Inevitably the Supertwin's straight-line performance is hardly cutting-edge, but the near-standard Guzzi engine provides plenty of power to make life interesting. The V-twin's punch out of slower turns makes the bike easy to ride quickly on those winding and unfamiliar roads, as a twist of the light-action throttle sends the Supertwin storming from one bend to the next with pleasing force and a tuneful throbba-throbba from the louder than stock-but still restrained-twin pipes, which are built by Ferrari supplier, Tubi Style.
When I reach a main road and turn north toward Lecco, the Supertwin storms to a top speed of about 140 mph, feeling notably smoother than the V11, presumably due to that balanced flywheel. Having only five instead of six speeds doesn't worry me, as there is so much acceleration on tap everywhere from about 4000 rpm to the 8000-rpm redline. Still, the shorter, slicker shifting of the newer box would be welcome.
The neat footrests are quite high and rearset. At higher speeds the Supertwin's low screen takes the edge off the wind blast, even if it doesn't allow me to get right out of the breeze (or allow much of a rear view in the narrow mirrors). But on a scorchingly hot day I will not complain about that, and the compliant suspension helps make the bike reasonably comfortable.
By chance I'd saved the best 'til last, because it was only when I turned round and headed back toward Perego down that same winding road that I realized just how good the Supertwin's front-brake system is. In normal use I'd barely been conscious of it. The front stopper is very powerful, with a light action and plenty of feel at the lever, but apart from a tuneful racerlike whistling sound when used hard, the perimeter system feels much like a conventional set-up.
After storming down the hillside, though (then going back up for another go, just to make sure), the Supertwin's nonchalant stability and neutral feel when having to slow harder or change line while braking really seem outstandingly good. Ghezzi's-and Braking's-claims for the perimeter system are that it is lighter than a normal set-up and reduces a bike's tendency to run straight when the brakes are applied in corners. I'd need to make a back-to-back test to be sure, but first impressions are that they might well be right.
Whether perimeter discs are the way of the future remains to be seen. But there's no doubt that the innovation adds a fitting final touch to a bike which, despite its relatively low-tech motor, provides plenty of performance in a superbly agile and distinctive package. What's more, the Supertwin is reasonably priced for a hand-built machine, costing roughly $15,000, in either our test bike's red with silver frame, or blue with purple frame.
Ghezzi & Brian's Supertwin is more than just a great special, it is proof that the days of exciting new V-twin sports bikes from the Lake District of northern Italy are not over. If the Aprilia bosses now in charge of Moto Guzzi need any convincing that the famous old firm's future should include sports bikes as well as cruisers and naked standards, they need only imagine what this bike would be like if powered by a new-generation transverse V-twin with chain drive, plus an extra 30 hp.
|GHEZZI & BRIAN SUPERTWIN 1100 |
|MSRP ||$15,000 (approx.) |
|Type ||air-cooled 90-degree transverse V-twin |
|Valve arrangement ||ohv pushrod, 4v |
|Displacement ||1064cc |
|Transmission ||5-speed |
|Weight ||427 lb. (dry) |
|Fuel capacity ||4.7 gal. (18L) |
|Wheelbase ||55.3 in. (1405mm) |
|Seat height ||31.1 in. (790mm) |