Italian boutique manufacturer Ghezzi & Brian (lately refined to Ghezzi-Brian) has been widely acclaimed for its tantalising trickle of high-end Moto Guzzi-based sportsbikes with custom chassis and tricked-out styling since 1995. Bruno Saturno, the owner of the business, has developed a third new model which neatly plugs a gap in Moto Guzzi’s own line-up: the V-Twin Motard. This is based on the stock Moto Guzzi Griso 8V 1200 and turns the bike into something quite different than anything in the Italian manufacturer’s catalogue.
The key element in the transformation kit is the bodywork package styled by Saturno himself, complete with duckbill front mudguard emanating from a bluff-fronted nose fairing that’s surmounted by a flat, broad, vestigial screen, with stacked ellipsoidal headlights which surely came straight from a Ducati 999.
Thanks to a 50-percent larger 52-litre airbox incorporating a K&N filter and that freer-flowing conical-capped QD exhaust with the Magneti Marelli ECU remapped to suit, the Motard has a massive 20bhp (15kW) more power than the stock Griso between 4000-5000rpm while producing just a couple of extra horsepower at peak revs – 98bhp (73kW) at 7200rpm at the rear wheel versus 96bhp (71kW). But it not only also makes a peak 106Nm of torque at 6250rpm measured at the rear wheel against 98Nm 500 revs higher on the stock Griso, but has an infinitely flatter curve and an enormous 30Nm more grunt at 4700rpm, just where it really matters.
In holding on tight, you can’t help but notice the ride quality of a bike which, at a claimed 220kg dry, is a substantial 18kg lighter than the stock Griso and is considerably better over rough surfaces than the standard bike. Which is a fine introduction to the benefits of what Bruno Saturno insists is the single most important ingredient in the Motard’s mechanical make-up – the semi-active electronic rear shock courtesy of Dutch specialist Tractive Suspension which invented the electronic suspension for BMW.
This sees the V-Twin Motard equipped with Tractive’s Dynamic Damping Action (DDA) monoshock rear suspension, whereby the rider is asked to select the load carried (rider alone, with passenger, or with passenger and luggage) and then within each of those three parameters a chosen riding mode (Comfort, Road, Sport) via a control unit attached to the handlebar on which each setting is monitored via three LED lights. The DDA system then automatically adjusts the shock absorber’s response to changing road conditions in real time, with the suspension responding according to the oscillation speed of the shock’s stroke, the position in the stroke, and the intensity of its variation.
The Motard floats over rough surfaces in a way that initially seems quite uncanny – you’re bracing yourself for a bumpy ride when you see the road rash looming up ahead of you, but suddenly you’re back on the smooth surface again and barely felt the difference. Once you get on your way and speeds rise, what seems at rest to be quite a bulky handful just sheds weight and mass as the pace hots up.
Ghezzi-Brian’s latest feels improbably sharpsteering and capable in turns for a bike this big, and especially a shaftie – it’s just plain fun to ride.
Cylinder head OHC, four valves per cylinder
Bore/stroke 95 x 81.2mm
Compression ratio 11:1
Fueling EFI, 2 x 50mm Dell’Orto throttle bodies
Power 73kW @ 7200rpm (claimed)
Torque 106Nm @ 6250rpm (claimed)
Final drive Chain
Frame material Steel
Frame layout Twin-loop tubular cradle frame
Trail Not given
Front: Showa 43mm USD fork, fully-adjustable,
Rear: Monoshock, electronic fully-adjustable
damping, manual preload, 120mm travel
Wheels Kineo wire-spoked, forged aluminium
Front: 17 x 3.5 Rear: 17 x 5.5
Tyres Metzeler Sportec M5 Interact
Front: Twin 320mm Braking discs,
Rear: 282mm disc, two-piston caliper
Weight 220kg (dry, claimed)
Seat height 830mm
Max width Not given
Max height Not given
Fuel capacity 17L
Fuel consumption Not given
Top speed 220km/h (est)
Dynamic damping shock
So much fun
Sidestand scrapes easily
High seat height