Ghezzi & Brian Furia - Motorcycle.com
This thing defies logic. The engineering lobe in my brain, the one that has been conditioned by years of analyzing all sorts of bizarre creations, claims after a while that this thing just can't be built. Yet here I am, in front of a midget sized 1100 Guzzi engined scoot that's short, compressed and tall, the exact inverted image of my Le-Mans III. Standing next to the Ghezzi & Brian Furia, my old 850 looks as long as a stretch limo and low as a genuine Arlen Ness job. Guess Ill just have to ask Giusseppe (the Ghezzi half of the equation) how he managed to stuff a 35 year old, longitudinal crank, tractor's engine into a 55.3" wheelbase, a figure that is closer to R1 or Fireblade territory, than it is to a Mandello product.
This is the second time that I'm visiting this small venture and it's hard not to notice all the hard work these guys have done, in the year and a half since my last trip. First of all, they've moved into new and much larger premises and the "production line" (about four bike lifts...) doesn't share space anymore with a dental equipment warehouse. In fact, the smart and creative engineering solutions in the Sport-Twin I tested back then, have caught the eyes of Guzzi's management and the development of the breath taking, MGS 01 racer was entrusted to Ghezzi & Brian. Beside this dream task and moving the factory, time was also found to widen the model lineup. Even though the whole Ghezzi & Brian thing started with racing, via the Super-Twin, there can be no denying the growth in the naked bike sector, at least in Europe. With such a photogenic engine under their hands, putting together a less focused, more all-round and usable machine was the way to go.
The "right kind of fun" on a naked, begins in proper at the mountains surrounding Missaglia, G&B's home town, a place where you can instantly feel as if you're in a Playstation game, while toying around between 40 and 70 mph. In this environment, the Furia shows its love for the tight and quick, either laying hard on it side or changing direction rapidly. Doesn't matter at which rate you dial in your lean angle, this creature doesn't seem to mind that down there is a small lead lump in the shape of a big block Guzzi. Raising the pressure doesn't faze the Furia either; trail braking into turns doesn't result in any standing up. But these extremely quick manners and the very upright steering angle, that's more suited to a clip-on equipped bike, do carry a price. Feedback from the front was lacking a bit at extreme lean angles and once or twice, I felt the front starting to step away. To put it shortly, the Furia's front end is surgeon scalpel sharp, so don't be surprised if you get gashed; this is no user-friendly tool for beginners or even mid level riders.
Without me even noticing, this test day is getting long. I've already been riding for a few hours, some of the time with my dear photographer on the back seat, yet comfort is actually good even for a long legged rider on such a short bike. It's at least as comfy as a Ducati Monster is and the back seat is way better than the joke on the V11, a bike that's supposed to be more touring oriented to begin with. The seat might look small but it's well padded and the funky looking cover material really holds you in place. The only thing to spoil my fun in the mountains was the limited lock to lock angle. While trying to zigzag between two stuck cars it almost caught me out. For a bike that is well suited to city dwelling and showing-off the steering angle is ridiculously small.
On the way back to the factory, I take a nearby autostrada, to see what she'll do on more flowing tarmac. The Furia has no trouble climbing up to 120 and a 100-mph cruise speed is quite realistic. At those speeds, the Furia still invites you to attack sweepers and the extreme chassis parameters do not make the Furia nervous. It actually remains very confidence inspiring at high speeds, something I cannot say about all naked mounts I've tested. Riders accustomed to faired bikes will of course complain about the lack of wind protection, but that misses the point of the whole naked experience, doesn't it? Those more accustomed to the naked theme will appreciate the effectiveness of the small screen that splits the air down low without creating much annoying turbulence. What did annoy me on the open road, was the ultra long gearing. An unscientific check showed that at 60mph the engine is idling at a lowly 3200 rpm! With this sort of gearing, fifth becomes a serious overdrive. Interestingly enough, my colleagues at the Italian Motociclismo magazine didn't find any gearing problem with the bike they tested. Turns out that you can order your Furia with a lower gearing option. Be sure to do so.
The handling is superbly modern, extreme even, making that engine feel 30 years younger but doesn't prevent the Furia from being a multi use bike. An exotic piece that should satisfy any Guzzisti's need for exclusivity and showoff value while supplying daily service, inclined fun on the weekends and even a discreet touring capacity. Taking into account the quality of the craftsmanship on that hand welded frame, the exquisite details (look at those passenger footpeg hangers) and the exotic componentry, the 17,000 Euro asking price is even reasonable.
Moto Guzzi 1100 V-Twin 1064 cc ; Electronic Injection ; 87hp @ 8,250r.p.m.
8.2 Kgm @ 3500r.p.m.
Steel single beam with Engine as stressed part ; T.I.G. welded ; rear progressive working swingarm.
Solid Aluminium blank forged - CNC machine ; Front 3.5" x 17" - Rear 5.5" x 17"
Front 120/60 - 17 ; Rear 180/55 - 17
Paioli upside-down Hydraulic telescopic fork 41 mm with three settings ; Hydraulic Öhlins monoschock absorber with separate tank and three settings
Front : dual perimeter Ø 420 disc - 4 pistons calipers ; Rear : disc Ø: 220 - 4 pistons caliper
wheel base 1405 mm
185 kg dry
211 km/h (132 Mph)
Black or red Frame ; Orange, Blue, Black, Red and green Guzzi- Special colors available on request.