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Planet of Boom: 1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for Sale

In spite of their pedigree and style, these Guzzis are odd ducks. Or “geese,” I guess. They’re not really sportbikes: way too heavy, and a bit clunky. And they’re not really designed for comfort, so they’re not really touring, or even sport-touring machines, unless you start modifying them with HeliBars and Corbin seats.

Back when Guzzi’s line of sportbikes was conceived, their air-cooled, shaft drive configuration worked on both road and track, but the game has moved on, and Guzzi’s glacial technological development has relegated them to backmarkers in the sportbike game. Actually, since their absorption into the Piaggio Group, they’re sort of out of that game entirely.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for sale on eBay

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 L Side Front

Although the clinical wail of a water-cooled four may be the Sound of Power, they’re all a bit same-y, and that’s where the Guzzi’s traditional mechanical specifications pay off in spades: the clanking, throbbing engine and that longitudinal crankshaft, causing the bike to twitch right on the throttle. If you think it’s odd on the sidestand, imagine it on the move! It’s a bit disconcerting, the first time you feel it. You definitely get used to it, but that first moment of the bike rolling right slightly on the throttle has you thinking, “what the…?”

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 R Side Rear

The thundering, shuddering v-twin is something you won’t soon forget: the bike that hooked me on Italian twins wasn’t actually a Ducati, it was a Moto Guzzi Sport 1100. I was walking in Burbank years ago when a bright, red beast thundered by and I thought, “Ah ha. Now I get it.”

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 Dash

The original eBay listing can be seen here: 1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 It’s a dealer listing and there’s not much information there, other than fine print in Legalese, but there are plenty of very pretty pictures.

Interestingly, Guzzi adopted fuel injection pretty early on for their bikes, but this Sport 1100 still has carburetors and looks very classy in silver. I actually hate the rectangular headlight on these US-spec models: some markets got a trapezoidal lens that compliments the sleek half-fairing and, once you’ve seen one with the proper headlight, it’s hard to look at the front of these without cringing a bit.

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 L Engine

Sport 1100s used quality suspension components and Brembo brakes, but they’re a bit on the heavy side, minimal spine frame and bodywork notwithstanding: that huge powertrain package is just kind of a heavy lump. But on a Sunday morning blast up the coast, riding at 7/10ths, grooving on the spread of torque, high on boom, this kind of bike makes plenty of sense: charisma over raw power, finesse over absolute limits.

-tad

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 L Side

7 Comments

  • Pretty accurate review….and I totally agree on the headlight. I bought a new one and was irritated when it showed up with a rectangular headlight.

    That being said, I LOVE this bike….and after owning many motorcycles there’s something about it that makes it a keeper. If you had a chance to ride one I think most would agree. I wouldn’t fit the bill as your only bike, but I have seven and I cant think of any reason ever to sell it…..Mine is black/brown with a full SS staintune exhaust and it just looks and sounds fantastic……..great for medium distance cruises. Collectible?….who knows….maybe down the road this design will prove desirable as things get skinnier and smaller……its pretty robust looking in real life.

    • Yeah, “robust” is a good word for it: I love how the whole bike is clearly built around that imposing drivetrain. Although once the “spindly swingarm” was pointed out to me [thanks Bike magazine!] I can’t seem to unsee it. A red 1100i with a set of Staintunes or Termis would make me very happy, I think. Wonder how hard it is to get that other fairing sent over from Europe…

      So yours is black with a brown seat? Cool choice. Factory or custom?

  • The “black” was actually a dark bronze metallic. Very nice. That swing is weak when compared to the mass of the rest of the bike.

    Similar to this but without the cat – http://www.motorstown.com/images/moto-guzzi-1100-sport-01.jpg

  • My buddy has a stable of killer bikes including Triumph’s Tiger, Bonneville, and Daytona 675, BMW R1200S, a custom Intruder cruiser and an 03 Moto Guzzi V11 LeMans. I’m sure the character of this 1100 Sport and the V11 are very similar. It is a fantastic ride. It acts well beyond what’s on paper. My favorite in his group.

  • I’d like to see that other fairing you mentioned….

  • They’re asking too much. I bought one a couple years ago for something like $4500 with less than 10K on it, from a dealer no less. If you’re patient, one of these shouldn’t cost more than a 900SS.

    I still remember riding it back to the east coast from Chicago and hitting 125 mph on gps. It felt twice as fast as the 850 Le Mans. My favorite pure air-cooled-muscle-bike.

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