Riding a motorcycle can be a near mystical experience. Under the right circumstances, a road warrior awakening can possess the potential to turn a wanderlust-y freedom seeker into a hardcore biker evangelist. For pioneering motorcycle designer Miguel Galluzzi (BFA 86 Transportation), that zeal took hold early on, when he received his first motorbike for his eighth birthday. Once overcame some initial disappointment—he was expecting a drum set—Galluzzi saddled up, hit the road and never looked back.
Galluzzi’s outsize passion for biking fueled his journey from his native Argentina to Art Center’s Transportation Design program and on to an illustrious career designing iconic motorcycles, including the Ducati Monster, the original “naked bike” which became a landmark of minimalist automotive design and defined the performance-based aesthetic of bike design for the decades that followed.
After his seventeen-year stint leading design at Ducati, Galluzzi moved from Pisa to Pasadena, where he now runs the Piaggio Advanced Design Center, dedicated to developing the next wave of two and three-wheeled vehicles equipped to respond to rapidly-changing, disparate and diverse transportation needs worldwide.
While the two-wheeled open-air experience of the open road has taken its toll on Galluzzi’s body: His leg was laid in a cast from a minor motorcycle mishap during his interview for the above video. His thoughts remain focused on the bigger issue of restoring the motorcycle’s standing in the popular imagination the ultimate symbol of unfettered subversive fun, aided by its more contemporary virtues as a sustainable, cost-effective and future-facing vehicle.