Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Bagger
19th August 2016
Flying Fortress | California | Specs | Review
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If you're into aggressive, macho, sinister, futuristic special forces stuff like Black Ops, stealth vehicles and Batman, then Moto Guzzi's new MGX-21 Flying Fortress might just be the high-mobility terrain-muncher you want for that next deep cover mission into ... well, we can't give out the precise location. But you know exactly what we're talking about...
This motorcycle has just been unveiled at the 2016 76th Sturgis Bike Rally in South Dakota, USA (and we can tell you that everyone who witnessed it has been sworn to secrecy, etc).
Here's the latest intel and specifications...
The MGX-21 is based upon the current Moto Guzzi air- and oil-cooled 1400 California platform which actually displaces 1,380cc (84 cubic-inches). This 4-valve (per cylinder), 90-degree rubber-mounted transverse V-twin is claimed to churn out around 90lbs-ft of torque @ 3,000rpm. The bore is 104mm. The stroke is 81.2mm. The compression ratio is 10.5: 1. Maximum power is a thumping 95hp @ 6,500rpm.
This 6-speeder transmits its muscle through a dry clutch and Guzzi's heavy-duty and durable cardan shaft drive to a 5.50 x 16-inch wheel running a 180/60R16 tyre. The front wheel is a 3.50 x 21-incher shod with 120/70R21 rubber, and that front wheel is undoubtedly leaning more towards style than performance.
Frame, suspension & brakes
The frame is a heavy duty steel double cradle stiffened in the key areas. The front fork is built around 46mm diameter tubes and offers 4.7-inches of travel. The rear suspension is listed simply as "dual shocks", also with 4.7 inches of bounce. The wheelbase is 66.93 inches. The seat height is 29.1 inches (740mm).
The brakes are radial Brembos front and back; specifically a pair of four-piston calipers squeezing 320mm discs. The rear caliper is a two-piston unit coupled with a 282mm disc. ABS is, of course, standard. The wheels are aluminium running tubeless tyres.
Amusingly, Moto Guzzi tells us that "... if you want to stay unobserved, look elsewhere..." which is at odds with the Black Ops, Ninja assassin stuff. But what's a little extra hyperbole in a world currently overdosing on exaggeration and ballyhoo?
"Seducing the night" is the official factory marketing line. But the "Flying Fortress" stuff is a little cheeky. The Italians have clearly appropriated the name of one of America's most famous heavy bombers. It would be like Triumph flogging us the [Junkers] JU88. Some things just ain't ... well, done. But to mitigate objections from the hardened patriots, we can reveal that the bike was styled by (parent) Piaggio's California design house, not a million miles from Boeing's Seattle production plant where the B-17 Flying Fortress was built.
The MGX-21 has been a long time coming. Over a year ago Moto Guzzi revealed the concept, and it seems that the finished bike hasn't strayed too far from the master plan.
Other features include traction control, numerous riding modes, dual spark ignition, and (of course) those stylish moulded panniers. Carbon fibre (or fiber to the Yanks) has been splashed around everywhere. The fuel tank holds 4.5 gallons imperial, which is around 5.4 gallons Stateside. The bike weighs in at a hefty 748lbs (341kg), which isn't actually bad for this sector and won't shock anyone looking for a bagger. Or, perhaps more accurately, a sports bagger.
The price in the USA is around $21,000. The bike is currently available by special order only in the UK, and we can't get a confirmed price. But if it helps, the two current California models are priced at £15,136 (Audace), and £15,636 (Eldorado).
From this distance, this looks like a pretty cool machine if you forget all the hype and just enjoy Moto Guzzi's build credentials and riding ethos. We've piloted a number of Californians, and a good number of other Guzzis, and they've pretty much all hit the right spots.
The livery is okay with us, and that included all the flashy red splashes that (perhaps a little pretentiously) nods towards the race track.
We figure that a few Harley-Davidson, Indian and Victory riders will be closely watching this motorcycle and stealing glances down at the local biking hangout.
The worst we can say about this new MGX-21 is that the numbers all look pretty good, and the specification looks right for the target market. But we wouldn't buy one.
Why not? No special reason, except that Moto Guzzis just don't light us upóbut they come dangerously close at times, and this is perhaps one of those moments.
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