Euro Cruisers – Not a Pretty Sight!

DucatiIndianaMotorcycle designers from across the big pond have sculpted some of the most beautiful motorcycles in the world – with one glaring exception. European manufacturers consistently miss the boat when delving into the cruiser niche. Most Euro-cruisers are just plain…well, ugly!

There is little doubt why the European manufacturers occasionally dabble in the cruiser genre. They eye the market share enjoyed by Harley-Davidson with more than a little envy. While the Japanese have had some limited success in the imitation, it just seems that European flair does not translate well to the very American phenomenon of the cruiser.

Let’s take a look at some of the most glaring examples of these European eye-sores.

The Ducati Indiana

We are going back in time here (like 30 years), but no discussion on the ugly Euro-cruiser would be complete without a look at this Italian monstrosity. Even the attempt to appeal to middle-America with its name is sadly forced. It had a cool, desmodromic L-twin engine; but that 650cc motor could not save the terminally ugly bike. It’s so bad I had to make it the lead photo in this piece.

The Moto Guzzi California

GuzziDo you see the trend here? Another Italian offering employed an Americanized name – the California. It is not as obvious what is wrong with the looks of the California. Maybe it’s the overly rounded motif, or maybe it’s the fact that the otherwise cool Guzzi power-plant looks fatally out of place in the cruiser attempt.

The BMW R1200C

bmwIt is much clearer what doesn’t work in the styling of the R1200C. Even a high-profile appearance in a James Bond movie, couldn’t override the ugly that envelops this German cruiser offering. The bike is an uncomfortable mix of German engineering and pseudo-American cruiserdom.

TriumphSo the question remains: Has any European manufacturer gotten the cruiser right? Yes.

Triumph has developed arguably the coolest non-American cruiser in the world. The Triumph Rocket has taken Euro-cruiser styling (not to mention performance) to a new level. Maybe there is a hope for the European cruiser market after all.

Courtesy of

Filippo Barbacane Presents Moto Guzzi TTre Rossopuro

Filippo Barbacane's Moto Guzzi TTre RossoPuro Filippo Barbacane was last heard from late last year when he gave the world the Moto Guzzi Diamante – a well-done (some said ‘overdone’) custom based on the Moto Guzzi 8V. The Diamante caused some serious polarization as some loved the look and others thought it something off of a sci-fi movie set.

Italian designer Barbacane’s latest creation takes a trip backwards in time some 30 years to the Moto Guzzi SP 1000. He calls it the TTre Rossopuro – “pure red” in Italian – and it retains the vintage look of the SP but alters the configuration significantly into that of a café racer.

The original SP 1000 runs a longitudinally mounted air-cooled 90° V-twin displacing 948.8cc, a five-speed transmission and shaft-drive transferring power to the rear wheel. It was also one of the last to leave the Guzzi factory with the renowned Tonti frame. The TTre Rossopuro gets its name from both the old Guzzi T3 nomenclature and the Isle of Man TT, both of which inspired Barbacane when he was building his creation. Filippo Barbacane's Moto Guzzi Diamante

Barbacane has taken much of the extraneous plastic and bodywork off the SP, added a 45mm Marzocchi fork, Asatek rear springs and a 45mm adjustable handlebar, which provides the upright riding position of a café bike.

The TTre rides on 17 inch wheels with tubeless tires and stops by way of Brembo Serie Oro calipers biting down on twin 320mm rotors out front and a smaller unit in back. The exhaust keeps up the retro look by using a cone-shaped unit from Megaton.

Is this an inspiration for other Moto Guzzi acolytes? Time will tell. But, Felippo Barbacane has displayed his own interpretation of the SP 1000 and it is the TTre Rossopuro.

Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of