Rear hub gaskets & Moto Guzzi’s MGX21 Flying Fortress

I was at Two Wheel Motorsport yesterday dropping off the Concours’ rear hub to get the inner gasket re-done.  The rear hub comes off easily enough, but the Clymer’s manual said that with the special tools required as well as how much a pain in the ass it is to evenly heat up the hub housing to remove the inner plate (you can’t use a torch, it’ll warp it), this might be one of those times when DIY is more trouble than it’s worth.


Looking at the cost I was in for nearly $200 for two tools I’d probably only ever use once, and they’re rare enough that you can’t rent them.  Between that, the heating bit (they suggest maybe using a hot plate), and the fiddly nature of the internal components which have to be shimmed just right or you end up with a very clunky drivetrain, this seemed like a good time to make use of a professional.  Two Wheel said they could do the job for about $250 taxes in.

The dangerous part about visiting your local dealer is walking through the rows of new machinery.  On my way out they had a flock of Moto Guzzis, which I have to admit I have a soft spot for after reading Melissa Hobrook Pierson‘s The Perfect Vehicle.


As I wandered down the aisle, looking at everything from modern adventure tourers to stripped down cafe styled Guzzis, a young salesman appeared.  I’d been reading about the not at all shy and retiring Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress in Motorcycle Mojo and wondered if they had one.  It just happened that they did, down the end of the row.  He pulled it out for us to have a look at…

If you’ve read anything about my time with motorbikes you’ll know that cruisers and their bagger derivatives are about as interesting to me as a plate of spam, but these recent European designed bikes, while heavy, can still actually lean into corners and are surprisingly usable.

There is nothing about the MGX-21 Flying Fortress, so named because it was inspired by the American World War II bomber (an odd choice considering said bombers probably dropped ordinance on and around the Moto Guzzi factory), that is subtle.  The enormous bat-wing fairing, acres of carbon fibre and those big opposing air cooled cylinder heads poking out of it all just in front of your knees make for an over the top look at me statement; this is a machine for extroverts.



As a big guy I find that most machines are tight in the knees and generally look too small for me.  I even look like I fill up the tall Tiger, but Guzzi’s Fortress looked and felt like it fit.  The salesman said that like so many heavy but well balanced machines, the moment you start moving the weight seems to disappear.


This big, black Guzzi makes a unique statement.  You can find similarly styled American bikes, but they don’t have this red-headed Italian’s European flair.  At nearly twenty-four grand you’re going to have to be well off or really wanting to make that statement in order to get onto one.  


No one does fashion and beauty like the Italians, and this new Guzzi, while seemingly an odd choice for the venerable Italian builder, exudes charisma and charm.  If I had my own version of Jay Leno’s garage this Lombardy beauty would be in there for those rare days when I want to put myself on a pedestal.

It certainly is.
Even if it’s not your thing, have a look.  Like an Italian Comtessa, she might be out of your league but a joy to behold.


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