This article was originally printed in the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club monthly newsletter.

Book Review: Moto Guzzi by David G. Styles, by Ian Adkins

Released by Sutton Publishing (UK) Nov 2000, 160 pages, 240 black and white photographs, $20 hardcover, ISBN 0 7509 2041 6

When someone mentions Moto Guzzi, those who are familiar with this brand of motorcycle generally think of the most recent models; i.e., those manufactured using the unique V Twin engine. Having been the main engine design for Moto Guzzi since 1967, and still used to power the current line of models, it is the one most notable within the motorcycling community. Recent books written on Moto Guzzi (like Moto Guzzi Big Twins, by Greg Field, published in 1998 by MBI Publishing) have focused on these "modern" Guzzis. As a result, we have forgotten the early bikes produced from 1920 through 1960. These were horizontal one-cylinder engine motorcycles and although they paled in comparison to the engines of late they were advanced technology in their day.

A newly published book by David G Styles, simply titled Moto Guzzi, breaks from the tradition of late and enters the world of Moto Guzzi from the very beginning, following the history of the brand from its inception back in 1921 to the present. Styles, a professional writer who specializes in industrial and engineering subjects, who has authored books on Alfa Romeo, Riley, Aston Martin & Lagonda, Datsun and Porsche, and who is editor of The Vintage Cycle Club Journal, breaks from writing about the automobile to chronicle Italy's oldest surviving motorcycle company.

The book is described by the publishers as follows:

"The author has brought together a rare collection of photographs to tell the remarkable story of Moto Guzzi from its tentative beginnings at Mandello del Lario on Lake Como just after the First World War. The first machines, which borrowed features from advanced aero-engines, were immediately successful in competition in the 1920's, and quickly established a reputation to match that of the leading manufacturers of the day. But the prestige of a win at the Isle of Man TT eluded the company until the great Stanley Woods made their name by winning the 1935 Senior TT on a Moto Guzzi V twin.

The author goes on to describe in detail the road-going Moto Guzzis derived from these fine racing machines. He recalls the design evolution of the popular models of the 1930's, the military motorcycles produced in the Second World War, and the reemergence of the company as a force in European motorcycling in the late 1940's and 1950's. While continuing success in international competition reinforced Moto Guzzi's prewar reputation, the know how gained from racing led to a new series if outstanding road bikes - the Falcone, in particular, and the V7, which has been the mainstay of the range for the last thirty years."

As you read through this book you will marvel at the great many models Moto Guzzi built. You will also enjoy the wonderful pictures and anecdotes and be brought back in time to another era. The early models may have been different than the modern bikes of today but the philosophy behind motorcycling is the same: to get out and enjoy the freedom of the open road. No doubt the modern motorcycle enthusiast will identify with their cousin's of yesteryear.

Moto Guzzi is a well-documented, thorough, and chronological account of the history of one of the great motorcycling companies. Styles provides excellent illustrations to document the history of this great company and makes this book a wonderful complement to other books on this legendary marque.

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