MOTO-GUZZI CENTAURO (1996-2000) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Handled poorly, rode harshly and the odddly shaped saddle left the rider feeling perched on an upturned canoe"

Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Riding

"Handled poorly, rode harshly and the odddly shaped saddle left the rider feeling perched on an upturned canoe"

  • At a glance
  • 992cc  -  95 bhp
  • 43 mpg  -  160 miles range
  • Insurance group: 14 of 17
    Compare insurance quotes now
  • Medium seat height (775mm)

Overall Rating 2 out of 5

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5

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.

Engine 3 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

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. 

Insurance, running costs & value 2 out of 5

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 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

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

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their MOTO-GUZZI CENTAURO (1996-2000) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your MOTO-GUZZI CENTAURO (1996-2000)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Raging bull of a bike.

19 August 2016 by EyeTieFan

Went for miles on it. The torque alone would out do most bikes on the road when overtaking cars. I left many bikes in my mirrors just opening the throttle between cars on B roads. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Never rode it like a sports bike like some journalists do. Position was comfortable for 5'11 and I rode 100 miles and felt fine and I was 12 stone. Suspension and brakes were very good. Torque reaction was typical Guzzi pull to one side at getting away from a standstill but otherwise you knew you were riding something special. Everyone stared at it parked up back in 1999.
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Had it from new for 6,000 miles. (Ex Demo with 550 miles though) Clocks played up from time to time. Didn't like Winter temperatures. Would cough and splutter. Need a dealer re-chip fitted, but I never bothered. Overall finish was good. Panel lugs easily bust off if a dealer was reckless, (like they can be). Polished up lovely.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
No more than any other bike.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Nothing extra worth mentioning. Favourite feature? I'd say engine pulling power and being an individual on the roads.
Buying experience

Bought it as an ex demo from a main dealer in Norfolk, had it delivered to Oxfordshire. It was cheap at the time and the only one I could find! £6000. Ran it for 2 years and found nobody wanted it in part exchange as it was so rare! Managed to sell it to a Multi franchise dealer in part against a VTR 1000 fire-storm. Not my first choice but it was my only option to get onto a California 1100 I wanted.

Read all 1 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1996
Year discontinued 2000
Original price -
Used price -
Warranty term (when new) Two tear unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 95 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.5 secs
Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Specification
Engine size 992cc
Engine type 8v, V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel spine
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 775mm
Bike weight 205kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 282mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17 in

History & Versions

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.

Photo Gallery

  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Riding
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Side view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Top view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Side view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Side view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Top view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Front view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Top view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Riding
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Side view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Front view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Riding
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Side view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Top view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Side view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Side view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Top view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Front view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Top view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Riding
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Side view
  • Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro motorcycle review - Front view
All related reviews