Ristretto by Radical Guzzi
The meaning of ‘café racer’ has evolved over time, and that’s not a bad thing. During the 1960s, it meant absolute performance and nothing more; nowadays, it seems more like a compromise between technical specs and unique styling. No matter what you call a bike, if it’s awesome it will turn heads and get my undivided attention and appreciation.
A modern-day café racer is reminiscent of the original concept of a stripped down, hot rod bike, and the people at Radical Guzzi have found wonderful ways of exemplifying that. Their ‘Ristretto’ project is a highly tweaked and customized Guzzi motorcycle – thanks to German Stefan Bronold of Schwarzenfeld.
With a price-tag of €45,000 ($50,000), this thing might scare off a few people – although three units have already rolled out the garage. Everyone in Europe is well aware of Radical Guzzi’s reputation in Europe, thanks to their incredible level of engineering. The ‘Ristretto’ concept benefits from Sylvain Berneron’s exptertise, the same one running PRAËM, which means it’s a success from the get go. The bike features a slim, classic silhouette, complementing a 4-valve V-twin engine that delivers serious power and thrills.
This is Radical Guzzi’s most extreme bike thus far, which should explain the name Ristretto – the strongest coffee on the Italian menu. The engine was sourced from Moto Guzzi’s 1200 cc Griso, and then tweaked with larger pistons and cylinders from the 1400 California. Customers have complete control of their project, which is why technical specifications will vary.
Regardless, the engine could develop as much as 130 hp and 112 ft.-lb. of torque, with the overall weight of the bike standing at 200 kg (440 pounds) with a full tank. If those numbers just won’t do it for you, Radical Guzzi will bore the engine out from 1380 to 1450 cc.; there’s even a 1700 cc version on the way. I wonder how that engine will sound.
Part of the custom project are also a state-of-the-art and fully adjustable suspension system, working alongside a MV Agusta F4 front end, with 58 mm Marzocchi forks. At the rear, the bike receives Öhlins or Wilbers shocks – your choice, and 18″ wheels wrapped around in Pirelli Night Dragon rubber. Stopping power is provided by the Brembo or Behringer brands.
The bike was constructed around Moto Guzzi’s classic Tonti frame, specifically a strengthened replica to handle the stress and fun days of its rider. A tubular-framed swingarm, with more torsional stiffness than a factory original, was also added. Customers may choose between conventional spoked wheels and solid disc wheels, while the 20-liter tank should provide them with plenty of time to have fun!