Those who’ve followed Bike Shed from the early days will be aware of our penchant for Moto Guzzis and in particular those built by Bruce McQuiston of Moto-Studio. Choosing to shy away from the perhaps simpler task of customising round barrel 850 and 1000s Moto-Studio builds, those that aren’t Ducatis, tend to be based on the later and more powerful 1100 Sport.This latest build began life as a carburettor 1100 Sport from the mid-nineties. I’m sure even loyal owners of won’t deny that the stock bike looks ungainly, I haven’t ridden one but from what I hear it’s a bike that can hustle, beneath a pilot sporting adequately sized cojones. These aren’t flickable, nimble machines. The owner of this particular example is a graphic designer with clients such as Nike, HBO, Redbull, Fiat, Dodge and Chrysler in their portfolio. Someone who appreciates subtle and considered design then. Which is handy as buying a Moto-Studio bike is a bit like a Phillippe Stark kettle, it boils water just like a pan does, but if you’re an appreciator of good design it’ll make you feel all warm inside at the same time.
This 1100 was immediately put on a diet, shedding over 40 kgs bringing the dry weight down to around 190kgs. No mean feat considering the power plant and transmission is a particularly burly one. Moto-Studio’s tried and tested carbon seat unit goes a long way not only reducing the headline figure but also keeping what girth remains nice and low down. A few builds ago the guys stripped the stock loom out of one of these things and it tipped the scales at over 6kgs! A Motogadget M-unit system and completely new harness put together in-house by Max replaces only a fraction of this weight whilst adding up-to-date reliability and efficiency.
The machined aluminum subframe struts are also Moto-Studio’s design and are again lighter whilst looking sleeker and more refined than the tubular frame and cast bracket setup on the stock bike. To make the most of this new found sprightliness a couple of ponies have been released by way of re-jetted carbs on velocity stacks and free-flowing exhausts by Cone Engineering. Even if you do go crazy on these motors in the hunt for power the gearing will always be tall, especially for hammering around the city, exactly where the owner intended to ride. Zydeco Racing were called in to supply a shorter ratio shaft drive ring gear and pinion which dramatically increases acceleration and the notion of speed, without troubling the law. Too much anyway.
The Stormo monicker references Italian Air Force squadrons flying during the Cold War. This bike, Stormo 219, features surface treatments and a colour palette that hark back to that era, and conform to the rest of the Moto-Studio’s sophisticated portfolio.