MOTO GUZZI BELLAGIO 12 – cruiser with street manners

Bellagio – what can you associate with this soft-sounding word? Well, for example, a pretentious hotel-casino in Las Vegas, decorated with the famous musical fountain, or a wonderful resort in northern Italy, near Milan and Monza, among the mountains where the beautiful Lake Como is located. del Lario. A wonderful place, quiet and peaceful, even though a motorcycle factory has been operating on Via Villagio Guzzi since 1921.
To get to local hotels and bars, tourists need to drive through a winding and narrow mountain road. For some, these are just beautiful views, for others – wonderful conditions for running in and testing the suspension, engine and brakes of Moto Guzzi motorcycles.
But, there is one more association to this word – an elegant cruiser of the Moto Guzzi company – MOTO GUZZI BELLAGIO 12. Let’s try to figure out the ratio in which it combines the family traits of the Italian classics and the flashy catchiness inherent in America. After all, it is there, overseas, that the main buyer of this motorcycle is located.

2009 Moto Guzzi Bellagio

Engine: ………… .935 cm3, 90 ° V2, 4v, OHC, V
Power: ………… .74 hp at 7200 rpm
Torque: …………. 78 Nm @ 6000 rpm
Base: ………………… .1570 mm
Weight: …………………… .224 kg
Price: …………………. 12500 EUR

A distinctive feature of almost all Moto Guzzi bikes is a transversely mounted pole with a cylinder camber angle of 90 ° and therefore they cannot be confused with any others. Likewise with this cruiser, nothing has changed regarding the engine. The cylinder heads rise on the sides, almost covering the gas tank. The engine looks really chic, protruding “pots” with massive cooling fins and uncovered knees of the exhaust system confidently set a retro mood. This is somehow unusual and gives a special spirit to the mood.

The engine cover bears the classic Moto Guzzi emblem – the soaring eagle. Apparently, the manufacturer wants to say that it is here, in this bike, that the dream of any motorcyclist is embodied – complete freedom.

Bellagio web
The massiveness of the cylinders hints at the considerable volume of the engine and promises an exciting pastime. The same idea is continued by the brakes that are too powerful for a cruiser: a pair of 320mm discs up front with 2-piston Brembo calipers.
The black cantilever swingarm with integrated cardan transmission looks nice and expensive. On the opposite side, massive twin mufflers cover the wheel so that the cantilever design is completely invisible. And only after looking more closely, you realize that this is an Italian, so you shouldn’t expect simple technical solutions from him.

You can find this model in the Moto Guzzi family of mid-size cruisers, which also includes Nevada and California models, by the drag bar. It makes the motorcycle visually more aggressive, in addition, it significantly changes the fit and the subjective perception of the bike. And, of course, the monoshock rear suspension design looks a lot more modern than a pair of shock absorbers.
On the other hand, Bellagio’s profile is rather archaic. A teardrop-shaped tank, a relaxed seat, deep fenders – everything breathes with the spirit of the 80s. Chrome-plated cigar-shaped mufflers and spoked wheels fit perfectly into the concept of the motorcycle. The large white Moto Guzzi embroidery on the back of the seat and an oval brake light round off the look. And, of course, a special two-tone paint job.

In the saddle of the Bellagio, the impression changes. Straight? It seems to be not. Cruiser? Moreover, it doesn’t look like it Classic – yes! The ergonomics of this bike are unusual for those who are accustomed to riding on cruisers, as well as for riders who change to Bellagio from the modern street.
The drag bar is placed close enough to the rider, the footpegs are not very high and slightly shifted forward. On the one hand, it allows you to stand up in the saddle without undue stress, on the other hand, it allows you to feel relaxed on long journeys. The pilot’s position is balanced and comfortable.
The compact tidy on the steering wheel deserves special attention. The LCD screen and the sleek, retro-styled speedometer, marked in miles and kilometers, are framed in chrome. The electronic part of the panel is too big for a classic bike, but this is not the main problem: it is almost impossible to read the antiquated radial numbers on the speedometer in motion.

Moto Guzzi Bellagio
For all its compactness and simplicity, the tidy provides all the information a rider needs. We turn on the ignition – and we see another eagle and the Moto Guzzi logo on the LCD screen.

Widely protruding cylinders on the sides force the rider to move back slightly. The tank is raised too high, and because of this, your knees will not grip it too much. You have to put up with it.

Heated knees from hot cylinders are a nice free bonus. It is a pity that in the heat it will not work.
Despite the angular shape, the seat is soft and very comfortable, including in the part where the “second number” will sit. It allows you to feel confident and not be distracted from the controls in search of a good position. The footpegs are high enough not to hit the tarmac. Before them, a folded side stand comes into contact with the road surface in the left turn, accompanying this action with a nasty sound.
The exhaust manifolds are located close enough to the footrest. An oversized rider with the appropriate foot size can eventually find boot marks permanently stuck to the pipe. A trifle, but unpleasant.


The collaboration with Aprilia, which is also part of the Piaggio concern, benefited Moto Guzzi. With the model update, gear shifting problems and false neutrals are a thing of the past. The gearbox mechanism does not cause any complaints, allowing adequate use of the 74-horsepower cruiser engine.

For almost a liter volume, this is far from an outstanding indicator. Even taking into account the air cooling of the engine. Nevertheless, the motor demonstrates an even power output, peaking at 7000 rpm.
With the distribution of torque, things are not so rosy. The motor from the start gives out about 80% of its Newton meters, but then it falls noticeably in the range of 3500-4500 rpm. The pickup at the bottom is accompanied by the same pleasant gain at medium and high revs, right up to 7000 rpm. On the winding paths of the coast of Lake Como, when you need a stable supply of thrust in the widest possible range, this character of the engine will come in handy. The main thing is to avoid the “pit” of torque at 3500-4500 rpm.

Are you ready to support riding the serpentine suspension of the motorcycle? Certainly. Bellagio chassis – fork and monoshock with spring preload and rebound damping adjustments – ready for active steering. Compared to many other classmate cruisers that come with as simple forks and a pair of shock absorbers as possible, this Guzzi is a charged street.

It must be said that the motorcycle is equipped with a front 18-inch wheel, which in the future can greatly limit the choice of tires. The rear tire is a completely street format 180/55 R17.
The steel tubular frame is not the ultimate dream in terms of rigidity. A massive motor, which is a structural element, gives it the necessary strength. But there are no complaints about the lightweight aluminum pendulum.

Do you want to drive a motorcycle or ride?

If you ride, then the behavior of Bellagio on the road will definitely not provoke acceleration. Otherwise, you will definitely want to drive faster and faster with every turn.
The motorcycle allows you to ride actively, making it very beautiful. If movement on a sports bike is in a certain sense a struggle for every centimeter of the track, for a successful entrance, for late braking, then here you can just enjoy how everything is happening. The bike is very obedient. Thanks to good ergonomics, it allows you to go fast and at the same time does not strain the rider.
And in the rhythm of a winding road with smooth turns, the rider will definitely feel like the master of the situation. The bike’s brakes are effective, but the lever effort is not minimal. If you want to slow down, press hard.

At low speeds, the heaviness of the motorcycle is felt, and the turning radius is large. But as soon as you start driving actively, everything immediately falls into place. In city mode, the bike is nimble and fast, changing directions is easy. Riding on serpentines – the native element of Bellagio – will make you sing songs in a helmet after just 15 minutes of riding.
All Moto Guzzi motorcycles keep a straight line with confidence. The Bellagio, with its 1,570mm wheelbase and 28-degree steering column tilt, is no exception. With an increase in speed, he tries to fix himself more and more tightly in the “straight” position. At the same time, the wide drag bar makes it easy to operate at any speed. This gives the feel of a very pliable motorcycle. Don’t let the abundance of chrome and the classic look fool you. Bellagio rides like a street, runs like a street and feels like a street. A crisp gearbox, a comfortable, slightly stretched throttle grip – all this makes the motorcycle an excellent option for everyday riding. Guzzi is ready to comfortably lead you through a dense city stream, and then take you with no less comfort for the weekend somewhere for a couple of hundred kilometers.

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