads and a six-speed gear­box, it boasted 122bhp and 83lb-ft of torque which was in the same ball­park as the revvier Du­cati 999. We reckon with the ex­tra 100cc of the lat­est 1400cc en­gine and the ad­vance­ments in lighter com­po­nents, fuel in­jec­tion and en­gine man­age­ment 145bhp is pos­si­ble. Not earth-shat­ter­ing on its own but def­i­nitely earth-rum­bling. There was lit­tle wrong with the styling of the ex­otic MGS-01, so our MGS-02 gets only mi­nor re­vi­sions to the body­work. The front cowl is sleeker, the tank and air-box has in­creased ca­pac­ity and the tail unit al­lows hot air to es­cape but also of­fers an ex­haust out­let op­tion, sim­i­lar to the Du­cati Des­mosedici. The belly-pan ex­tends fur­ther back to pro­tect the sus­pen­sion link­ages from dirt and aid aero­dy­nam­ics. The same box-sec­tion sin­gle back­bone frame de­sign keeps the wheel­base Rsv-mille short, but uses al­loy in­stead of steel to re­duce weight. Oh­lins forks and monoshock (the MGS-01 was the first Guzzi to use a ris­ing-rate rear link­age) sit front and rear while a stronger swingarm shrouds the shaft drive from view but keeps the light­weight wheels pinned to the ground.

What do you think? Is this the sport­ing Moto Guzzi you re­ally would like to see? Let us know…

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