The custom world is rife with fads and fashions, but there are a few one-marque specialists taking the slow and steady route to win the race. On the east coast of the USA, Walt Siegl springs to mind for his high-performance Ducati builds. In Italy, if you want a Guzzi cafe racer you give Filippo Barbacane a call.
Barbacane aims to make his bikes “elegant and refined,” and he invariably succeeds. “It’s a bit against the trend,” he acknowledges. “It seems to be the fashion to leave bikes looking well ‘lived’.”
There’s nothing ‘lived-in’ about this Moto Guzzi 1000 SP, called Purosangue (Thoroughbred). It’s clean, well-balanced and ready for the road, a precision tool crafted for Mandello Del Lario enthusiasts. Unlike most Officine Rossopuro builds, this bike was not a commission—Barbacane built it to suit his own tastes. But before you ask, it has been sold.
The handling is a quantum leap from the 1982 original, with modified 45mm Marzocchi forks matched to Bitubo shocks. The brake system is built around Brembo’s upscale Serie Oro components, with 320mm discs and four-piston calipers. And the wheels are now lightweight spoked Borranis, shod with Metzeler rubber.
Barbacane is not afraid of CNC work to create new components, and for this bike he’s designed a custom mount for the rear caliper and a new engine mount. He also designed the minimal exhaust system, which was built by MASS. Despite the straight-through look, concealed baffles in the end pipes reduce the sound to acceptable levels.
Adding to the super-clean look are a compact battery, a clever rewire that hides the electrics behind the left-hand side panel, and discreet hand controls originally designed for custom Harleys. The engine and frame have been refinished in matte powder, leaving just the tank to provide a splash of color.