As far as engine architecture goes Moto Guzzi’s draftsman nailed it just shy of 50 years ago. Cylinders bursting out in symmetrical harmony, delivering one of the most tuneful notes on two wheels. I’m a big fan (and own 2) and relatively easily pleased when it comes to custom Guzzis but not everyone is the same. Show the uneducated people a Moto Studio build though and I’d wager they could be persuaded to fall for a fat Italian from Mandello del Lario.
Moto Studio founder Bruce McQuiston and master mechanic Ryan Arends have been building Guzzi and Ducati (don’t even get me started on them) café racers together since 2013 and their style as far as we are concerned is marvellous. Their bikes shout ride me! whilst looking achingly gorgeous at a standstill. Bruce chooses more exotic donors the mainstream but says “I admire many builders from around the world that work with other manufacturers, but for me, the bike needs to start with a soul.”
In this case soul came courtesy of a 1995 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport, a carb’d version without all the electrics to get in the way of those super clean lines. The spine frame on these later Guzzis take a bit of working around to achieve an uncluttered side profile but with a black swingarm and shock the raw aluminium subframe goes someway to centralising visual bulk and focussing the eye on those lovely finned jugs. The subframe is of course an fabricated in-house, replacing the rather ugly effort by the boys back in the lake side factory. (Sorry chaps but you really screwed the pooch with those brackets on the stock bike).
Guzzis might be pretty but they tend to be big old girls who’ve packed on a few pounds, with a tank of fuel and a slug of olio in that deep sump the weight is tipping the scales at nearly quarter of a ton. Scrapping heaving cast brackets and mounts, replacing them with wonderfully machined billet aluminium parts has gone a long way to achieving a racier waistline. The seat unit and front mudguard are hand-laid carbon fibre which look the business in their matt form and play their part in the Cafe Nero’s diet.
Electrics on Italian bikes aren’t known for their ability to stand the test of time or mother nature so Ryan ripped out the stock loom. Before replacing it with a bespoke system he weighed the old one, nearly 6.5kgs of copper, relays and switchgear. Size zero Motogadget push buttons, M-Unit and keyless M-Lock do away with the confusion that is the stock Guzzi cockpit leaving a clear view ahead.
Despite being given a short build slot of just 45 days the guys have not only produced a great looking bike but one that should perform how the designers had originally intended, in their minds and draughtboard at least. With the cheap and heavy materials replaced by carbon and alloy the Moto Studio Cafe Nero can turn up at the weigh-in with its top off and ripped torso bulging, the needle pointing at just 197kgs. Not bad for a fat lass.
We’re looking forward to seeing more from Moto Studio but until then keep an eye on their work here.