Monday, August 06, 2012

Millepercento Alba: The Moto Guzzi Griso 8V’s hotter cousin steps out

Millepercento Alba
Millepercento Alba Millepercento Alba Millepercento Alba
The Millepercento Alba certainly seems to be better in every which way than the Moto Guzzi Griso 8V that it's based on. Yes, we like this bike very much!

Until recently, Jessica was just about the only hot Alba we knew of, but the September issue of Motorcycle Sport & Leisure features an Italian twin that puts the Fantastic Four actress in the shadows. Alan Cathcart rides the Millepercento Alba for MS&L and says the bike is fast and pleasurable to ride hard, with crisp and linear pickup in revs from 4,000rpm upwards. ‘It’s noticeably quicker than any stock Moto Guzzi,’ he adds.

Powered by the SOHC twin-cylinder 1151cc engine from the Moto Guzzi Griso 8V, the Alba is produced by Millepercento, one of the biggest dealers of Moto Guzzi in Italy. The bike has been engineered by Guiseppe Ghezzi, the man responsible for the Guzzi MGS-01 racebike, and as an option, the Alba is also available with the 1420cc pushrod engine from the Guzzi-Millepercento BB1.

‘When I joined Millepercento to create the Alba, my first objective was to do what I’d been denied at Moto Guzzi, which was to create a streetlegal Guzzi sportbike, meeting all required noise and emissions norms,’ says Ghezzi. Well, with 108bhp and 121Nm of torque, and a dry weight of 206 kilos, the Alba isn’t exactly a threat to the Panigales, S1000RRs and RSV4s of this world, but as Cathcart found out, it’s still a pretty capable machine in its own right.

‘The Alba’s carefully triangulated Ghezzi-designed tubular steel spaceframe chassis uses the V-twin as a semi-stressed member. It’s noticeably narrower between the rider’s knees than a stock Guzzi frame and this adds to the sense of agility the chassis delivers. You sit within the Alba rather than on it, as on a stock Guzzi,’ says Cathcart. ‘The Alba’s steering is quicker and more precise [compared to the stock Guzzi Griso] and you immediately notice the greater responsiveness of its shorter wheelbase and more radical steering geometry,’ he adds.

‘Ghezzi’s integration of the Griso’s cast aluminium shaft final drive housing and parallelogram rear linkage into the Alba’s chassis also works well. This would probably be the best handling Moto Guzzi sportbike I’ve yet ridden, even better than the previous paragon, the MGS-01,’ says Cathcart.

So what’s next, for the Millepercento Alba? ‘We must go racing with it, to publicise the marque as well as to learn how to improve the design. We hope to do that this year,’ says Ghezzi. Well, we certainly like the Alba – Millepercento have done some admirable work here in producing a Moto Guzzi-based sportbike that Guzzi themselves should produce, but for some strange reason, shy away from doing so.

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Story: Motorcycle Sport & Leisure

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