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Gentleman’s Express: 1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS

1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS L side

Moto Guzzi is famous for manufacturing quirky, long-legged sports machines like this Daytona RS. The Daytona featured Guzzi’s 992cc four-valve, SOHC engine that was also found in the bizarrely-styled Centauro. Fans fast Moto Guzzi’s from the 1990’s are probably most familiar with the Sport 1100, the lower-spec, lower-cost version of this machine that was fitted with the bigger two-valve pushrod motor. The fuel-injected engine had a higher, 9,000rpm rev-limit as shown on the white-faced tach but the powerband reportedly featured a frustrating flat-spot at 5,000rpm, right where you’d expect to find yourself on the road. This flat-spot was exacerbated by the standard, not-particularly-slick Guzzi five-speed gearbox that made it difficult to simply ride around the problem.

1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS Dash

While the frame and chassis were big improvements compared to earlier Moto Guzzis, by the late 90’s, the rapid pace of sportbike evolution had left them in the dust and the Daytona was too heavy, too clunky, and too slow to keep up with the new kids on the block. Ducati’s sadomasochistic sex appeal and cornering poise allowed it to compete against the Japanese but, compared to its direct rivals, the Daytona RS was really a “slow, old bus.”

With stable handling, good brakes, high-end suspension components, and a generally epic engine, it wasn’t a total loss though. Dripping with character and blessed with a booming exhaust, the Daytona RS was more of a GT and less of a raw sportbike. A flawed masterpiece for sunny morning rides through the canyons while you hold the bike a gear low to keep the revs ahead of that annoying flat-spot, riding a bike that makes you feel special.

1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS R side Engine

This Daytona isn’t perfect, but looks to be well cared-for example and includes some interesting features, and the fact that it needs a bit of cosmetic attention wouldn’t bother me, as it’d be a chance to go back to a more traditional eagle logo on the tank. While the bike originally was available with a passenger pad and pillion pegs, this bike’s solo tail is possibly for the best: passenger accommodations were supposedly very poor…

The bike features head-guards, although I’ve never seen this particular, abbreviated style before. On two-valve Guzzis, these actually do more to protect the spark plug leads than the heads themselves, allowing victims of low-speed crashes to get back on the road running on both cylinders. The four-valve engine’s plugs are more recessed, but the guards should still protect the heads themselves in a crash.

1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS L Termi

The sound of any uncorked Guzzi twin is truly epic, and the genuine Termignoni pipes fitted should give this Daytona the ability to shatter windows from blocks away.

I’m curious about those front brakes: they look like six-piston calipers. The bike was originally equipped with the standard package of Goldline four-piston Brembos common to many Italian bikes of the era, although the Italians are notorious for fitting non-standard bits partway through a production run, so perhaps these are original?

1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS FI Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS

1536 original miles, clean title with paper work, I was told by a collector that only 308 were made. The bike is in very nice condition, runs extremely strong, but will need to be repainted due to the fact it was dropped over in the back of a truck and has some scratches and 2 indentations in the tank. The turn signal are tucked under the tail fairing, but are still there. This is the solo seat version with a dual Termignoni carbon fiber exhaust system. The motorcycle has just been serviced and will be getting new fork seals before this auction is over.

There are two days left on the auction with no takers yet at the $6,000 starting bid. While the $12,000 Buy It Now price might seem steep for a 90’s Guzzi, this bike shouldn’t be confused with its more common two-valve sibling: the Daytona RS is really the ultimate incarnation of the spine-framed Guzzis. Although this example has a few minor cosmetic issues, the low miles and general quality of the bike make it a tempting place to start if you’re looking to complete your collection with one of the best-looking Guzzis of the era.

-tad

1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS R side

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