Moto Guzzi has been the greatest brands in the motorcycling world and boasts of nearly a century of rich history and expertise helping them produce motorcycles that are often ahead of their time. The company has not, even for today, compromised its Italian soul be it the race track or the streets. And for the first time in the company’s portfolio, it has developed a motorcycle that expresses the same influence of its past in an increasingly personal and an exclusively styled machine that you can tour and put your favourite music on.
Given the evocative sobriquet as the “Flying Fortress”, the MGX-21 is Italian’s take at the traditionally styled cruisers and tourers or what we also call as Baggers, a mainstay of motorcycling in America.
It has been nearly thirty-five years since McLaren first made use of carbon-fibre to build a monocoque chassis for its Formula One car. Since then, it has come a long way into making its use as both an aesthetical and functional unit of high-end production products as this MGX-21 which is abbreviated for Moto Guzzi eXperimental and 21’, the year when the first motorcycle came out of the Mandello del Lario factory.
This motorcycle was primarily developed to boost the brand’s American sales and now has entered the Indian shores along with the V9s’. As stealth as something on two wheels can get, this motorcycle features everything you would expect in a bagger. Half-fairings, sound system, hard panniers, comfy saddle and a whole lot of flair being exuberated; if you can still see it after it has absorbed all forms of radiations.
Designed by the futuristic thinkers of the Centro Stile Piaggio Group, with input from the Piaggio Advanced Design Centre (PADC) in California, this mysterious nocturnal creature fulfils everything for a bagger connotation and does it in carbon – fibre.
Lines and contours are decided by the honchos after undergoing careful fluid dynamics analysis with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations including the wind tunnel. This has led to a streamlined figurine that lets it cut the air like a fighter jet. Hence drubbed as “Flying Fortress” aptly.
A futuristic looking batwing-style fairing at the front is what you see as an immediately obvious appearance and then there is the big 90° transverse V-twin engine with two large cylinders that seem to literally explode out of the petrol tank. The red paint on the aluminium head covers is the only place other than the brake callipers where you will see a concept known as ‘colour’.
There is a huge deal of thought and meticulous selection of materials everywhere on the motorcycle. The electric controls on the handlebar are finished with metal shells and use of carbon-fibre is done lavishly on just about everywhere from the front mudguard, the fuel tank panels, the side pannier covers and the engine cover. Showing off is not a very difficult job for a Moto Guzzi, especially this fortress. It flaunts the large 21" alloy front wheel which also has lenticular carbon covers with small openings where the spokes intersect with the channel.
You will definitely get a wind screen protection, which works absolutely fine unless you do not twist that throttle wide open. It is not the best wind deflector in the industry. At the rear, you get two strips of LED flanked by two hard panniers which will carry 58 litres of your stuff around with you. And if you need more, you can swap the pillion seat for another saddlebag in its position.
The instrument cluster is made up of monochromatic, dot matrix display giving you a wealth of information on the move including fuel, gear indicator, clock, average and instantaneous fuel consumption and air temperature indicator. As a brand’s first, this motorcycle features a complete entertainment system including a stereo equipped with radio, with a 25W per channel amplifier blasting through a pair of loudspeakers housed within the fairings. You can connect a total of five Bluetooth devices and you also get a USB connector to hook on to any of your portable devices to stream music. MG-MP is the Moto Guzzi system that allows you to connect to your smartphone for telephonic or GPS navigation other than music of course. All of these adds as an important value to one’s ride and get the most possible enjoyment from the riding experience in full safety and control.
Carried over from the award winning Moto Guzzi California, the MGX-21 is armed with 1,380cc, longitudinally mounted, V-twin, fuel-injected and air and oil-cooled motor. The classic looking engine includes a very modern head design with four valves per cylinder and 10.5:1 compression ratio. It is also the same engine featured on the Audace we featured sometime back.
Armed with a pair of 104 x 81.2mm cylinders, it punches a flat torque curve of 121 Nm at 3000 rpm and power peaks at 97 bhp at 6500 rpm. The big air-cooled V-twin is a little too lazy and soft to be considered angry. Make no mistake, since the 1400 engine features ride-by-wire, it has three on-the-fly, rider adjustable engine maps: Veloce, Turismo, and Pioggia. When in the fastest of the three engine modes — Veloce — the MGX is a beast around town with it exploiting all the available power and torque. Turismo provides a smoother ride and Pioggia is suited for low grip conditions.
The most interesting and unique trait of this engine is the characteristic longitudinal vibrations at idling that turns into a silky smooth delivery above 2000 rpm. The motor houses a set of rockers and rollers to reduce loss due to friction and a double lambda sensor to reduce emissions as well. Backed with a hydraulic clutch, the engine transmits power through a 6 speed gearbox to the final shaft drive. Starts with an exhilarating bark, the exhaust settles for a muted unintimidating tone that turns into a beautiful whine during those quick dash on the highway and has earned EU4 certification with very long horizontal exhaust terminals.
|Bore/ Stroke mm||104/81.2|
|Type||90° Transverse V-twin, 4-stroke, 4-valve, dual spark ignition per cylinder|
|Valves per cylinder||4|
|Clutch type||Single plate with integrated flexible coupling|
This MG has developed a new steering geometry unlike any other in its line-up that ensures balance and ease of riding. This motorcycle has a small trick up its sleeve as well: a patented piece of tech having a system of regressive springs and particular kinematics. What it does is, it provides manoeuvring assistance to “close” in low speed and high steering angle shifts, counterbalancing the weight of the steering.
The riding position on the 21 is semi-upright and comfortable with its high semi-handlebars leaning towards the rider and footrests in a forward position. The contoured low saddle height of 740 mm occupies anyone of any size and provides a good level of back comfort.
The motorcycle is mounted on new, closed double cradle tubular frame structure consisting of larger diameter tubes in the front section and reinforcing plates in the rear thereby enhancing the stiffness too. Moto Guzzi has developed a new system to mount the engine called as elastic-kinematic mounting system which eliminates the vibrations produced due to the transverse engine. Nonetheless, you will still feel the pulsations the big block produces due to the huge 104 mm pistons. Allowing a purist to be excited every time he is on the saddle.
Moto Guzzi uses a benchmark braking and suspension units to heave this 341 kilo bike to control. Huge 320 mm double stainless steel floating disc are gripped with Brembo radial 4- piston opposed at the front and a single 282 mm disc with a two-piston calliper at the rear. A two-channel ABS with patented three- level traction control along with cruise control will give you miles and miles of travel without a sweat or effort from you. Suspension duties are handled by powerful 45 mm stanchions forks at the front and a pair of rear shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload to keep your ride soft and supple.
|Suspension / Front||45 mm telescopic fork|
|Suspension / Rear||Swingarm with double shock absorber with adjustable spring preload|
|Brakes / Front||Double stainless steel floating disc 320 mm clamps radial 4- piston opposed|
|Brakes / Rear||Stainless steel floating disc 282 mm, two-piston callipers|
|Tyres / Front||120/70 R21 62V|
|Tyres / Rear||180/60 R16 80H|
A price tag on the motorcycle depicts ₹27.78 lakh (ex-showroom) which is definitely not cheap. But is very much in line with the likes of the Harleys and the Indians available making the choice a rather more difficult one. You will get it in just the carbon-fibre flaky natural colour.
One can elevate the feel of this motorcycle and make it his own with their range of quality accessories that brings out the exclusivity within. They include a vast selection of items like the oversized top fairing, black aluminium mirrors, back levers, electronic devise bracket, cylinder guards, footboards, leather bags, and the list continues. You can also add more carbon if you feel this is less. You get carbon fuel tank cover, injector covers, side covers, passenger seat cover and luggage rack.
Made to out-win the American brands, the MGX-21 was in the first place designed to reign the segment which was already ruled by the likes of Harley and Indians. To take head on is a bold move by the Italian and is no doubt weighing down the Harley Davidson Street Glide Special.
The Harley Davidson Street Glide Special is powered by a four stroke, air cooled, Twin Cam 103B engine, which displaces 1690cc and puts up 130Nm of torque. These figures do make the Street Glide Special match the credentials of the MGX, but the overall refinement and the aural pleasure from the exhaust pipes from the MGX are marginally better. There is nothing much to differentiate between both the motorcycles when it comes to ride quality and comfort on both the motorcycles, which are absolutely stellar on both the machines.
You look at this machine as though it was designed to trample over the world and conquer, just like the stealth Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, Apache helicopter or even the B-17 bomber. They present an aura of superiority who created a raucous. And somehow, all of these just work for the better with the MGX-21. You have to be scared, very scared.
This motorcycle tells you a story of courage and tradition of MG’s the journey form 1921 till the current date. If you love exclusivity, then this could possibly be your best bet to bath on the majesty of this prestigious Italian bike.
Its visual presence is arresting and its build quality is simply excellent. What really makes it stand out is the amount of fun you will end up having on this, especially the feel of the internal trembling before-while-after you throw your legs around the saddle. It will totally rock your world and in a very literal sense.
It asks you to forget everything you know and hop on it to feel today what others will only make you experience tomorrow. And to live up to that statement, it gives you a taste of Italy wrapped in an American notion. Nothing could literally mean ‘Best of both worlds’.