For the second year in a row, Moto Guzzi Italia are hosting their 'Lord of the Bikes' series. The series sees a handful of Italy's top custom motorcycle builders to go head to head in an elimination-style build off using motorcycles from the Moto Guzzi range. It's a competition that welcomes imaginative thinking and outlandish creativity and this year they seem to be taking things to the extreme. As the 2017 series moves into its 5th round of eliminations we thought we'd take a quick look at the round 4 winner. This is the Vibrazioni Art-Design 'Vertigo' and it's about as outlandish as they come.
Vibrazioni Art-Design or VAD for short is the brainchild of two rather unusual characters. Along with building custom motorcycles, the duo make a living creating furniture from recycled steel often featuring worn automotive related branding, but that isn't the weird bit. The pair are also never seen without their welding masks (or motorcycle helmets) on, keeping their identities unknown. Even during the filming of the Lord of the Bikes series the two are never seen without some form of head gear on while they work. Why they do this exactly is unclear, but it certainly adds to the spectacle.
Back in 2016 Moto Guzzi invited the builders to modify their latest V9, but for 2017 they have opted for their naked performance cruiser, the 'Audace'. These huge cruisers tip the scales at around 315kg and are powered by the same, powerful 1400cc V-twin found in their California 1400. Having complete faith in the builders they left them with the bikes and a modest budget, what VAD came back with was sure to have left them speechless.
When it came to customising their Moto Guzzi Audace VAD found inspiration in Japanese culture and the worlds portrayed in Manga films like 'Akira' and 'Fist of the North Star'. Named 'Vertigo' the finished bike is almost unrecognisable as an Audace let alone a Moto Guzzi, with the only hint at what lies beneath its wild exterior being the cylinder heads protruding from the bizarre bodywork.
During the extensive build, VAD utilised carbon fibre and kevlar composites to create the lower half of the bike's bodywork while the upper half was made using their usual hammered and welded recycled steel approach. The upper section sees the cruiser taking on a sportier, more streamlined appearance, as for the bottom half... I'm not really sure where to begin.
At the front of the bike sits a pair of rather unusual "aerodynamic wings" that hang parallel to the clip on handlebars. Both the front and rear wheels are enclosed in carbon spheres that have the bike's headlights and taillights integrated into them and kevlar vents on the body direct air over the engine for cooling. The factory dials have been replaced by a large digital GPS speedo and the seat is a neoprene block with ideograms embossed into it.
All up the build took the pair roughly 180 hours to complete using mostly reclaimed materials and it tips the scales at almost 15kg less than the stock Guzzi. As I said it's an outlandish approach that I'm sure will stir up some polarising opinions, but perhaps it will inspire others to give their own crazy ideas a go. What's the worst that could happen?
"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."
The Lord of the Bikes series is airing on Sky One HD in Italy or you can watch highlight videos on the Moto Guzzi official Youtube page.
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