Big Bike Italian Special: Rhapsody In Blue – GANNET Moto Guzzi V9 Racer

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We’ve been longing to feature this Italian bike masterpiece, Moto Guzzi for quite a while. Upon reaching in to my mobile phone, I saw an email notification from Mr. Ulfert Janssen from Switzerland. The email was a one of a kind motorcycle design for a Moto Guzzi V9. I went out of my bed immediately and grabbed my laptop to see this interesting email.

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This V9 Gannet Moto Guzzi is a pure racer with tight stance and proportions. It is a radical transformation from a relaxed cruiser configuration of the Moto Guzzi V9 “Roamer” donor bike, which got designed into a pure racer, reduced to the essentials with some retro elements and spiced up with the finest herbs of racing parts.

The Brains and the Team Behind this Project

The bike is designed and built by Ulfert Janssen – Gannet Design and Stefan Fuhrer – Fuhrer Moto.

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Gannet Design’s partner is Stefan Fuhrer (Fuhrer Moto), former racing mechanic of Dominique Aegerter (now Moto2) and Tom Lüthi (now MotoGP), with the latter he became the world champion in 2005 in 125cc class. Now Stefan is the “brother in crime” for the Gannet Custom Builds. His racing know-how, precise engineering skills and his team of artisans are the perfect partner for the Gannet shenanigans.

Ulfert´s design studio and Stefan´s workshop are just 100m apart, so it is a perfect set up for smooth and quick interaction.

By putting heads together and great teamwork between Ulfert and Stefan made this build a precise translation of the initial design concept.

The Unique Design

The project started with some loose sketches by Ulfert to find the good way for morphing the Roamer proportions into a forward leaning racer look.

Design 1

Ulfert: “First I worked on the stance and changed the frame angle from slanted backward into a forward leaning angle. I cleaned up the architecture and made a major diet of all the unnecessary parts.

Design 2

Ulfert Janssen designed a new strong retro racing tail section and new exhaust system as a signature which sweeps along the bike like a swoosh.

Design 3

Once the overall direction was settled, Janssen made detailed design renderings which they used as the base for the building process.

Design 6

“I first modeled the racer’s new tail section out of hard foam to find the good proportions and it was then used as a template for the metal work.”

Building Process and Parts

The entire tail section is out of aluminum and it is shaped and hammered purely by hand very precisely by artisan Bruno Bertschy.

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A new rear sub-frame supports the seat and cowl in the elevated position for a more racing height seat configuration and fitted with a thin brown kilted seat which matches the Biltwell grips on the handle bar.

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Stefan: “Our goal was to integrate the technical requirements and engineering goals without affecting the design concept.

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The fabrications of all hardware parts are sometimes complex, but always tangible, such as the frame construction, adjustment of the footrest system and preparation of various special parts.

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The conversion of fuel injection back to the carburetor was a challenge for the team, where in addition to the adjustment of the transmitter wheel, also the electronics, ignition and especially the sensor had to be worked on and fitted.

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The fine paint work, by Walter Oberli, is a rare mixture of “scrubbed” and high gloss shine with a thick layer of clear coat, which blurs the perception and gives the rugged and scruffy design a very smooth appearance.

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The tail section and details are painted in a soft gradation of blue and the cylinder heads were also given the same touch of blue in combination with an aluminum protection bracket – Rhapsody in Blue.

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The lower part of the main frame was newly made, cleaned up and adapted with the new racer ergonomics position of the footrest by CNC Racing (Pramac MotoGP racing supplier). The gear shifter got modified and adapted to fit the Moto Guzzi gearing setup. The front fender got shortened and equipped with a new anchoring to fit the Öhlins forks and a new racing triple clamp by IMA with a custom made steering stem to fit the V9.

For the clip-on’s we got sponsored by ABM Fahrzeugtechnik who equipped us with their multi clip and some fine Synto Evo brake/clutch levers in silver/blue/black to fit the color scheme of the bike.

V9 003B

The all black racing control buttons from Jetprime give a menacing detail and a reference to the fast forward theme.

For the lighting system we got sponsored by Highsider and the speed gauges are by Daytona (Paaschburg&Wunderlich) which were fitted into a custom made bracket.

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Electrical components are by motogadget, such as m-lock for keyless starting, bar end blinkers, m-blaze and m-unit for the control box.

The 18″ front spoke wheel is specially made by Kineo to fit the new fork distance of 210mm. The rear is also a 18″ Kineo spoke wheel which got special aluminum cover plates.

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The wheel is supported by two Öhlins Blackline rear shocks.

Although the bike is from 2016, we went “back to the roots” and provided it with artificial respiration help by two Keihin carburetors. These will give the bike the necessary boost for the sprint races and give the conversion a flair of nostalgia.

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The transmitter wheel was adapted with the according different gearing. The flanges were specially made as well as the racing inspired air intake tubes.

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The pronounced round sweep of the exhaust pipe design gives a strong visual impact and enhances the fast forward dynamic of the bike even at a stand still. The twin pipes were bent and welded and smoothly blend into two Leo Vince GP Pro trumpets, which make already clear from a distance that there is a two cylinder approaching.

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Stefan: “What I like best about this custom build is the coherence of the whole bike, where from the front wheel to the rear wheel the smooth transition from one component to the next passes through. It was important for me and Ulfert that we solve and adapt the individual components in such a way that they give a coherent overall picture.”

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Ulfert: “What’s special about this conversion is that it’s a reduced and minimalist design at first glance, but at a second glance you can see many custom parts and special details. These remain discreetly in the background to give a pure and strong first impression. However, if you dive into the bike, you can discover the sophistication in detail. Special thanks as well to Bruno Bertschy (metal work) and Walter Oberli (paint) for their contribution and fine work.”

This bike will be at The Reunion in Monza, Wheels&Waves and Glemseck 101 among others.

Moto Guzzi is officially distributed in the Philippines by Bikerbox Inc..

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Photo credit: Arnaud Mouriamé and Gannet/Fuhrer