Why We Picked It:
The 1928 Moto Guzzi GT500 Norge is one hell of an important landmark in motorcycle history worldwide. With that statement out of the way, let us explain.
The Normale was selling well and was appreciated for its technical advancements, but not happy to just sit on their laurels, Guzzi and Parodi came up with some seriously impressive tech that helped from the GT500. It retained the horizontally mounted 498cc single, but added fairings around the engine, floorboards for the riders' feet, and from the racing side of things, the triple spring front suspension. The biggest change, however, was the rear suspension, which used a sprung cantilever (called "pivoting spring" at the time) swingarm. It was so revolutionary and strange at the time that most publications wrote the GT500 off before it even went on sale.
This irked Carlo Guzzi to no end, so to prove the critics wrong, he asked his brother, Guiseppe Guzzi, to ride from Italy to the Arctic Circle, a 2,300 mile trek. Riding through France, Germany, and Denmark, Guzzi arrived safely at Norway's North Cape region without a single mechanical failure and in immense comfort. The GT500 was renamed to the GT500 Norge, and the trek inspired many other companies to seriously consider the sprung cantilever system, which directly led to the swingarms almost every motorcycle uses today.
That is why the GT500 Norge is important in the history of motorcycles: The first grand tourer, and the first mass produced motorcycle with a rear suspension system that we now call a swingarm.