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Moto Guzzi CENTAURO Naked Motorbike Review

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Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 2

Centaur; half man, half horse - interesting concept, although some might say the Guzzi V10 Centauro was half motorbike, half Shirehorse... In practice, the Centauro handled poorly, rode a bit harshly and the odddly shaped saddle left the rider feeling perched on an upturned canoe. It just looked downright weird.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

The Guzzi 1100 lump was evolving into something useful by the mid 90s, but the gearbox was still a clunky affair and the Weber-Marelli injection was in its early stages of development on the Centauro. It has enough oomph for the job but the motor's instant lunge can upset the Centauro in low speed corners.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 0

The mid 90s Guzzi chassis is one clever assembly of steel extrusions, designed to cope with the brutally solid V-twin motor. That the chassis copes as well as does is amazing, but push the Centauro on a country road and you'll soon find it starts wandering about at the front, with the rear bouncing merrily to its own tempo. Best ride slowly instead.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 0

WP suspension is more than good enough, Brembo brakes, 3 spoke alloy wheels and a handsome pair of white faced clocks on dash all help add real class to the Centauro. Stainless steel exhaust too. You cannot compare the Centauro to a Bandit...but then again, the Guzzi twice the price of a 1200 Bandit back

Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro (1996-2000)

Detail Value
Engine size 992 cc
Power 95 bhp
Top speed 130 mph
Insurance group 14 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 2 rating is 0
Engine rating is 3 rating is 0
Ride & Handling rating is 2 rating is 0
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 0
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 0
Value rating is 2 rating is 0

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

The build quality is generally excellent on the Guzzi but the bikes suffer from a succession of electrical and other minor gremlins which tend to make the ownership experience slightly more character-building than it should be. The later 1999 onwards Centauros - including the Sport/GT variants - are better made than the earlier ones. 


MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 0

At ten grand brand new the Centauro was far too expensive for most riders back in the 90s. If you wanted a Streetfighter type bike you could get plenty of bikes cheaper - and they were generally faster too. As a used bike it can make a potential bargain, but you have to love its peculiar looks and riding position to choose it over a decent V11 Sport. Find a Moto Guzzi Centauro for sale.


Insurance group: 14 of 17

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Model History

1996: V10 Centauro launched.
1999: Fuel injection, engine tweaks, new lower saddle and paint schemes.
1999: GT and Sport variants appear.
2000: Centauro discontinued.

Other Versions

Centauro GT: Same bike, modest touring screen, luggage rack & pillion grab handles.
Centauro Sport: Same bike but with nose fairing, jazzy paintwork, different silencers.


Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.5 secs
Max power 95 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Weight 205 kg
Seat height 775 mm
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 14 of 17
Engine size 992 cc
Engine specification 8v, V-twin, 5 gears
Frame Steel spine
Front suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Front brakes Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 282mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17 in

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 0(0 reviews)

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I've got to have one. So original and well ahead of it's time. If you tested it now, you'd love it.

16 May 2009 19:11

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