ARCTOS. Ancient Greek for “bear”, at least, that’s what our translator says. It is also the name of the brand-new group that has emerged from a small valley in the Swiss Emmental region. Aside from the famous cheese, this area is also known for the traditional craftsmanship workshops, as well as hidden, cutting-edge, high tech firms. It just so happens that the heraldic animal of this region, is a bear. It is from this area where ARCTOS-Collection operates. The team consists out of three founding members: Stefan Fuhrer, Mathias Furher, and Ulfert Janssen. The three gentlemen each bring their own expertise to the table. Stefan has a racing background and is the managing director of Fuhrer Moto. Mathias has a background in the automotive industry, with over 25 years of experience in custom cars and paintwork. Ulfert owns Gannet Design and is specialized in product and automotive design. Together they are ARCTOS-Collection and they are working hard on putting their name on the map in the custom motorcycles’ scene.
Moto Guzzi V9
Moto Guzzi first introduced their V9 in 2016 as a Bobber and Roamer. With an 850cc transverse, air-cooled v-twin, it was a much-anticipated bike. Not only because it allowed Moto Guzzi to tap into a new segment, but also because of the all-new engine and chassis architecture. As you may notice, the V9 is designed for a relaxing ride, with its fat tires, plush suspension, and amicable 55hp and 62Nm (46 ftlb) of torque. An unusual candidate for a modification project, to say the least. So why choose the V9 then? Well, Moto Guzzi has a history in motorcycle racing. In the early 1970’s, their Tonti prepared V7 set a number of world records on the track in Monza. To restore some of Moto Guzzi’s former racing glory, ARCTOS accepted the challenge and choose to turn the V9 into something it was not designed to do: race.
The project started with some loose sketches by Ulfert to find the right way for morphing the Roamer proportions into a forward leaning racer look. Ulfert: “First I worked on the stance and changed the frame angle from slanted backward into a forward leaning angle. I designed a new strong retro racing tail section and new exhaust system as a signature which sweeps along the bike like a swoosh. Once the overall direction was settled, I made detailed design renderings which we used as the base for the building process.” This V9 needed to become a pure racer with tight stance and proportions. It is a radical transformation from a relaxed cruiser configuration of the standard V9 “Roamer” donor bike, into a performance machine. A lot of work would be required, no doubt about that.
When you look at the images, you will see that the part that truly stands out the most, is the tail section. The entire part is made out of aluminum and is completely hammered by hand. A new rear sub-frame was created to support the seat and cowl in the elevated position for a more racing height configuration. The seat got fitted with brown kilted leather that matches the Biltwell grips on the handle bar. The list of modifications is endless! Another notable feature is that the Guzzi now breathes through a pair of Keihin flat-slide racing carburettors instead of the factory fuel injection. A CNC Racing rear-set (Pramac MotoGP racing supplier) has been added to improve the ergonomics for racing. The front fender got shortened and equipped with new anchoring to fit the Öhlins forks.
A new racing triple clamp by IMA with a custom made steering stem was made to fit the V9. For the clip-on’s ARCTOS got sponsored by ABM Fahrzeugtechnik who equipped them with their “multi clip” and a set of Synto Evo brake/clutch levers in silver/blue/black to fit the color scheme of the bike. Talking about the color, another element on this bike that stands out, is the special paint job by Walter Oberli. It is a rare mixture of “scrubbed” and high gloss shine with a thick layer of clear coat, which blurs the perception and gives the rugged and scruffy design a very smooth appearance.
But that’s not all!
The all black racing control buttons from Jetprime give a menacing detail and a reference to the fast forward theme. For the lighting system they got sponsored by Highsider and the speed gauges are by Daytona (Paaschburg & Wunderlich) which were fitted into a custom made bracket. Electrical components are by motogadget, such as the M-lock for keyless starting, bar end blinkers, M-blaze and M-unit for the control box. The 18″ front spoke wheel is specially made by Kineo to fit the new fork distance of 210mm. The rear is also a 18″ Kineo spoke wheel which got special aluminum cover plates. The rear wheel is suspended by two Öhlins Blackline rear shocks.
The pronounced round sweep of the exhaust pipe design gives a strong visual impact and enhances the fast forward dynamic of the bike even at a stand still. The twin pipes were bent and welded, and smoothly blend into two Leo Vince GP Pro end cans, which make already clear from a distance that there is a two cylinder approaching. Ulfert: “What’s special about this conversion is that it’s a reduced and minimalist design at first glance, but at a second glance you can see many custom parts and special details. These remain discreetly in the background to give a pure and strong first impression. However, if you dive into the bike, you can discover the sophistication in detail. Special thanks as well to Bruno Bertschy (metal work) and Walter Oberli (paint) for their contribution and fine work.”
How much power the V9 Racer puts out exactly, and how much weight it has lost, we can only speculate on. But given the strict diet and performance upgrade, it is safe to say that this Moto Guzzi is the rightful heir to the racing record throne of the infamous V7 Racer from the 1970’s.
Photo credit: Arnaud Mouriamé and Gannet/Fuhrer