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Grey Goose: A Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport from San Francisco

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
One of the wonderful things about customization is that it can breathe new life into otherwise unloved motorcycles. Need proof? Just look at the number of amazing Honda CX500s and Yamaha Viragos on the scene.

This Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport is another poster child for realized potential. The original wasn’t the ugliest or slowest bike Moto Guzzi ever made, but despite having 90 horsepower on tap, it was porky and not very exciting. MCN was particularly harsh; “Track days often end in tears,” they said.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
This particular 1100 Sport has done a full 180, thanks to the remarkable skills of part-time builder Adam Grosser. It not only looks sharper than the original, but also goes a lot better too—with a bored-out engine and big suspension upgrades.

Adam works in private equity by day, but maintains his sanity by using his downtime to build things in a 10,000 square foot space in the San Francisco Bay Area.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
Airplanes and boats are his usual fare (yes, really) but he’s also built five custom motorcycles. He uses the tongue-in-cheek ‘NeldaFast’ moniker—’Nelda’ being his mother-in-law’s name.

One of his previous projects was a Moto Guzzi V65 cafe racer. He enjoyed the quirkiness of the Guzzi so much, that he decided to build another one as a ‘keeper.’

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
Adam liked the motor and fuel tank of the 1100 Sport. So he sourced a 1996-model specifically for this project: “Bought it off a Guzzi forum from someone who would be devastated by what I did to it,” he jokes.

The donor bike was pretty worn out, so Adam started by rebuilding the motor—bumping it up to 1,200 cc and turning it into a wall-of-torque monster. Most of the engine work was done in his shop, with the exception of some machining work on the cases.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
Next up was the chassis. Adam sourced the front end off a crashed 2006-model Suzuki GSX-R1000—using its wheel, forks and lower triple clamp.

He then modified the steering stem to fit the Moto Guzzi’s headstock, then machined up a top triple to match. This should more than fix the slow steering of the stocker.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
The brakes are from a newer GSX-R, upgraded with aftermarket rotors. Adam also installed a new shock from Matris out back, but left the stock Guzzi rear wheel in place. (We reckon it’s a great visual match for the Suzuki front).

For the bodywork, Adam has hand-shaped a new fairing and tail section out of carbon fiber. He started by shaping the forms out of foam, before laying up the carbon and finishing it all off. He then convinced the famed hot-rod upholsterer Sid Chavers to wrap up the seat.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
There’s a distinct retro sportbike vibe to the tail section, but the front end takes inspiration from an unusual source. “The front light treatment is a nod to the old streamlined locomotives of the 1930s,” Adam tells us.

Two deeply sunken headlights light the way, and there’s an LED strip neatly integrated into the tail out back. Adam CNC-machined every last mounting bracket in his own workshop, and edited the subframe to fit the tail.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
The exhaust headers are his handiwork too; they’re hand-bent from stainless steel tubing, and designed to hug the frame. The end cans are a pair of modern Yoshimura mufflers, originally intended for a 450 cc motocrosser. And the airbox has been ditched for a pair of velocity stacks.

Finishing kit includes a set of salvaged clip-ons, and a bunch of Motogadget cockpit bits, including grips, turn signals, switches and a speedo. Adam also rewired the bike around Motogadget’s ubiquitous m.unit control box.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
It’s a classy bike with an even classier paint job, thanks to John Bisson at Finishing Touch in Monterey, CA. “John has painted all of my bikes and his work is flawless,” says Adam. “I had never seen a grey and bronze bike before, and I wanted to tie in the anodized fork tubes to the overall scheme.”

Adam says this is his most ambitious build so far, because it’s the furthest he’s distanced a bike from its original componentry.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser
Moto Guzzi conversions seem to attract some of the sharpest minds (and skills) in the business, but this one is very special indeed.

We’d put it in the EXIF garage in a heartbeat. Would you find a space for it in yours?

Adam Grosser Instagram | Images by Courtney Cutchen

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport cafe racer by Adam Grosser

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