Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro 

by Troy Johnsoncentauro_a

Was it just five years ago that we were hearing the common motorcycling mantra, “I would be first in line, if someone started selling a big-bore standard style motorcycle.” That sad excuse for hanging on to an old CB750 (or Seca Turbo) has given way to a new excuse for not purchasing a shiny new machine. “I don’t know what to get. There are too many choices.”

The current kettle of motorcycling gumbo is the spiciest in memory. Not only are big standards back, but so are little standards and cross-over types like the hooligan bikes and sport-tourers. Triple cylinder motorcycles are back from a long hiatus, and (praise the Gods) single-cylinder sport bikes and super motards are finding their way to the good old US of A. These are wonderful times for a motorcyclist.

This month M.M.M. sampled the Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro courtesy of Trackstar Motorsports. The Centauro is a 992cc transverse V-twin standard with a wicked hooligan streak.

The lines of the bike are reminiscent of the great Guzzis of the early 80s, the V1000 and the LeMans. The tank slopes gently from the bars to the seat, which is wide and relatively flat. Like its older cousins, this Guzzi sets you on the bike, not in it.

centauro_bThe Centauro is far from being a retro bike, however. This bike’s attention is firmly focused on the 21st century. The two-tone bodywork falls beautifully from steering head to license plate bracket. Moto Guzzi pays considerable attention to details like mirrors in the same contours as the bodywork. WP upside-down forks and four-piston brembo brakes anchor the front end while the back end features an upswept stainless steel exhaust system. The engine is used as a stressed member of the frame. Good-bye double cradle and good riddance.

The big V-twin looks alarmingly similar to the engine in those old V1000s and LeMans. Looks are where the similarities end. The new four-valve, fuel injected Guzzi takes you places that will surprise and shock you — like well into triple digit speeds. The Centauro has plenty of guts down low in the rev band (just like you’d expect), but it really wakes up when the needle hits 5,000 rpm. The ferocious burst of horsepower here calls your undivided attention to the road ahead and, once things are back under control, causes you to wonder if a windshield is available for this machine. Unfortunately, there isn’t one, but a Monster windshield bolts right on.

Outside high-speed wind conditions, this is an extremely comfortable motorcycle. It’s wide bars and big comfy seat never leave you aching to get to the next rest stop. In addition, you can pop off the rear cowl and offer your significant other a comfy perch big enough to cradle an adult tush. Monster and Lightning owners lose numerous dates due to lack of habitat.

This classic Guzzi road bike is long and stable, but it does carry 30 plus pounds more than your average full-on hooligan bike. You may find it a bit ponderous in the corners. I wouldn’t exactly call it flickable, but any ground you lose to your friends in the twisties can be recovered quickly when the road straightens. It has about 20 more horsepower than the hooligans.

The Centauro’s road manners are impeccable. The suspension and brakes are top shelf components. The rear brake is particularly impressive. It is the best I have encountered on a stock bike.centauro_c

Let’s move from best to worse. The Centauro has the worst kickstand ever, hands down, no contest. You must get off the bike to put the kickstand down. All you competing sidestand engineers can pack it in. It can’t get any worse, can it?

The Centauro truly impressed me…once I worked through my sidestand issues. Combining this level of performance with all-day comfort is no small feat.


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