Miguel Angel Galluzzi

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Miguel Angel Galluzzi
Red standard motorcycle leaning on sidestand
1994 Ducati M900 Monster
Born (1959-10-26) October 26, 1959 (age 55)
Buenos Aires
Alma mater Art Center College of Design
Occupation Motorcycle designer
Employer Piaggio Group
Notable work Ducati Monster
Title Vice President of Design
Cagiva Planet
Aprilia Dorsoduro
Aprilia RSV4
Aprilia Mana
Aprilia Shiver
Moto Guzzi V12 X

Miguel Angel Galluzzi (Buenos Aires, October 26, 1959) is an industrial designer specializing in motorcycle design who created the Ducati Monster,[1][2][3] an "instant icon that singlehandedly launched the naked bike niche," and "became the company's best selling and most profitable model line and carried the company through many lean years," possibly saving them from ruin.[4][5] The idea of the minimalist Monster began with Galluzzi thinking, "All you need is a saddle, tank, engine, two wheels and handlebars".[6][7] Monsters eventually accounted for two-thirds or more of Ducati's output.[5][8]


Galluzzi is a third generation motorcyclist[4] whose first motorcycle was a 1959 Kreidler Florett 50 he received for his eighth birthday, a present that disappointed him at first because, said Galluzzi, his "head was 100 percent into music" at the time and he wanted a drum set to become like Charlie Watts, though the bike changed the direction of his life.[9] Because Galluzzi is 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) tall, many of his best known creations with low seat heights and high foot pegs, like the Monster and Raptor naked bikes, are better suited to their target buyer than their designer.[10]

Galluzzi graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 1986,[6] from the same Transportation Design program as BMW's David Robb, designer of the R1100RT, K1200RS, R1200C, R1100S and K1200LT.[11] Galluzzi first worked for Opel,[4] and then for Honda's V-Car/Omega design studio in 1988, first in Offenbach, Germany and later in Milan.[4][6][12] In 1989 Galluzzi went to work for Ducati's parent company at the time, Cagiva, in Varese, Italy.[4][6][12] He stayed at Cagiva for 17 years, until July 2006 when he became Styling Director at Aprilia,[13][14] rising to become Vice President of Design for Piaggio Group, Aprilia's parent.[6]

In 2012, Galluzzi relocated from Piaggio's headquarters in Pisa to Pasadena, California to lead the company's new Advanced Design Center.[15][16] The California location follows other branches in China, India, Italy and Vietnam, which work with the main Piaggio Group Style Center, run by Director Marco Lambri.[15] Galluzzi chose the Pasadena location, "because of its proximity to centers of transportation thought," namely the Art Center College of Design, California Institute of Technology, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.[15] Galluzzi said he is, "looking for the next form of mobility," five to fifteen years into the future, and he will be, "hiring young and creative and crazy people," at the new design center to do, "experiments that might offer a rethinking or a melding of recent mobility concepts".[15] Piaggio and Galluzzi hope to bring a more cosmopolitan perspective than is possible working only in Italy, and branch out to such areas as electric vehicles that combine aspects of a motorcycle and a car, like the Renault Twizy and Audi Urban Concept.[15][16] The Daily Telegraph‍ '​s Kevin Ash said, with the Piaggo Group's total US sales, including Aprilia and Vespa, at only 10,000 units in 2011, the new center must also be aimed to bolster sales in that market.[17]

Motorcycle designs[edit]

The first work Galluzzi did at Cagiva for Ducati was on the 900 Supersport.[14] While most of the early models of Ducati's Cagiva period are poorly remembered, and the 1990 900 Supersport suffered flaws like splitting fuel tanks, the visually and mechanically revised 1991 900 Supersport, offered in full- and half-fairing versions, became a classic, somehow finding the necessary balance between honoring the tradition set by the Super Sport models of the 1970s loved by the "Ducati faithful," yet still looking modern and up to date.[18] The Supersport line had a successful eight year run that included many sub-models, ranging 400–800 cc (24–49 cu in).[18][19]


Main article: Ducati Monster

The Monster began as a styling exercise in 1992. The concept for the Monster was one Galluzzi had been thinking about for some time,[20] and it took time to convince the management at Cagiva and Ducati to build it.[12] Ducati technical director Massimo Bordi originated the idea for what they wanted the new bike to accomplish,[21] and assigned the design to Galluzzi. Bordi said he asked Galluzzi "for something which displayed a strong Ducati heritige but which was easy to ride and not a sports bike. He came up with a propopsal and I thought, this was the bike Marlon Brando would be riding today in the film The Wild One!"[22] Bordi's intent was to enter the cruiser market,[8] with a bike that was made to be modified and would eventually have a wealth of bolt-on aftermarket accessories rivaling the range of custom and hot-rod parts available for Harley-Davidsons.[20][23] Previously Cagiva had attempted to move into this market with a more blatant Harley-Davidson cruiser imitation, the heavily chromed Ducati Indiana of 1986–1990. It made poor use of Ducati's desmodromic valve 90° V-twin engines; and a full-cradle frame, not Ducati's signature trellis, played against Ducati's stylistic strengths.[19] Only 2,138 were made over four years.[19] Avoiding another embarrassment competing directly against Harley-Davidson with a banal imitation of the Harley cruiser, the Monster appealed to the same urban, style-conscious buyers who wanted a bike that could make an individualistic statement, but it did so with a motorcycle that they had not quite seen before, and was still unmistakably Italian and a Ducati.[24][25]

Because Bordi wanted Galluzzi to keep costs low,[22] the Monster was a humble "parts bin special," built not with newly designed components carefully engineered to work in unison, but by mixing and matching parts from existing Ducati models, beginning with the engine and forward half of the frame of a 900 Supersport,[12] a frame descended from the 851 superbike,[26] and the fork of a 750 Supersport.[18] Galluzzi penned a "muscular" fuel tank and minimalist bodywork that produced a visual impression of mass and strength, on a motorcycle that turned out to be surprisingly tiny and agile to the first time rider.[12] Motorcycle Consumer News design columnist Glynn Kerr described the Monster's statement as aggressive, "attributable to the head-down, charging bull stance."[27]

While the standard motorcycle is as old as the motorcycle itself, and many bikes have been retro homages to simpler machines of the past, at least since the Moto Guzzi 1000S of the 1980s,[28] the Monster was both retro[29] and a "whole new approach".[30] It was also a smash hit,[28] and the timing of its release was perfect,[18] creating one of the most imitated styles of the 1990s and 2000s.[29][31][32][33][34] Glynn Kerr ranked the Monster as 9th on his list of the 10 best motorcycle designs of all time, saying it "has all it needs and no more," and that the several imitators, like Galluzzi's own later Cagiva Raptor or Yamaha's BT1100 Bulldog, always come in a "poor second".[35]

The Monster might never have gone beyond the styling exercise stage had British reporter Alan Cathcart not ridden the bike at the factory and fallen in love with it, and then enthusiastically written about it in motorcycling magazines around the world.[23] Cautious of the new model's sales prospects, Ducati initially planned to make only 1,000 units, but after the debut at the Intermot at Cologne in October 1992 the media's and public's excitement prompted increasing the number to 5,000.[12] It was also the media and public at the Cologne show who prompted Anglicizing the Italian Il Mostro to Monster.[12] The Monster line has had numerous variations over the years, from entry level 400 cc (24 cu in) bikes up to top of the line 130 hp (97 kW) multivalve, water-cooled superbike-engined versions, with as many as nine different Monster versions in a single model year.[36] The Monster's elemental simplicity has also made it a favorite platform for custom motorcycle builders, showcased at competitions like the Monster Challenge.[7][37] Besides innumerable minor variations, Galluzzi's Monster design was not significantly restyled for 15 model years, until the cautiously updated Monster 696 of 2008.[38]

Later motorcycles[edit]

After the Monster, Galluzzi designed the 1997 Ducati ST2. As the Monster had opened up a new market outside the road racing derived sport bike segment, so too did the ST2 widen Ducati's range by expanding the company's offerings into the realm of sport touring.[39] Industrial designer Andrew Serbinski found Galluzzi's first generation Ducati ST design to be ill-proportioned, with the fuel tank too large, suggesting a better design would be more aerodynamic and more true to the "traditional Ducati values of compactness, the feel of motion at speed and sense of exotica."[40]

Next was the Cagiva Planet "Baby Monster"[41] of 1998, a variant of the Mito,[4] followed by the 1999 Raptor and V-Raptor,[4][42] which used a Suzuki engine shared by the TL1000, and intended as a direct competitor to Galluzzi's own Monster.[26] Galluzzi's description of the engine choice was that, "We had engines from all over the world, but the best two were Triumph's Speed Triple three and the Suzuki TL1000. Both engines had soul and character but eventually we decided on the Suzuki engine."[10] Early testers were "terrified" at the 135 hp (101 kW) prototype. Galluzzi said that, "the bike felt as if it was permanently out of control. It was fun!"[10] This prompted increasing the head angle from 23 to 25 degrees, and increasing the wheelbase from 1,390 to 1,440 mm (55 to 57 in), creating, "neutral handling but still [having] all the excitement of the original bike," along with tuning the exhaust and airbox to increase torque under 10,000 rpm at the expense of 35 hp (26 kW) less peak output.[10] The result was a bike that was both "bonkers and useable".[43]

Red standard motorcycle on a paddock stand
The 2010 796 is one of the latest incarnations of the continuing Monster line, showing styling by Pierre Terblanche that was introduced on the 2008 696.

After leaving Cagiva and joining Aprilia in 2006, he designed the 2007 Aprilia Dorsoduro, 2008 RSV4, 2008 Mana, SL 750 Shiver of 2009,[38] and several Husqvarna models.[4] He also contributed to the Vespa/Piaggio 1+1 concept vehicle.[44]

Many of the Ducatis Galluzzi originally styled were later revised and updated by Pierre Terblanche, such as the ST series and the Monster 696 update of 2008. Terblanche later joined Galluzzi at Aprilia, where they have worked together on several new and revised models for Aprilia subsidiary Moto Guzzi. They contributed to the Moto Guzzi V12 series, with Le Mans, Strada, and X variants, displayed at EICMA in 2009.[45] Galluzzi described the challenge he and Terblanche faced revising the Moto Guzzi image by saying, "The Guzzi crowd is extremely conservative, but if we only concentrate on those, we are going to lose eventually. So these bikes are looking into the future." This is similar to the balance sought with earlier Ducati designs, but, "the advantage Guzzi has versus Ducati is that Ducati makes sportsbikes, Guzzi can do anything it wants because they’ve been doing it a long time and on all sorts of bikes. We are not in a box, we can do anything we want as long as we are able to make it."[46]

In 2012 Moto Guzzi introduced Galuzzi's "Art Nouveau style" California 1400 which breaks with traditional Harley-Davidsion-inspired cruiser style of the previous California. The new 1400 is more radically modern, similar to the latest power cruisers, the Harley-Davidsion V-Rod and Ducati Diavel.[17] The bike's new1,400 cc (85 cu in) engine expands Moto Guzzi's engine range, on top of the previous 1,200 cc (73 cu in) and 750 cc (46 cu in) displacement powerplants.[17]


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