It’s all well and good running around on wheezy little twin cylinder machines or thumping singles that require a damn good thrashing, but what if you’re the kind of rider that prefers good old fashioned torque? I like the old tale about Carrol Shelby supposedly placing a $100 bill in the glove box of an AC Cobra and telling passengers that if they could grab it while he accelerated, they could keep it. Whether being pinned back in your seat or having your arms pulled from their sockets, torque is the smile producer – BHP is more useful down the pub.
Stefan Bronold from Germany grew up on the back of his father’s Harley and soon became accustomed to shove rather than outright power. A couple of decades later in 2010 he set up Radical Guzzi and has since perfected the art of shoehorning Moto Guzzi’s most voluminous motors into classically proportioned Tonti frames. Despite the original frame design appearing a little too spindly for such a task, Lino Tonti knew what he was doing and utilising the engine and transmission as a stressed member makes for a particularly strong and relatively stiff chassis.
There have been various incarnations of the Radical Guzzi design and jaws dropped at the Ristretto when that thundered out of the Meisterbetrieb based workshop. That had a 1400 California engine and required forward facing exhausts to allow enough silencing length. The bike you see here, The Fugitive, follows the theory that there ain’t no replacement for displacement and packs some serious punch. The customer, Allan, resided in the good old US of A and contacted Stefan to discuss a no holes barred project. He wanted the soul of an air cooled Guzzi wrapped in a chassis package that could keep up with more modern sports bikes.
Stefan started with a stripped down 4 valve engine, setting the stock barrels and pistons aside, replacing them with 1400cc versions. The rest of the internals were refreshed to cope with the planned power hike. The cylinder heads have been ported and polished to make the most of a return to carburettors. A brace of Keihin FCR41 flat slides to be precise, sucking through short velocity stacks. Allan had best make sure his trousers are securely fastened, this thing looks like it could suck them right off.
The cams have been superseded by a pair with a more aggressive profile and after setting up on the dyno the figures are quite impressive. Oomph is up from 120 to 160 NM and Welly now 140PS rather than the 110PS of the original. Stefan is pleased with his efforts, saying “the engine has become one of the most impressive, agile and elastic power plants we have ever ridden in a Guzzi. We estimate that it is the strongest air cooled Guzzi engine available on the market.” I won’t argue with that.
All that momentum would be wasted if the bike tied itself in knots at the sight of a corner so Stefan insisted on some hefty chassis upgrades. A custom 17″ wheelset shod in modern rubber is held up front by a Marzocchi fork acquired from an MV Agusta. In-house designed and machined triple clamps mate the setup to the subtle frame. A pair off Wilbers shocks keep the rear in check and hopefully stops the cardon shaft from turning the whole bike into a flying auger, just to be sure Stefan fabricated a stronger one-off swingarm.
A radially mounted Beringer Brake system should keep Allan from undoing all of Stefan’s hard work and if nothing else those solid discs look the business. Motogadget switchgear keeps the cockpit clean and simple along with a customised all-in-one speedo/tacho.
In addition to the rows of CNC machines in the Radical Guzzi workshop there’s also more traditional equipment and Stefan enjoys practicing old school techniques. The aluminium fuel tank is hand beaten, rolled and welded. “Realizing the project meant spending many hours in the gargage and on the miling machine – creating new parts and adjusting old ones. Our goal was to develop a modern bike that fears no comparism to a factory built like the BMW r nineT. After having finished the Fugitive we dare say: We have come pretty damned close to that claim!” says Stefan.
With that amount of shove and tipping the scales at just under 200kgs with a full tank of fuel The Fugitive should be one wild ride. If any customers from the U.K. end up ordering one of Stefan’s bikes, please can you drop by the Bike Shed and let us have a go.
But don’t just take his word for it, The Fugative’s owner Allan is over the moon with his big barrelled beauty, saying “Everybody who has ever ridden a Guzzi should ride this!” Well, you know where we are Allan.
We’ll be reporting on more bikes from Radical Guzzi and will hopefully see him run at this year’s Glemseck drag race but for now Facebook | Web