Our EICMA Pick for Best in Show: Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello

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Every year, the EICMA show awards its “most beautiful bike” of the Milan event, and every year the winner is unsurprisingly an Italian machine.

Whether you attribute that to the Italian manufacturers being superior in their motorcycle designs, or if perhaps there is a home-team bias in the EICMA crowd, we will let you decide for yourself.

More often that not though, we take umbrage with EICMA’s picks, as the selection seems to rarely stray from a couple Italian marques, while also overlooking a more worthy recipient.

That is fine and all, and this year’s pick, the MV Agusta Superveloce Ago is a very good looking motorcycle – no doubt about it.

But 2021 is one of those years where we differ once again from the EICMA voting masses, as we would have picked the Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello instead.

I will admit, the Mandello is more “handsome” than “gorgeous” in its appearance, but the liquid-cooled Guzzi marks not only an important moment for the brand, but also an important moment for the motorcycle industry.

There will come a point in time where we will look at the Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello, and think of its active aerodynamics system as rather rudimentary in design.

It is a simple system, which only moves two flaps to deflect wind around the rider as velocity increases. In the future though, one can imagine a plethora of wings and flaps that act and react while we ride. Air brakes, anyone?

And from there, the sky is the limit.

Two-wheeled historians will mention that those advances started here, with an Italian brand that is steeped in history, and known perhaps best as a heritage marque.

That notion is changing too though. The Mandello is a series of “firsts” for the Moto Guzzi. First liquid-cooled engine,  first cornering ABS, first quickshifter, first IMU…

In my story announcing the model, I said a more succinct way to think of the Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello is to simply call it Guzzi’s first modern motorcycle. That is really what those superlatives mean.

I hope this is a trend that Moto Guzzi continues, and all signs point to the water-cooled transverse V100 v-twin ending up in a couple more models.

But, the fact that its debut is first on a sport-tourer motorcycle is of note too. A segment that has been replaced largely by big-displacement ADV bikes, sport-tourers are starting to make a comeback.

It turns out, not everyone is going to spend their riding days pretending that they are about to circumnavigate the globe, but there is still a desire for a more practical, comfortable, and potent sport bike that isn’t meant for the race track.

The Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello is perhaps the purest incarnation of that idea on the market right now – a true gentleman’s sport bike.

It is a machine for someone who doesn’t want the visual harshness that seems to dominate Japanese and European designs right now.

No flash and all substance, that is why the Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello is our “best in show” from EICMA. Chapeau.

Photos: Moto Guzzi