Guzzi Builds a Bagger: Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress Debuts at EICMA

Bryan Harley | November 17, 2015

Moto Guzzi hinted it had a bagger in the works at last year’s EICMA show when the Italian marque displayed the MGX-21 concept at its booth last year. Those suspicions were confirmed at EIMCA 2015 with the release of the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress.

The production model stays fairly true to the concept, from the Batmobile-styled front fairing to hard saddlebags integrated into the tail section. One of the defining features of Moto Guzzi’s bagger is the extensive use of carbon fiber, from the saddlebags to the tank panels, front fender, case covers and front wheel covers. The wheel covers are a curious addition, chosen because Guzzi states they “increase stability and ease of handling due to the passage of air from one side of the hub to the other while the bike is in motion.” Until we ride it, we’ll have to take their word for it.

Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress

The Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress is powered by the 90-degree transverse-mounted V-Twin from the California 1400. The 1380cc engine features a big 104mm (4.09 in.) bore good for a claimed 120Nm (88.5 lb-ft) of torque and 96 horsepower with the majority of that power available early in the powerband. Thanks to Moto Guzzi’s “elastokinematic” engine mounting system, the MGX-21 will have the requisite amount of vibrations to appease the cruiser crowd that subsides to tolerable levels when you’re on the throttle. Its blacked-out exhaust are slightly different from the California 1400 and meet stringent EU4 standards.

The assortment of electronic rider aids is one thing that will help the MGX-21 stand out. Like its California 1400 forebear, the MGX-21 comes with three levels of traction control that can be turned off altogether, three riding modes, two-channel ABS, cruise control and a ride-by-wire system as standard equipment. Its lighting system is comprised of LEDs. Though you can’t see inside the front fairing in the pictures Moto Guzzi has released so far, the MGX-21 reportedly has a monochrome dot matrix display and an entertainment system that includes a stereo, intercom system and Bluetooth connectivity.

The Moto Guzzi Flying Fortress bagger will roll on a 21-inch alloy front wheel with dual discs and radial-mounted four-piston Brembo calipers. As reported, ABS is standard.

Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress

The Moto Guzzi MGX-21 will be made in limited production and is set to debut at the 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally from August 8th to the 16th. Moto Guzzi’s bagger was designed with help from Miguel Galluzi, the former Ducati industrial designer best known for the mind behind the Monster. Here’s what Gulluzi, the current head of the Piaggio Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, CA, had to say about the MGX-21.

“How do we imagine crossing an entire continent on a Moto Guzzi? This is the first question we asked ourselves and the immediate response was, on board a California 1400, a classic that has just been renewed. But we wanted to push beyond our thoughts and dreams, to take a leap into the future. We dared imagine a different way of travelling, cooler, as the Americans would say. And we imagined that Moto Guzzi would design and build its own bagger. How could that be? How could a project like this be steeped in Italian design? This is how our thinking and inspiration turned to the masters and masterpieces of Italian design. I mean Bertone and his extraordinary Alfa Romeo BATs of the 1950s, when these crazy Italians interpreted the American taste for extreme shapes such as fins and translated the wildest dreams into precious metal, masterfully combining Italian creativity with American pragmatism. And of course we thought about infinite spaces, with straight roads heading to distant horizons, to speed records snatched on the expanses of salt lakes, to travelling aimlessly and freely. In this way a indistinct image started to take on a definite shape, and thus the MGX-21 Flying Fortress was born.”

Bryan Harley

Cruiser Editor |Articles | 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.