Moto Guzzi V 10 Centauro Sport


Make Model

Moto Guzzi V 10 Centauro Sport


1997 - 00


Four stroke, 90° V twin, longitudinally mounted, OHV, 4 valve per cylinder


992 c / 60.5 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 90 x 78 mm
Cooling System Air cooled
Compression Ratio 10.5:1


Electronic Fuel Injection


Starting Electric

Max Power

95 hp / 69.3 kW @ 8200 rpm

Max Torque

98 Nm / 78 lb-ft @ 5800 rpm


5 Speed 
Final Drive Shaft

Front Suspension

White Power inverted forks
Front Wheel Travel 130 mm / 5.1 in

Rear Suspension

Chrome Moly braced swingarm with adjustable White Power monoshock
Rear Wheel Travel 120 mm / 4.7 in

Front Brakes

2x 320mm discs  4 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 282mm disc  2 piston caliper

Front Tyre

120/70 ZR17

Rear Tyre

160/60 ZR17
Wheelbase 1,475 mm / 58.1 in
Seat Height 770 mm / 30.3 in

Dry Weight

224 kg / 493.8 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

18 Litres / 4.7 US gal

The Centauro is a curious looking motorcycle, with its sweeping fuel tank, broad seat and bulbous tail unit. Launched to celebrate Guzzi's 75th anniversary in 1997, the V10 is a mix of expensive chassis components, bizarre styling and traditional Guzzi engineering. The engine is perhaps the best feature, based on the Guzzi Daytona eight-valve sportsbike engine, replacing the usual Guzzi pushrod valves with an overhead cam design. With Weber fuel-injection, it produces 15kW (20bhp) more than the pushrod engine, with smoother power delivery. The chassis is composed of the best suspension and brake components from WP, Brembo and Bitubo, which all perform well while not disguising the Centauro's weight.

Moto Guzzi VI0 Centauro Sport
So, you're sick of all this alphabet soup, are you? Another mouthful of GSX-R, CBR, ZX-R and YZF got you nauseated? In a world full of peaky little four-banger flies, buzz, buzz, buzz, Moto Cuzzi's got something different—something meaty and manly, a soup you can eat with a fork: the Centauro.
OK, technically it's the V10 Centauro Sport, but, soup aside, Moto Guzzi got it right by naming this beast after the mythical half-human, half-horse creatures that prowled the lands of ancient Thessaly, wherever that is. Think "Italian V-Max" and you're starting to get the picture.

Our gorgeous red-and-white Centauro Sport differs from the CT version only cosmetically; all Centauros get Guzzi's 992cc, air-cooled, eight-valve twin with fuel injection. A claimed 94 horsepower and 65 foot-pounds of torque will do nicely, thanks, even when pushing a claimed dry weight of 471 pounds. Yank the fast-idle lever, mash the starter button, and the garage is suddenly filled with the federally muted boom of an honest to God motorsickle, sending those flies back into the rafters where they belong.

And then the thing coughs and dies, and you begin to realize the true genius of the Centauro moniker, for this bike can be as schizophrenic as anything with four hooves and two hands might be. Half-beast? Most certainly, especially past five grand; those 90-plus horses are stabled way up at 8200 rpm (torque maxes out at 5800). Whack open the throttle and this Guzzi flat goes, pulling hard until the rev limiter cuts in at 8400 rpm.

Half-man? Unfortunately, yes, and the human side of the Centauro lives in its extremely cold-blooded nature (despite the EFI, it took almost five miles for the bike to run without the aid of its fast-idle lever) and the softness in the bottom half of its rev range; open the throttle below 4500 and the Guzzi turns semi-gutless. The EPA is to blame, of course, though the folks at Pro Italia Motorsports (818/249-5707) tell us an after-market injection chip and muffler setup are available.

Short Shift

To tame the beast, you've got to bring it out, which means the Centauro is at its best with an aggressive touch, engine and otherwise. The gearbox is full of false neutrals unless you use the clutch on upshifts and forcefully toe the lever. And don't be a wimp with your right hand, either, because that EFI gives a serious case of the lurchies coming off a closed throttle. Wiping off speed also requires a firm touch—steel-braided lines lead to four-piston calipers that grab nicely onto twin 320mm floating front discs (there's a single 282mm disc at the rear), though most of the stopping power seems concentrated in the last third of brake lever travel. Unfortunately, this aggression can overwhelm the Guzzi's suspension, which is set more for comfort than sport, and the WP monoshock in back isn't easily accessible. At least adjusting the inverted WP fork is fairly straightforward.

But Guzzi ownership transcends functional perfection; it's more about character and history and style and the fact that your bike won't get lost amidst the buzzing hordes. It's about emotion, com-pagno, and the Centauro Sport certainly stirs up plenty of that.

This is a beautiful motorcycle, offering up its handsome, muscular engine beneath a sexy swoop of tank and seat and tail, along with a level of fit and finish that looks anything but mass-produced. You can adjust its valves yourself over a morning cappuccino and roost around on the sticky Pirelli Dragons by afternoon. It's a combination of simplicity and excitement a lot of other sportbikes just can't match.

In the end, it's these qualities that justify the $13,490 price tag. There will be those who'll argue that BMW's R1100R is a better bet; some here say that Herr Robo-Boxer is a touch too sanitized when held up against the Guzzi (after all, people won't hang out of their car windows to get a look at the Beemer). The Centauro, then, is one half-horse that's easy to fall in love with. Call it an animal attraction.