Andrea Livio is a filmmaker born in northern Italy who has traveled the world and lived in many cities including Milan and Bogota. In 2010, he decided to leave his typical work routine behind and embark on a journey of a lifetime: a motorcycle trip across the world. He would leave from Stelvio, Italy and end the trip back at the same place; he titled his journey “Stelvio to Stelvio.” Read about his epic road trip on his Moto Guzzi Stelvio:
I have traveled more than 62k miles in the last two years across 37 countries. I’ve spent about two and a half years around the world with my bike.
I just got back home and I don’t think I’m yet able to express what I experienced.
The hardest part about the process was... starting. I did everything in a hurry before I could change my mind. During the trip I had no plans, no maps, no expectations, and was constantly discovering new things. It was a different lifestyle.
I started the trip at the Stelvio Pass, not far from my house. From there I went to the north of France, where I boarded on a cargo ship that took more than 30 days of navigation to get to South America.
Then I went from the southernmost point of Argentina, Ushuaia, to the northernmost point of Canada, Inuvik.
I missed an appointment in Alaska to get over to Japan so I decided I’d go south, to Peru, and from there I went to Korea.
Once in Russia, I crossed the Siberian region all the way up to Turkey. Then through Central Europe, I went back to the Stelvio Pass, where it all began.
During the whole trip I tried not to use main roads, but follow alternative routes. For that reason, I got lost many times.
I used 80 octane gasoline diluted with water while riding through the amazon jungle, and I drove at more than 16,500 feet of altitude. My bike always performed well throughout the trip.
I met guzzisti in every part of the world. In Seoul, Korea, I was stopped in the middle of the street by a manager in a suit and tie who wanted to take a picture with me. He spoke Korean, but I was able to understand that he was the owner of a Guzzi Breva.
Now I have friends in every part of the world. I keep using my bike here in Italy. Yesterday I passed through the center of Milan during Milan Fashion Week and was surrounded by fashionistas. As I stood there I looked at my Stelvio and smiled. It was my companion through rivers, deserts and dangers...
Venier Customs designs are created through the art direction of Stefano Venier and builds are brought into reality through the hands of master mechanics. All the parts like seats, paints, leavers and others come from artisans from Italian shops and companies. Stefano Venier the owner and head designer of the company started to modify and drive motorcycles from an early age, always customizing whatever motorcycle or moped he was driving. We interviewed him to find out more about how it all started and why customizing bikes to him is like Christmas time.
1. When was the first time you ever rode a motorcycle or scooter?
I was 8 years old, my dad used to take me around on a Vespa 50 Special and let me ride it. After riding a few mopeds I think that the actual first motorcycle that I rode was a KTM 250CC when I was 13 years old. It was real fun.
2. How has growing up riding scooters influence you to create custom motorcycles today?
I wouldn't do what I do today if I didn't start customizing motorcycles myself at an early age. My friends and I were creating mopeds that would go as fast as missiles on the country side in the Friuli area in Italy and then we moved on to the dirt bikes. That’s where it all started for real.
3. When did you design your first motorcycle? How did you customize it?
My first designs are dated way back to my moped days, but my first custom special bike was created just one year ago, and it made the cover of Iron & Air right away. It was a Diabola V35C. My friend Dario bought a Moto Guzzi 1000SP from Barbacane, a beautiful bike, when the Diabola came out it was everywhere. Not what I expected at all.
4. How has your production design degree help you with your work ethic and creation process?
Well, my product design degree helped me a lot. It helped me understand proportions, shapes, and colors. I’m applying what I learned and trying to build the perfect motorcycle.
5. What’s your favorite motorcycle that you ever designed?
This is something that is hard to admit but you never forget your first love, so I’d say the Diabola V35C.
6. What’s the design process like? Do you sketch first and then put into Photoshop or vice versa?
I first decide what type of bike I want to build. Then, I look for a bike in the market so I can make it happen. When I buy the bike, I start to deconstruct it by removing fenders, tank, etc. I leave the forks, motor and frame, basically a naked bike. Then I take a few photos, print them, and then start sketching by hand. After that, I start making Photoshop renderings to see the actual result. I decide on the colors and final shapes. I start to make CAD files for the tanks if needed and then send them to production. Once I buy all the parts I need, I start to build the bike. When we have the mock ups we can start shaping the bike and this is when the design concept comes to life and becomes the bikes you see.
7. What’s your favorite aspect about customizing motorcycles?
When I customize bikes I feel like Giotto Bizzarrini or a kid in a toy room, every custom work is like Christmas time. This is the best way I can make you understand how I feel when we build and when I see the bike complete for the first time.
8. What part of the motorcycle do you enjoy customizing the most?
The tank is the biggest challenge and is what makes the difference.
9. What’s your favorite place to ride?
The Italian country side for sure, it’s a magic place. From north to south, east to west.
10. What do you sell in your shop in Italy?
Right now the bike shop is just a place where we prepare the bikes; we have a partnership with the Icons Store in the heart of Treviso in the Veneto area.
11. How is it to live and work in Brooklyn?
It’s really cool, I often miss my country though, but I get a lot of inspiration from Williamsburg. I think that the area is going through a magical moment.
12. If you weren’t customizing motorcycles what would you be doing?
Actually, my main company is Minimal USA, we do high-end custom furniture. I can’t think of any other jobs I could do besides the furniture and custom bikes. I’m really lucky because I love what I do.
Creating art is not an easy feat, and creating art that sells is even harder. Artist Brian Kirhagis was able to become a full-time artist in 2007, two years after he got a B.F.A degree in Graphic Design. His persistence to work on his craft eventually paid off as he launched his own company and started to work for corporate brands such as Sony Music Group, Steiner Sports, The New York Yankees, MTV, and Hurley.
His signature paintings have his unique technique of weaving together double images and hidden elements that make his work a one-of-a-kind piece of art. He recently became the creative director and official artist for OnCore Golf, a company that developed the world’s first and only patented hollow-metal core golf ball, and he uses a golf ball as a paintbrush to create art for the brand’s packaging, apparel, etc.
Ted Gushue, Managing Editor at GrandLife Hotels and society editor at SCENE magazine, took a Moto Guzzi V7 Racer on a very special adventure on June 1st and decided to share the experience with us. Gushue grew up watching his dad ride motorcycles and by the age of nine he was already a big fan. During his college years he rode a Vespa and now he’s testing his motorcycle skills on a Moto Guzzi. We hope you enjoy his post:
Funded by a generous endowment from John D. Rockefeller Jr., The Cloisters were built in the 1930’s out of parts from five French cloistered abbeys. Buildings at Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Saint,Guilhem-le-Désert, Bonnefort-en-Comminges, Trie-en-Bigorre, and Froville were painstakingly deconstructed in France and shipped brick by brick oversea to Fort Tryon Park for reassembly. It’s a remarkable feat that seems delightfully ludicrous without the funding and gall of an early 20th century robber baron.
From my apartment in Union Square the structure that houses some of the most important medieval artwork in the world is 11 miles away. There hasn’t been a weekend I’ve spent in my three years living in Manhattan where a trip up there wasn’t on my to-do list, and yet for 1000+ consecutive days, I’ve failed to make it.
Then I met the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer.
At the turn of a key and a twist of the throttle my city shrank tenfold. Gridlocked arteries opened up to the purr of my engine. Distances dissolved. An hour-long trek to meet friends for brunch in Williamsburg transformed into a brisk 15-minute buzz over the bridge. The satisfying stroke of the V7’s 750ccs rang out in unison with the heartbeat of the city I love.
Having this newfound freedom at my disposal I chose Saturday June 1st as the day I would finally realize my ambition to visit The Cloisters. It was a remarkably hot day. Well into the 90’s, wind NNW at a pathetic 2 mph. The word “stagnant” comes to mind. However none of this applied to me as I flew up the West Side Highway with a 50 mph breeze to keep me cool.
The V7’s remarkably nimble handling allowed me to dip and dodge my way northward, but it was the stout engine that kept me ahead of the pack. I have to note that it almost shocked me how comfortable the bike felt at highway speed, when not two hours prior I had the thing zipping through the cobblestone streets of SoHo with aplomb.
Arriving at Fort Tryon Park I dialed it down to second gear and meandered my way through the landscape, on the left through the trees I could spot the Hudson River, ahead the silhouette of a medieval castle. A series of signs informed me that I had finally made it to The Cloisters, and I can only wish that you had been there to see the smile on my face.
Written by Ted Gushue, follow him @tedgushue.
Photos by Ted Gushue.
To view more photos from this adventure visit the Moto Guzzi Americas Facebook page.
Giles & Brother was founded over a decade ago by siblings Courtney and Philip Crangi with the intent of create jewelry that told their story. “I always liked the idea that we’re making things that are impossible to place in the continuum in the canon of jewelry,” said Philip. Both grew up in Florida and Philip as a kid always looked for pieces that reminded him of pirate’s treasure. When they both moved to New York City to start their line of jewelry, they decided to name it Giles & Brother, Courtney’s nickname growing up was Giles.
In their studio in midtown close to the Garment District, they create various pieces everyday including their signature piece, the railroad spike bracelet, by hand using tools that a metal smith uses such as hammers, molds, fire torches, and different metals. The studio looks like a mini manufacturing space with multiple wooden shelves filled with rare beads, spools with various chains in different shapes and colors, hardware pieces, but the space at the same time is beautifully decorated with books, drawings, vintage radios, and a huge surfboard hanging on the wall. The space’s vibe brings one back in time when technology wasn't so advanced and things were made and perfected by hands.
The fact this type of craftsmanship still exists in such an urban and fast paced city such as New York is a true rarity. The art of making something with hands using basic tools doesn’t only show one’s love for their craft but also defines a true originals lifestyle. “That’s the fun part for me, telling a story. I guess it’s my story,” said Philip.
Moto Guzzi motorcycles have always been great conversation starters and we think Giles & Brother accessories are a perfect example of a timeless piece to own. Already sporting Giles & Brother? Just tweet or Instagram a shot of you and your favorite custom-made cuff or bracelet, along with a #guzzioriginals hash tag so we can feature you here in the Originals Dialogue and Gallery.
To view Giles & Brother full collection including the Railroad Spike bracelet visit GilesandBrother.com.
Last weekend, Thor Drake of See See Motorcycles brought The One Motorcycle Show to Austin, TX, to celebrate motorcycles, art, music, and design. During the 3-day event, the show had a myriad of bikes showcased along with the '21 Helmets Exhibit.'
"Revival Cycles" of Austin, Texas was the hosting shop that put on the show and designed two bikes, a 1975 850t and a 2010 V7 Classic. "However you look at this pair, as either similar or very different, I think the time and grueling hours we spent transforming them was worth it and completing them simultaneously proved to be our biggest challenge yet and I'm pleased to say that we pulled it off. We are all excited about the One Motorcycle Show Austin, but we're even more excited to have finished these in time for the show." said Alan Stulberg of Revival Cycles.
A few of the highlights at the show was the Moto Guzzi V7 Wayward bike which was designed in collaboration with James Hammarhead of Hammarhead Industries, and a beautiful Moto Guzzi V7 Stone designed by Moto Guzzi Austin/AF1 Racing.
For more photos visit the Moto Guzzi Americas Facebook page.
Miguel Galluzzi in the historical Moto Guzzi motorcycle wind tunnel in Mandello del Lario. Moto Guzzi created the first ever motorcycle wind tunnel in 1950 which enabled racers to mimic real-life riding conditions and optimize their seating and body position at varying racing speeds – an unprecedented advantage for racing and production motorcycles.
Do the two California 1400 Touring and Custom models best represent Moto Guzzi tradition or its future?
The California 1400 is a balancing point between tradition and the future. The design was intended to be reminiscent of the traditional California design, with the sleek lines of the fuel tank, the curved handlebar, the chromium passenger grab handle on the Touring, and the long mudguards. At the same time the new 1400 is more modern, more comfortable, more hospitable, richer and more sumptuous than the previous model. The style was born, I believe in a balanced way, based on tradition which we did not want to forget on one hand, and on the other it brings innovation and an advanced spirit that a modern day Moto Guzzi must have if it aims for the top. The center of the bike strongly recalls tradition as the lines of the tank and saddle converges there, forming that imaginary "cross" which is so typical of previous models. On the other hand, there is no lack of a certain innovative style, provided by the wide rear tire and the front headlight assembly. In fact, the characteristics of the lights are ultra-modern, the front light has full LED illumination like those on high end and elite cars. It is really as if it wants to illuminate the road that opens up before Moto Guzzi, in a new light, brighter and clearer.
What was the primary goal in designing the California 1400?
Exploiting the lines of its engine. It is the only one of its kind in the world and it deserves to be left as visible as possible. The engine, which is such a signature of Moto Guzzi, became a true aspect of design. Its brand new lines represent the character and power that this 90° V twin is capable of doing. This explains why we decided to trim back the tank side fairings, in order for them to not cover the cylinder heads. Its most attractive view is from behind, the two cylinders can be seen emerging, better yet, exploding from the fuel tank. This is a clear representation of the bike's character, an ultra-modern cruiser, splendid to ride at low speeds, but also ready for a bold and fun ride at a moment's notice.
What sets it apart from the competition?
First and foremost the brand on the tank. It is 100% Moto Guzzi, all built by hand in the Mandello del Lario plant. On a dynamic level, it stands out for its features of handling and riding pleasure, which is unique in its category. On a design level, it catches the eye with its powerful engine which bulges from under the fuel tank, as well as its refined details and the style of some of its solutions such as the light assemblies and the instrument panel. The California 1400 is one of the few bikes that manage to convey the impression of craftsmanship and truly exceptional attention to detail.
What is the aspect that a Moto Guzzi will always have?
Personality, style and character of a 'made in Italy' bike. The new California is the only custom that rides like a normal bike, with a high potential for fun in turns, in addition to comfort and protection from the winds at the highest levels. It is an example of an excellent combination of design and function.
What’s the backstory to the One Motorcycle Show?
Back in 2010 we decided to host a grassroots motorcycle show to replicate all the days and nights spent kicking tires in the garage, talking with pals about bikes and the endless hours obsessing over what the "One" bike would be if you could build it. We hoped it would inspire builders to bring in bikes that weren't just show bikes — the bike had a unique story and a reason to exist. The shows brought a whole bunch of rare, weird, old, new, and all around amazing bikes together in one place.
What are your goals for The One Motorcycle Show?
Each year I set a goal of double size of the show, between attendees and builders. We are also expanding to Austin, TX, this year in April around MotoGP. The main goal really is not financial - I’ve spent thousands of hours trying to make this show really good. All the time is worth it to me, and creating a really amazing coffee table book to go along with the show that highlights every builder and bike that has ever been in the show is an important part of that. Hopefully 10 years down the road we will have marked a point in history. And I think that it’s kind of an interesting goal, to document a point in history with something that you love to do. That’s my entire goal, to make The One Show books that document each bike and builder and hopefully it will continue for 20 - 30 years and you can say ‘remember that scene, that was cool.”
How did you get 60 builders to attend?
It’s a mix of reaching out to folks, meeting folks even on the street who have a cool bike and also people who contact me to be involved. With a lot of other shows that builders can participate in , they have to pay a fee to show their bike. I try to treat it differently. The hard work of people building bikes is why The One Motorcycle Show exists. I try to give them something a fun event, a picture in the book, a care package- things I would want out to get from a show if I was participating. I think it’s a cool thing to have a show acknowledge your hard work and want to support it. The theme ‘the one’ is based off the philosophy of ‘the oneness’. The ultimate machine. In your mind it is perfect and then you try to make it and it’s susceptible to the elements, so it never seems to come out entirely right but you keep adding and subtracting to make it like the image in your head.
Can you explain the process from start to finish of making the books?
The books document these bikes and builders. They are hardbound, full-color, high-quality books worthy of the finest coffee table or workbench
Making the books is the hardest part of the show. The first year we took photos of each bike and had these amazing photos. And I decided to make a little show recap. I’m a terrible computer designer and did what I could to get them together. And people dug it. The second year I planned to take photos again and try to make a book. I had no idea how to do it and I’d say a little bit of luck got me to the right place. A friend at design firm helped out. Our photographer for the first year was Chris Hornbecker, who took really polished detail shots. So I wanted to make his book look like a coffee table photo book. The second year we featured Ray Gordon and his photos inspired personality of the builders. I interviewed every builder in the show and they hand wrote all the answers to the interview questions. We scanned all the sheets and put them in the book so it gave you a good look at the builder. For the third year they were more personality driven portraits. Each book is a chapter in the broad range of what I think the motorcycle culture is so the first year more about bikes, then the second year it was more about builders, then the third year it flips to genres and cultures of motorcycles and this year I’ll be inspired by the photographs of Scott G. Toepfer and we’ll have to wait and see what type of book comes out of it.
We self-fund all of the books and are current raising funds on KickStarter. Your support on KickStarter will not only help us self-publish these books, it will further our efforts and energy to go out and get things done. It will validate the hard-work and energy of each builder and it will keep us all striving in our communal search to build the "One." If this campaign is successful , we will immediately start designing two more books, one for 2012 show and another for the upcoming show this February 8, 9 and 10th.
See a video and find out more about The One Motorcycle Show Book on Kickstarter.>