Magni R3 Makes World Debut at Quail Gathering

May 9, 2012
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

The Magni R3 made its world debut at the 2012 Quail Motorcycle Gathering.
The Magni R3 made its world debut at the 2012 Quail Motorcycle Gathering. Giovanni Magni made his first trip to America for the motorcycle’s unveiling at the Quail Gathering and tries it on for size below.
Giovanni tries the Magni R3 on for size.

Italian boutique manufacturer Magni Motorcycles chose this year’s Quail Motorcycle Gathering for the world debut of the Magni R3, a stunning little red racer with a stroked 930cc BSA Rocket 3 engine and an ultra-light Magni replica MV race frame. The project is a collaboration between American company Triple Tecs, a shop who has made a name in their own right as Triumph and BSA triple specialists, and Magni. Triple Tecs had a customer who commissioned the build with the BSA Rocket 3 as a motivating factor behind the project and when Triple Tecs co-owner Jerry Liggett stated he had always dreamt of combining “the best of Italian design with the Rocket 3 engine,” the Magni R3 was born.
Triple Tecs did their part by beefing up the BSA Rocket 3, forging a custom cast cylinder block. A gas flowed head, Tri Spark ignition and Carillo rods followed, with Mikuni 32mm carburetors completing the high-performance conversions. The souped-up BSA Rocket 3 puts out a claimed 96 hp at 8500 rpm. With the engine complete, it was shipped to Italy for the next phase of the project.

Arriving at Magni HQ, the Italian team went to work constructing one of its signature MV 500 chrome-moly race frames to house the potent powerplant. The frame is claimed to weigh only 24 pounds, and the motorcycle itself tips the scales at a claimed dry weight of 340, which means the stroked 930cc mill should light really light things up on the Magni R3. A five-speed BSA transmission delivers the power to the lightweight EPM six-spoke magnesium wheels, while Magni’s vaunted swingarm will insure that all that power is usable. The rear suspension features Gazi sport shocks while a 38mm Ceriani fork smoothes out the ride on the front end. The Brembo brakes front and back are period-correct, adding to both the bike’s performance and aesthetics. The sleek front quarter fairing and hand-hammered aluminum tank were done in-house by Magni while their distinct “swan neck” triple megaphone exhaust completes the build.

Giovanni Magni himself, the son of company founder Arturo Magni, made the trip over from Italy to debut the Magni R3 along with their American partners in the project, Triple Tecs. The paternal leader of the Magnis, Arturo, founded the company after working as the crew chief and technical design director for MV Agusta for almost 20 years before striking out to start his own company.

The Magni R3 represents the first time the signature Italian Magni double cradle chrome-moly frame has been paired with a British powerplant  in this case a 930cc BSA Rocket 3.
The Magni R3 represents the first time the signature Italian Magni double cradle chrome-moly frame has been paired with a British powerplant, in this case a 930cc BSA Rocket 3.

Arturo honed his craft working at MV Agusta during the Grand Prix motorcycle racing glory years. This was the period when the Italian marque was ruled by tempestuous Count Domenico Agusta and his brother Vincenzo. Arturo had the pleasure of working with World Champions like John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Phil Read, and the incomparable Giacomo Agostini. When MV began to fade after the Count died, Arturo took some of the best inherent traits of the MV, a powerful engine and sharp handling in a motorcycle with sleek lines and throaty megaphone exhausts, and applied them to his new endeavor, Elaborazioni Progettazoni Motociclistiche (E.P.M.) Originally E.P.M. built aluminum and magnesium wheels, but eventually changed their name to Magni when they began producing special parts for four-cylinder MVs.

Over the course of years, Magni gained reputation for its race replica double cradle chrome-moly frames. Within the rails of these frames, Magni sourced a variety of engines, starting with MV’s until that fountain ran dry when the company closed. From there they experimented with a bit of everything, from a Honda CB900 Bol d’Or powerplant to a BMW mill to eventually Moto Guzzi. For the new Magni R3, a heavily modified 930cc BSA Rocket 3 engine was used, the first time a Magni frame has been mated to a British engine, making the Magni R3 an instant, one-of-a-kind collectible.

* Sources: The Quail Motorcycle Gathering Program – Magni  A Magnificent History