For your average rider, their dream motorcycle is a factory-built model by their favourite manufacturer. That is at least until said manufacturer releases a better bike for them to lust after. Then there are the riders who dream of an unobtainable motorcycle. A motorcycle that’s never been built or ever likely will be – unless they build it themselves. Only a handful of such motorcycles see the light of day because creating them requires a level of dedication that few people possess.
Osteopath and physiotherapist Massimo lives in the Northern Italian city of Varese. On Instagram, you’ll find him under the pseudonym @dreamermotorcycle which allows him to keep his career and his passion at arm’s length. Massimo is a Guzzista of the highest order, and when he isn’t cracking joints or prescribing an exercise regime, he’s obsessing over his beloved Moto Guzzi cafe racer.
Massimo’s Moto Guzzi is no run-of-the-mill model from Mandello Del Lario. It’s his very own custom-built dream bike. A motorcycle that looks and performs exactly how he imagined, but he’s professional is no master fabricator. He’s a man with a vision who pulled out all the stops to make his dream a reality.
“I always wanted to be a designer but at a crossroad in my life, I became a health professional,” Massimo says, but he clearly never lost the desire to design. This bike, which he has named ‘Moto Guzzi Veloce’, is based on his own designs. Influenced heavily by an interest in the ‘60s and ‘70s automotive scene the motorcycle is his own interpretation of an Italian-bred cafe racer.
“My cafe racer was initially born from the simple desire to own a unique motorcycle, together with the drive to materialise one’s own dream,” he says. “Inspired by other people’s creations I’d seen on the web, I put my creativity into designing something special. I wanted a motorcycle built with close attention to detail and one that retained functionality and reliability.”
Despite his cafe racer theme, Massimo chose a rather unlikely donor for this project.
If I were to build a Guzzi cafe racer, it would be based on a classic like an iconic Le Mans or a naked 850T. If a modern donor was on the cards then it’d be a late model V7 or even a Griso since all these bikes already the right lines for a cafe conversion. Instead, Massimo went for Moto Guzzi’s laid-back cruiser, the Bellagio. To make things even more challenging, he also committed to not modifying the bike’s frame in any way.
With his sketch in hand and a 2011 Bellagio in his garage, Massimo went looking for the best people in business to help him create his dream motorcycle. First he introduced himself to the Guareschi brothers (Gianfranco and Vittoriano). Their business, Guareschi Moto, is a second-generation, family-owned workshop. Thanks to their father’s teachings their knowledge of Moto Guzzi and Aprilia motorcycles is unparalleled. Along with selling and servicing both brands, they have been building and successfully racing motorcycles since their childhood. Massimo approached the brothers seeking of a “sporty but drivable and safe” motorcycle based on the Bellagio platform. After several meetings, the 3 built a rapport and the brothers agreed to be involved in the project.
With the Guareschi brothers all set to perform the engine work Massimo set out to find a fabricator. And once again, he made a beeline for one of the best in the business.
When Miguel Angel Galluzzi was tasked with creating the Ducati Monster, he built the bike in secret with an employee of Cagiva whose job was building the aluminium tanks for their Paris-Dakar race bikes. His name was Fabio Montanari. The pair built a motorcycle that saved Ducati from decline and went on to become the source of two-thirds of the company’s profits. If anyone could build bodywork befitting Massimo’s dream bike, Fabio was the guy. So after tracking the master fabricator down Massimo shared his design with him. Once again turning on his charm, Massimo convinced Fabio to get onboard with the project and his dream team was complete.
Using Massimo’s sketches as a guide Fabio shaped the new bodywork. Doing things the way he knows best, he built the body using 2mm aviation-grade aluminium without the aid of any modern machinery or 3D software. After months of work, he completed a new fuel tank, tail unit, front fender and side panels for the Bellagio. Reminiscent of classic racers the tank features deep knee indents and a ridge down its spine that mimics the look of a trap strap. One of Massimo’s design objectives was to blend classic and modern elements so the tank filler uses an aviation-style cap and the recessed tail light is an LED unit.
The most challenging part of Fabio’s work was getting the bodywork to sit correctly on the unmodified frame. To achieve this he developed a mounting system that affixes to existing mounting points. The result is a tank and tail that sit flat on the chassis to create the quintessential cafe racer bone line.
To complete the bodywork Massimo hired saddlemaker Luca Ronzoni. Working under Massimo’s instruction, Luca built a seat that tied in perfectly with Fabio’s bodywork without sacrificing ergonomics or comfort.
Thanks to the Guareschi brothers Massimo’s Bellagio now performs well beyond its factory specifications. Using their vast knowledge of racing Guzzis they’ve increased this v-twins capacity from 935cc to 1105cc. Inside the engine are GC Corse lightened and balanced pistons and a GC Corse race cam too. The Guareschi’s have also polished the heads, valves, intake and exhaust ports and modified the lubrication system for improved reliability. A Weber Magneti Marelli electronic ignition gets the most out of the Bellagio’s twin spark setup and the cylinders are fed by larger injectors inhaling through K&N filters. At the exhaust end of the cycle, you’ll find a custom-built Zard titanium system in a 2-1-2 configuration. Snaking around either side of the engine the headers meet at a crossover pipe that appears as though it’s spiralling beneath the engine like a strand of DNA.
The result of all that work is a big increase in horsepower from 75 up to 101.2 which is a 35% gain. Torque has also seen a 37% jump taking it up 107Nm. Ensuring that all that power gets delivered to the wheel as efficiently as possible there is a performance clutch with lightened internals, sintered discs and reinforced springs. The bike is also running a completely new wiring hardness based on Guareschi Moto’s own race-proven designs.
Accompanying the big boost in power are suspension, wheel and brakes upgrades. At the pointy end of the bike sits a pair of Ohlins 55mm forks. Between them is an 18-inch Jonich Wheels laced rim wearing Pirelli Angel GT rubber, twin Brembo XA5G6 callipers and GC Corse floating discs. At the rear is a taller Ohlins TTX shock that positions the rear end level with the road. A 17 inch Jonich spoked rim hangs off the driveshaft with matching Brembo brake and Pirelli rubber. To complete the package Massimo has added Brembo clutch and brake master cylinders which are fed by Rizoma fluid reservoirs.
To finish things of this Italian cafe racer has been decked out with an impressive list of premium accessories. In keeping with the cafe theme the cruiser handlebars have been replaced using FG racing clip-ons and the mid controls with GC Corse rear sets. The removable mirrors (not pictured here) are by Rizoma and they sit in specially made supports from FG Racing. Additional lighting comes in the form of a late model Moto Guzzi LED headlight and the turn signals by by Rizoma. Taking pride of place in the cockpit is a race-ready AIM motorsport TFT display. The machined push button switch blocks are race spec too.
Completing this incredible build is a timeless black and gold paint scheme by Remo Lana Varese. FG Racing designed and built the CNC valve and alternator covers and Massimo’s good friend Mino designed and made the CNC-milled brass eagle badges.
It’ll come as no surprise that building a bike such as this takes time. Massimo’s MGV project began in 2017 and was completed, serendipitously, 4 years later on the eve of Moto Guzzi’s centenary celebrations. Seizing the opportunity, Massimo ticked another dream off the list by riding his MGV to the centenary celebrations on the shores of lake Como.
“I called my work ‘a special for life’ because it was part of an important moment in my life.” – Massimo Carracino.