Moto Guzzi Concept Bikes

Kevin Ash

Pictures: Kevin Ash (click on images)

Guzzi_concept_06_0.jpg

Pierre Terblanche and Miguel Galluzzi have created a series of knockout concept bikes for Moto Guzzi, which were shown for the first time at the 2009 Milan Show.

The bikes, dubbed V12LM, V12X and V12 Strada are designed to help Guzzi shed its old fashioned image with innovative new technology and lean, modern styling. The three bikes are different versions of the same basic style, the LM nodding towards the old Guzzi Le Mans with its sports bias, while the X and Strada versions are trail and street bikes respectively. Each is powered by Guzzi`s latest 1200cc, eight valve V-twin, and Terblanche says much of what is featured could be put into production. The LED headlamp arrangement is only a few years from being a production reality while other components are mostly conventional beneath the restyle.

Several things are of specific interest though. The finned plates on each side of the steering head are not solely for cosmetic purposes, these are used to help cool the engine via high tech heat pipes which carry excessive heat away from the exhaust valve region of the cylinder heads. See a full explanation of the technology here.

The exhaust pipes look conventional but these are made of a material called Inconel, an alloy of nickel and chromium with other metals in smaller quantities. It is used in the aerospace and chemical industries in extreme environments for its exceptional stability at high temperatures and resistance to corrosion, and also in the exhaust systems of Formula One cars. Click here for a full description of Inconel.

The V12LM is pictured with the bodywork raised, a feature designed to improve serviceability. A first tier of regular service items is immediately accessible underneath, then these two lift up to reveal less commonly used service items.

The bikes also feature rear view cameras on each cylinder head, which these days is relatively inexpensive and robust technology. These feed back images onto screens in place of conventional mirrors. Although legal requirements mean standard mirrors must be fitted, Terblanche says the screens could be incorporated into stock mirrors to improve the rearward view, and this is a perfectly productionable feature.

The LM incorporates the rear shock within the single-sided swingarm structure, a move designed to free up space behind the engine for the airbox and exhaust system, although in practice this would add significantly to the unsprung weight at the rear and affect ride quality.
While none of the bikes is intended as anything more than a concept, these do show a design direction in which Moto Guzzi is looking seriously.

Pierre Terblanche is former head of design at Ducati, where he was responsible for the Supermono, 999, MHe900, Sport Classic range, Hypermotard and Multistrada, as well as other machines such as the Cagiva Gran Canyon. Galluzzi is best known as the stylist of the iconic Ducati Monster under the auspices of Massimo Bordi, as well as the Cagiva Raptor and most recently the Aprilia RSV4 superbike, and is now employed as designer by the Piaggio Group, owner of the Guzzi, Aprilia, Vespa, Derbi and Gilera brands. Terblanche heads his own design company in Italy.

The bikes were announced as winners of the Motorcycle Design Association's Best Concept Award during the Milan Show.

* Moto Guzzi Concept Heat Pipe Cooling System
* Moto Guzzi Concept Inconel Exhausts

shuggiemac
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How wonderful it was to see these bikes in Milan and I am personally pleased that Pierre Treblanche has been involved again with something that has got people talking in a positive way. He took a bit of a mauling from many quarters over some of his Ducati efforts and in many ways unfairly. Then again as someone who spent his own hard earned on a 999 I suppose I would say that. The original Multistrada on the other hand .... well less said about the better. The Hypermotard though is a pretty damn nice bike.

In spite of the impressive technology for the cylinder head cooling, I would still think that mounting the rear facing cameras on top of the pots is not the best place for them - vibration, temperature will surely be there in abundance. Is there not also the chance that instead of having a mirror full of elbow as on say the 999 there would be a blurry screen full of knee !?!

That however is being somewhat flippant and I am very impressed with what Guzzi have done here and really do hope that they garner success on the back of this. The use of the Inconel pipes is fascinating and it would be interesting to know how they do manufacture them within the confines of the rapid work hardening. CNC benders are incredibly accurate (relatively speaking) and repeatable but they surely still have to make multiple bends in a pipe so does this throw up challenges?

The overall presentation was very impressive and having seen the bikes in the flesh I also believe that they have done a great job of the styling to show off the new elements as well as putting that iconic engine on display. It all fits well together.

kevash
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Yes I wondered about both of those things. The camera are solid state though and apparently are up to that, but while they look around your legs if your in summer gear I think with winter kit there'd be a problem. But legally you can't have those without conventional mirrors anyway. Designers hate mirrors though!

They were beautifully executed though - mind you, PIerre was looking a bit rough on the first day, he said they'd been working through the night to get the bikes ready and only finished at 6.30am...

shuggiemac
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It is pretty obvious that Mr T is not a huge fan of mirrors as the ones on the 999 truly are all but bloody useless. I am actually quite serious in this and am amazed that they manage to get away with it. I am sure they are required to have mirrors by law but I guess as long as they are physically on the bike then that is ok, it is obvioulsy not a requirement that the rider should actually be able to safely see behind him/her whilst in motion. To my mind its is a bit like insisting that a car has a seatbelt but if it strangles you at the same time then that is fine as long as it is installed.

I was riding the 999 home last night in the dark and it is just down right dangerous and takes all pleasure out of the ride. I am now trying to figure out if I can knock up some decent mirror extenders that will still blend in but let me see something other than the accrued organic debris that is fifteen years of dead insects and crud that are ingrained into my jacket elbows.

It would be laughable if it was not so frightening.

kevash
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The 1198 is worse... seriously! You can actually see more if you stick your arm out and look underneath it, rather than draw it inwards as you do on most bikes with crap mirrors. Ducati now rather coyly offers a 30mm mirror extension kit for the 1198, which improves them to merely awful.

I've always been surprised that there's no legislation determining how much you should be able to see in them but like you say, the law seems happy as long as they're fitted. But it won't allow rear view cameras, which would be much better.

shuggiemac
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We have a few of these cameras's in stock as samples, so I am actually considering rigging one of them up under the tail unit of the Duc and mounting the small recording unit/display on the top yoke as a back up. I have nothing to lose as they are sitting gathering dust in any case. If I get round to it over the winter and it works then I'll post some photos of it.

Is it actually illegal in the UK to have rear mounted cameras in addition to the mirrors?

kevash
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No, you can have them as well, Pierre was talking about maybe inserting small screens within the conventional mirror area. Be interested to know how well it works when you've done it (so now the pressure's on...)

shuggiemac
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OK it's a deal. I'll set to it over the winter and I'll let everyone know how it goes. If it is a spectacular failure I can still use the video unit to watch films on.

As for inserting small screen areas into the mirror area, my first reaction is that they would still have to be reasonably big to allow you to see something in the time frame of the quick glance that is all that we can normally afford to take our eyes off the road ahead.

If Mr Terblanche would like to take avail of my upcomng research then please let him know that my rates are incredibly reasonable.