The year 2023 has witnessed the Ducati Monsters’ resurgence in the custom bike scene, with the parts bin special designed for customisation, gaining popularity among a new generation of enthusiasts. Just over a decade after the Monster’s creation through a process akin to Frankenstein’s experiment, another factory, located three hours north, decided to delve into its own parts bin to craft a naked bike that would capture the custom world’s admiration. Unfortunately, Moto Guzzi’s Bellagio did not achieve the same sales success, but like its Italian counterpart, 2023 has proven to be a noteworthy year. And who better to fashion a remarkable Moto Guzzi than Filippo Barbacane, the brilliant builder behind the Officine Rossopuro brand.
Filippo is undeniably the master of custom Moto Guzzis and has long believed the Bellagio 940 to be the most underrated motorcycle ever produced by the company. “In addition to its great versatility, it encapsulates almost all the positive aspects of a Guzzi. With a Tonti-derived frame boasting excellent cycling qualities, modernised by the rear single-arm with a large tire, and a suspension and brakes department already of an excellent standard, I believe the engine is one of the best from Mandello del Lario’s production. It exudes good vibrations, consumes sparingly, and, above all, possesses minimal electronics. In recent times, I’ve seen a great demand for specials based on this model,” he tells us.
The objective for this build was to leverage and enhance the bike’s modern reliability while infusing it with a truly retro look. Inspired by vintage Guzzis, Filippo named her ‘Musa 940,’ and with the right donor rolled into his workshop, the master got to work. The standard Bellagio frame concludes with the two subframe rails finishing in individual flat sections with bolt holes, which are unsightly when not covered. Thus, the rails are trimmed back, and an upswept hoop is added, streamlining the appearance and ensuring a slightly shorter overall length. The renowned frame is then detabbed, smoothed out, and coated with chassis black paint.
After stripping the bike down, Filippo has the perfect canvas to work with, initiating the process of building the bodywork. The first step involves creating templates, and these are never the same from one bike to the next. Officine Rossopuro never produces two custom bikes alike, ensuring each piece of bodywork is a unique creation. Once the desired look is formed in modelling material, the actual pieces are meticulously handcrafted from aluminium, with the tank setting the stage. For this build, Filippo aimed to imbue the bike with a sense of lightness, resulting in a slender fuel tank with a single flowing curve to the top.
This design not only allows the engine to stand out but also visually lightens the bike by eliminating the bulbous factory tank. The front and rear fenders are hammered and rolled to match the chosen tyre size for the build, providing ample protection from road debris. The side covers are another exquisite piece, crafted to complement the tank’s lines, ensuring a cohesive design from front to back.
The aluminium seat base is designed to seamlessly flow into the rear of the tank, creating an incredibly neat junction, an area where many amateur builders fall short. Filippo shapes the foam over the base for a comfortable saddle, covered in black leather and stitched in a classic tuck-and-roll design. The colour scheme, a mix of off-white and anthracite grey with black graphics and detailing, imparts a classic and classy appearance.
To enhance this look further, a vintage taillight and a classic round headlight bucket, upgraded with an LED internal, have been added. This cohesive theme extends to simplifying the electrical system as much as possible, with small bullet indicators from LSL. At the rear, the license plate has been relocated to a swingarm-mounted unit designed to withstand punishment without rubbing on the tyre. A single Acewell gauge takes pride of place at the front, with Filippo crafting stunning round bar mounts. “This also allowed me to insert a fuel level sensor, which the Bellagio did not have but is very useful for practical use.”
To bring the glorious V-Twin engine to life, everything has been treated to a new paint and polish. The airbox has been completely redesigned and built from scratch to enhance performance and provide a cleaner look. While the exhaust is yet another collaboration between Filippo and the skilled people at MASS, resulting in a stunning full stainless system with lines as clean as the bike itself.
To complete the build, the brakes have been upgraded to larger 320mm discs with Brembo calipers, a new rear shock for improved performance, and a set of aluminium rims wrapped in Filippo’s favourite Pirelli tyres. The good folks at Guzzi could never have imagined it, but their parts bin Bellagio has simply never looked so beautiful; maybe they should hire Filippo to improve sales.