Even the facade brings Moto Guzzi friends to revel. Yellow quarry stone, metal-framed windows, old industrial charm – all of this reminds you of the historic company headquarters on Lake Como, the destination of nostalgic tours of the Alps. The spirit of the brand also blows in the cooler Münsterland, through this former weaving mill in Laer, which has long been more than a motorcycle shop.
The doer behind the facade is Reinhard Bäcker. Racing driver, tuner, expert, specialist and twice the world’s best Guzzi dealer. The man lives Moto Guzzi, he breathes Moto Guzzi. Exactly the right thing for a lovingly grounded look at the 100th birthday of the Italians. “Moto Guzzi is doing better than ever,” says Baker, who feels the increasing new sales.
In its early days, Moto Guzzi still built small motorcycles, single cylinders and racing machines. Modern history began with the characteristic V2, whose pots peeked out from under the tank to the left and right.
Guzzi’s trademark: longitudinally installed two-cylinder
Moto Guzzi have always been expensive, now they were also considered capricious. Wrongly, you just have to know how it’s done, says the dealer. Mileages of 100,000 kilometers and more are not uncommon for the first overhaul.
“Yogurt cups”: Le Mans covered with plastic
The competitors, including the Japanese, had caught up and stayed on the gas. Moto Guzzi brought the next Le Mans, this time covered with plastic, which received the maximum verbal punishment from the fan community: “yoghurt cups”, the swear word for fully boarded Japanese. First came the wrong models, then a new company owner who had no sense for his customers. “That was the time when Moto Guzzi lost the sports riders to Ducati.”
The brand recovered only slowly. The new models were great in detail, but sometimes the advertising was missing, sometimes the strategy. The quota came in 1992 as an opponent of the BMW GS – “but Guzzi never used his starts in the Paris-Dakar Rally for advertising purposes,” criticizes Bäcker.
“The Griso was the best two-valve ever. The first Guzzi that can spring.” Would it have become a retro hit like the BMW R Nine-T later? Who knows. “The Griso inspires so much confidence, it makes you a better motorcyclist.”
The halls in Laer are now a small factory museum
Also because his company offers everything from repairs to tuning, which today transforms his halls in Laer into a small factory museum. There are the used ones with patina, such as the Guzzi that Clint Eastwood drove in “Dirty Harry”.
In addition, the prepared classics, in all possible horsepower levels and price ranges. “Guzzi is like a big Lego set where the different parts fit together.” And if something doesn’t fit, the expert builds it on his own lathe or gets it from his worldwide network.
As he got older, he became interested in older Guzzis, from the pre-V2 era. He has just restored a red Lodola from the year he was born in 1958. Next to it, waiting for this rebirth is a Galletto scooter, like the one driven by Mayor Peppone in Don Camillo. Nevertheless, Reinhard Bäcker can never deny his roots: “Whenever I meet the Guzzi bosses, I tell them: The brand needs a sports motorcycle.” There are rumors that connoisseurs would be heard in the anniversary year.