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My "GUZZI" story

It started in the winter of 1999-2000 with a "yellow 1100i sport" which had been collecting dust in a shop-window for three years. Perhaps a crazy decision after a history of Ducati 900ss — 888 — 916 [sorry guy’s]. I suppose the 916 got too smooth and perfect for me. I liked the roughness of the 900 and the 888, anyway the 916 was much better than my personal riding skills. I also wanted something different , these days you can see ten Ducati’s in front of every pub here in Belgium.

The first few thousand Km [miles] I was reasonably happy and encountered no technical problems whatsoever. Even better I got the character back that I missed in the 916 . There was only one thing , the color "yellow". As it was the last 1100i sport on the Belgian market I had no choice. During the summer of 2000 I decided to change the color to Italian two cylinder red.

I suppose this was the moment where I got infected with the modification virus! To go along with the color change, I installed a new seat which I purchased in Germany at Daes Mototec . This contained a complete unit with seat, sub frame, all the electrical components, and the exhaust collector. With these changes the bike was now 9cm [3-1/2 inch] shorter overall, and 9cm [3-1/2 inch] narrower "between exhaust". Everything fit perfectly! The last money I could afford was spent on a "Daes" carbon cockpit with oil temperature meter and an open Boss exhaust, together with a new chip. If I would have spent more money on my bike during that first year my wife would have killed me. The rationale that spending my evenings with my beer drinking friends would be more expensive than spending time with the bike in the garage had grown old and did not work anymore. My remark that I also would be safer from the temptations of the other sex only made it worse !

During the winter 2000-2001 the modification virus detected some weaknesses in the defenses of my wife, and "the virus" convinced me that I should have a four valve Daytona RS. Visiting the WebPages of Dynotec, Raceco, and others only confirmed the need. So after making some promises to my partner, (don’t ask for the details), I was out looking for a Daytona.

I realized very quickly that a new Daytona RS was not available anymore. I was lucky to find a great partner in MGB MOTO, a Guzzi dealer in Flanders Belgium, who made me the great offer to exchange all the body parts of a new 97 Centauro with my 1100i sport. It turned out that everything fit perfectly, with some little extra work of course. The refitted Centauro was also sold very quickly, it must be the only Centauro in the world with a 2 valve engine. Strangely, it seems that there are even today new Centauros unsold in the showrooms.

All this left me with a Daytona RS except for the camshaft, which is one of the old Daytona’s with less peak power but more midrange, and the gearbox which has shorter ratios. I also got rid of the ugly oil cooler, and instead I mounted a deep V-oil pump with external oil filter.

But the virus wasn’t sleeping, and apparently there is no treatment. A standard Guzzi is more focused on stability, so during the winter of 2001-2002 I started, (after more promises to my wife), trying to improve the handling of the bike. I started with mounting an Ölins rear shock which is 28 mm [1 inch] longer than stock and dropping the yokes 10mm [0.4inch]. It was a great improvement , it felt like a different bike.

I also mounted magnesium wheels (PVM rear 5.5" x 17 front 3.5" x 17) that provide a total of 6.2 kg [13.5 pounds] of un-sprung weight, actually they feel like 30 kg [65pounds]. Together with this came a new smaller rear brake, in this case only optical as I never use it, and a new support for the parallelogram mounted 1.5cm [_ inch] lower in front to have more traction.

There was only one problem, I lost all the stability! The bike felt too unstable, I couldn’t ride the bike without closing the steering damper completely, and even then !!! So I lost all my advantages. Jens from Dynotec came up with the theory that the old heavy wheels also provide some stability due to the gyroscopic effect, and suggested to raise the trail, which had been reduced by raising the back and dropping the front. So I mounted new fork plates with a reduced offset, from 45 mm to 30mm [ 1.8 inch to 1.2 inch]. At the same time I changed the head angle from 26 to 25 degrees with asymmetric bearing houses mounted in the frame with new smaller bearings to fit in the frame.

It turned out to be a great advice, it sorted out everything. Handling is now perfect for me and I don’t even need the steering damper anymore, I will only leave it there for the rare track days.

Trail is now 102 mm [4inch], a little too much. Wheelbase is reduced by 25mm [1inch]. The yokes are dropped 20mm [0.8 inch], this is 10mm [0.4 inch] extra to compensate for the steeper fork which mounts "higher". Head angle is now 24.5 degrees, this is a combination of 28mm [1inch] more height in the back, 1 degree frame change and 20 mm[ 0.8 inch] lower yokes in front compared to standard.

All this is a theoretical calculation done by myself and open for correction, I’m only an amateur infected with the modification virus which should be in it’s terminal phase, I hope.

Weight distribution is now: 115kg in front and 115kg in the back, with a full tank. [253 pound front and back]

 During the winter of 2002-2003 I removed the fairing [I like the fly’s on my teeth] and gave my engine to Ronald from Daes Mototec to mount a Big bore [1225cc]. He also installed bigger valves, inlet and exhaust from 33.5/29.5 to 35/31. He left the Centauro cams for more torque, they were only hardened to obtain more wear resistance.

The engine was completely dismantled and all the parts checked for wear and perfect Tolerances, and if necessary replaced [blueprinted], the crank and flywheel balanced, and new longer Carrillo rods mounted to adjust for the shorter new cosworth piston’s , 100mm bore. The heads received new seats for the bigger valves and where ported. Most of the bolts and all the seals were replaced. In addition a new reinforced clutch was installed. The gearbox, also standard Centauro , was re-shimmed.

In this form we got 110hp on the wheel, and she runs absolutely vibration free. With the C kit [or Daytona RS] cams and a big bore exhaust this could move up to 120hp on the wheel. This would of course sacrifice the midrange torque and perhaps some reliability .

In fact, in this form the engine [except for the cams and gearbox] is exactly the same as the engine in the new Guzzi model, the MGS-01 CORSA.

For the moment I have run 4000 km [2500 miles] with absolutely no problems with the Short ratios of the standard centauro gearbox.



In this form the bike is almost perfect for me, at least for my style of riding and personal riding skills. Next winter I hope to do some optical work, and of course I can day dream about mounting this engine in a Ghezzi racing frame and build the most incredible café racer.

I already know the name MGS-V12-CAFÉ

Marc Detournay

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