Flicking through motorcycle internet forums of late I’ve noticed two things riders are saying about modern bikes, they love them, and yet they want to be able to turn off those damn annoying electronic interventions. ABS, traction control, and other rider aids have made motorcycles far safer and even faster, but sometimes they just get in the way of that raw connection between man and machine. This is a feature that for decades the motorcycles of Moto Guzzi had in spades, just twist the throttle, and the whole bike twitches beneath you, as you twitch with the excitement that it induces. It’s a joy that Italy’s Officine Rossopuro infuse into their every build, and this Moto Guzzi SP1000 known as Fortuna, delivers unadulterated motorcycle magnificence in spades.
The man behind the brand simply needs no introduction, Filippo Barbacane has been building mind-blowing beauties for decades now and he’s made it his life mission to create the best Moto Guzzi’s in the world. Based on an SP1000, the touring bike with a unique Italian charm, Filippo knew his design philosophy for this build, “it’s to give moments of happiness and fun to those who drive it. The idea is always to build a special that is unique and made to measure in a single piece but which at the same time is a bike that can be used and ridden every day.” There are no rider aids, no fancy electronics, just a bike that exudes beauty in form and function.
“The suspension also follows the same principle, beautiful but functional,” Filippo smiles. And making those seemingly stock looking front forks work so well is a full cartridge kit from Bitubo. Filippo has worked with the company for years to create the perfect solution for each Guzzi model, and a set of their rear shocks are also of his specification. Being Italian there really is only one brand for the brakes, and the factory Brembo units have been completely rebuilt and improved with braided lines and modern masters. The rolling chassis is finished out with Borrani rims and stainless spokes, and some quality Metzeler rubber.
“Fenders, side panels, and above all the tank, I always consider the heart of the bike.” But Filippo never makes two the same, each custom must have its own unique character. He starts with the template in wood, poly, or metal bar, and then each tank is hand beaten and rolled from aluminium. The exaggerated knee dents on this example give it a hell of a lot of character and then the fenders and side panels are shaped in the same way. The twin colour paint job is simple and classy, no flashy graphics are required when the foundation is flawless, and the generously padded seat is given a hint of red to tie things all together.
More than on almost any other motorcycle, the Moto Guzzi drive train design ensures that the engine and gearbox become a major visual component of the entire machine. As such, getting its look right is as important as any other aesthetic modification and simply spraying it all black would be the lazy way out. There is a lot of beautiful engineering and character to show off and to do this in the best possible way, Filippo stripped the whole lot down and gave the external surfaces a thorough clean with a lengthy period of glass bead blasting. New bolts are used to reassemble the entire driveline, the final drive is rebuilt and only the shaft housing is painted black for contrast.
Inside those two hulking barrels, the bottom end of the engine is entirely rebuilt to factory specification to ensure decades of trouble-free motoring, it’s one of the things that keep Filippo’s customers so happy. He also applies all of the tricks he’s learned over the years, and you can see some of them on the exterior of the engine with the improved braided stainless oil cooling lines. Those distinctive carbs have been refurbished, refinished, and retuned, and then with the use of a set of custom CNC alloy covers, a single K&N air filter provides plenty of flow. Finishing out the tasty mechanical package is a full MASS exhaust system built to Filippo’s exacting specifications.
One of the things that make his bikes so clean is the effort that goes into creating an entire new wiring loom and given the reputation of Italian electrics from the period, that’s a very good thing. The engine itself benefits from an Elektronik Sachse electronic ignition system, to provide precise and reliable firing of the spark. While the rest of the wiring loom is neatly hidden under the seat and tank and utilises modern switch blocks, a lightweight battery, and a properly spec’d regulator rectifier so you don’t find yourself stranded at the local cafe with a bike that won’t start.
But it’s not just clients who seek a full custom creation that Filippo takes care of, any Guzzi fan can hit his store to purchase many of the cool accessories that are dotted across this build. Most of these components are CNC machined items, like the ignition switch relocation bracket that cleans up the front end. Or the super trick set of foot pegs that combine all the benefits of custom rearsets, with the added ability to bolt on rear passenger pegs all to the one location.
Then there are the items that any Guzzi owner might desire, from the instrument bracket to the rear caliper support and those ever popular cylinder head guards. Officine Rosopuro has always been dedicated to the very best of this one brand, and ‘Fortuna’ rides and rolls resplendent as a living example of that excellence.