Motorcycle: Moto Guzzi
Date: Thursday, October 28 @ 13:35:14 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
• MOTO GUZZI FALCONE
Italy's largest motorcycle manufacturer for much of its long history, Guzzi dates back to the closing years of the First World War when three air corps friends, Carlo Guzzi, Giorgio Parodi and Giovanni Ravelli, planned a bike firm. After Ravelli was killed in a flying crash, the other two adopted the air corps' eagle symbol in his honour. In 1920 Carlo Guzzi designed the firm's first bike, a 500cc four-stroke with a single, horizontal cylinder. The model was released two years boosted by racing success, rapidig became popular.
Guzzi retained and updated flat-single format for many years, leaving many of its more adventure engine layouts for racing. Landmark singles included the GT luxury 1928, with its novel sprung the Sport 15 of 1931, finished in t|g bright red that became a favourite Guzzi colour. The colour was also used for the famous series of production racers, which began in 1938 with the 28bhp, 100 mph (160kph) Condor, and continued with the Dondolino, Gambalunga and the 250cc Albatros — all of which won at the highest level.
The best loved road-going single was the Falcone, which was introduced in 1950 showing clear links with the Normale of almost three decades earlier. Essentially a sports version of the previous year's Astore tourer, the Falcone featured flat handlebars and rearset footrests.
In standard trim its top speed was 85mph (136kph), but when tuned with Dondolino engine parts the Falcone was good for over 100mph (160kph) which, along with the lazy, low revving power delivery, helped to explain its popularity. From 1953 the Falcone was built in Sport and Touring forms. Further updates kept it in production until 1976.
Guzzi's horizontal singles were hugely successful in racing, winning three 250cc world titles between 1949 and 1952, and then being enlarged to 350cc to take five consecutive championships from 1953. The first two championships were won by Scottish ace Fergus Anderson, who then took over as Guzzi's competition manager.
The greatest machine of all was the legendary 500cc V-eight, which was designed by Giulio Carcano and first raced in 1956. The watercooled, quad-cam, 90-degree V-eight revved to 12,000rpm, produced 72bhp and was timed at a phenomenal 178mph (286kph) at the Belgian GP in 1957. Despite these feats, Guzzi unfortunately pulled out of Grand Prix racing at the end of that season, so the V-eight never really fulfilled its true potential.
MOTO GUZZI FALCONE
Engine: Aircooled 2-valve pushrod single
Capacity: 498cc (88 x 82mm)
Power: 23bhp @ 4500rpm
Weight: 170kg (374 lb) dry
Top speed: 85mph (136kph)
Self-made businessman and fanatical motorcyclist Giancarlo Morbidelli used his huge woodwork machinery firm to finance production of some superb race-bikes. Morbidellis won three consecutive 125cc world titles in the mid-1970s, plus the 250cc crown in 1977. Another 125cc title was added the following year, after the MBA firm had been created to produce replicas, and the two-stroke twins remained competitive for several more years. A four-cylinder 500cc racer proved less successful, and Giancarlo Morbidelli finally quit racing. In 1994, he returned to motorcycling with a prototype roadster - an exotic sports-tourer-powered by a purpose - built, 850cc watercooled V-eight engine.
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