Moto Guzzi's MGS-01 (short for "Moto Guzzi Sport 01") broke cover at the 2002 Intermot Expo in Munich, Germany, and immediately commanded the attention of motorcycle fans worldwide. Guzzis typically only appeal to a "select" brand of enthusiast, but the MGS-01, with lithe bodywork hovering above a massive, mechanically commanding motor, elicited affection from across the board.
The design study was conceived and completed in just nine months by Giuseppe Ghezzi, co-founder of Missaglia, Italy's Ghezzi and Brian, a tuning firm renowned for building high-performance Guzzis. The powerplant was similar to that which powered Ghezzi's Pro Thunder racers, bored out to a monstrous 1225cc and producing a claimed 120 rear-wheel horsepower. The MGS-01 was tricked-out with a MotoGP-inspired aluminum swingarm, O.Z. wheels, Öhlins suspension, Brembo radial brakes, on-board data acquisition and more.
Guzzi eventually produced around 150 race-only MGS-01 Corse models, which sold for $25,000 a pop. The bike was even raced with some success. In '06 and '07, Italian Gianfranco Guareschi dominated the AHRMA Battle of the Twins F1 competition at Daytona. In between he won the Italian Supertwins Championship.
Despite this promising performance, the MGS-01 was already dead in the water. Aprilia, which owned Guzzi at the time the bike was produced, had sold the historic brand to Piaggio in '05 and the new owners almost immediately shelved the project. The assembly line survives, however, and Guzzi says it could still produce bikes on a "made-to-order" basis. Otherwise, prospective MGS-01 buyers will have to look to the used market-or start campaigning for an MGS-02. C'mon, Piaggio, it's still not too late-and make it street-legal this time, too.