You can’t talk about motorcycle aerodynamics without mentioning Moto Guzzi’s wind tunnel. Contrary to popular belief Guzzi weren’t the first motorcycle factory to have a wind tunnel, but given that Aermacchi’s was built when they we still making aeroplanes we’ll let it pass.
Moto Guzzi started work on the tunnel in 1950, and were using it by 1952. From then on development of the factory racers focused on aerodynamics, streamlining initially an enlarged rear mudguard, but soon growing to include a fuel tank incorporating a front fairing pointing the way forward to the 350’s full enclosure. Jealous competitors soon lobbied to have these “dustbin” fairings banned, citing safety issues that were largely due to developing fairings without a wind tunnel. It was just another cost that led to the Italian factories withdrawing for international Grands Prix in 1957 although MV Agusta, now rolling in cash from building Bell helicopters under licence, infamously reneged on the deal.
There’s a rather fine period British short film of the Guzzi wind tunnel featuring a Le Mans II that I’ll post on my Instagram Reels and below
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