Moto Guzzi Vanguard V8 custom - 4

Long, long ago, on a racetrack, far, far away, racing motorcycles sported dustbin fairings. Too young to know what they are? Grew up with racing bikes having exposed front wheels?

A dustbin fairing was the term given to a fairing that fully-enclosed a motorcycle’s front wheel, back in the fifties. This was done in order to improve the motorcycle’s ability to cut through the air, because bikes usually have the aerodynamic properties of a brick.

In 1956, Italian firm Moto Guzzi – purveyor of V-twin motorcycles that sat the engine laterally in the frame – produced a 500 cc V8 racing motorcycle with a dustbin fairing. Despite producing only 78 hp, the Guzzi V8 was capable of reaching a speed of 277 km/h.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment. The thing about dustbin fairings was that they made the bike unstable, especially in cross-winds. Cooling the engine was another issue, as the fully-enclosed front end didn’t allow airflow to reach the engine cooling fins.

In 1958, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) – the governing body for motorcycle racing – banned dustbin fairings. Rules were enacted to ensure that any bodywork did not extend beyond the wheel spindles, and that the rider’s arms and legs were to be visible from the side.

Today, 60 years on, the dustbin fairing is back with us, hipster-style. Dutch casual clothing outfit Vanguard has teamed up with bike customiser Numb Nuts and Ulfert Janssen of Gannet Design to produce the Vanguard V8 to commemorate its new range of V8 riding jeans.

Based on the 1,400 cc Moto Guzzi Eldorado V-twin cruiser, the Vanguard V8 sports a dustbin fairing that has a cut-out for the headlight. Full enclosing the front wheel, this necessitated the forward-set foot controls of the Eldorado being moved back almost 790 mm to the rear.

A pair of open-cut shorty pipes give the Vanguard a throaty, albeit very illegal, roar. To complete the look of the bike, vintage looking crinkle-cut tyres from Firestone were installed.

Moto Guzzi Vanguard V8 custom - 6

YSS remote reservoir shock absorbers suspend the rear end, with spoked wheels and drilled brake rotors complementing the vintage style. The dustbin fairing is a massive fibre-glass affair, suspended on a welded steel frame that is attached to the Vanguard V8’s frame.

A squared off fuel tank replaces the Eldorado’s original sloping tank, giving the Vanguard a purposeful cafe racer image. Obviously a showcase machine for the Vanguard clothing range, the Vanguard V8 is none the less a very unique bike, in a world of cookie-cutter V-twin customs.

GALLERY: 2016 Moto Guzzi Eldorado