Common Tread

EICMA 2015: Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress

Nov 17, 2015

When the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 concept debuted at EICMA 2014, I had two thoughts.

The first is that the bike was so ugly it was awesome. The second was that it would never come to light. The MGX-21 is exciting and new. The bike is not only being produced, but it’s amazingly close to the concept we saw, which seems to happen only rarely. I kind of already love it. Like most Guzzis, it's stylishly awkward. Chunky, blocky, and oddly endearing.

Sculpted batwing, flowing bags, matte black everything with pops of color. Isn't this the bagger all the custom guys are trying to build? Moto Guzzi photo.

Here's the quick breakdown: This bike is a bagger, plain and simple. The “21” in the moniker presumably comes from the front wheel size. I feel a 21-inch hoop is a good compromise between the “big wheel” look everyone seems to want and actual usability in terms of load-carrying capacity and handling. It leaves riders some decent tire choices, too.

RevZilla photo.

To be considered a traditional dresser, a V engine seems pretty necessary. The MGX borrows the 1,380 cc mill from the Guzzi California. And those crazy Italians put that thing in sideways!

The "flying V" jutting out from under the tank. RevZilla photo.

The chassis also follows the “bagger” recipe, but there’s enough twists on the classic form to keep this bike reeeeal interesting. The motor is visually attractive and intrudes into notched sections in the gas tank, à la a Harley J. Guzzi also seems to have taken the term “batwing fairing” completely literally. With all the ribs, it looks like this fairing was hanging off a cave ceiling just prior to getting splattered across the front of this-here touring motorcycle.

Man, those tank cutouts look killer. Moto Guzzi photo.

The original B-17 Flying Fortress was a huge, long-range bomber. It flew fast and high, and it carried a ton of deadly cargo. It could sustain massive damage, and still return home under its own power. Guzzi’s spin on things is certainly a nice homage — a large, chugging bagger designed to grind out long mileage at high speed with plenty of cargo space. Spurgie, I call dibs on this one too!