Posts by Category: Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi June 4, 2018 posted by

Some Assembly Required – 1998 Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro Sport

Moto Guzzi cross-pollinated their 1990's unfaired sport model with the newly developed 992cc four-valve V-twin, the result being the V10 Centauro.  Calendar-girl bodywork surrounds the air and oil-cooled beast within, tuned down from the Daytona 1000's peak but still happy to rev to the 8,400 rpm limit and crank out 95 hp.  This one has been rendered a little more naked than usual, but the auction includes all the stock parts and some neat touring accessories.

1998 Moto Guzzi V1 Centauro for sale on eBay

This era of Guzzi combines their recent overhead cam engine with premium components and styling by the late Luciano Marabese.  The powerplant is the star of the show, Weber fuel injection helping push 78 ft.-lbs. through the 5-speed and out to the natural shaft drive.  Top-of-the-line suspension from WP, Bitubo steering damper, brakes from Brembo, and wheels by Marchesini set the scene for a undeniably European experience.  Old enemy gross weight is present but held low in the picture and handling is helped by a rigid chrome-moly backbone chassis.

Evidently in between plans, this Centauro has had the bikini and engine fairings removed, and except for the oil cooler hanging out there, looks just as well for it.  Possibly making ready for a tour, as a couple of different seats are included as well as a set of Hepco-Becker bags, which from my BMW days are without equal.  Not mentioned but it might be an aftermarket exhaust or cat bypass.  Pictures aren't high resolution, but the owner does offer these comments in the eBay auction:

One owner, excellent original condition with 8,620 miles. Always garaged. Only in the rain three times and has zero damage.
Comes with all its original parts including the following three which were removed when it was brand new: Headlight/dash cover with clear air foil, Oil cooler bezel and catalytic convertor.
Also comes with following new parts: Luggage rack with mounts, Hepco Becker Junior 40 liter Hard bags with mounts, Hepco Becker Junior 40 liter rubber liner set, one pair original grips.
In addition, comes with following used parts: Original tires,  Factory seat, Factory seat with extra passenger padding. All original hardware, computer chip, Original owners manual, Shop manual, Parts manual.

Looks like the new owner will have all the options - a new-looking machine with choice of seats, and factory fairings or not.  Luggage, well, if you must.  Reviewed as eager to run and needing firm direction, the modern twin can propel the Centaur to more than enough speed to make the auction winner consider replacing the windshield fairing.  Stock or updated, local or long distance - which direction to take this rare and quintessential Guzzi...

-donn

Some Assembly Required – 1998 Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro Sport
Moto Guzzi May 20, 2018 posted by

In White Satin – 1983 Moto Guzzi Le Mans III with 3,364 miles !

In remembrance of the Bal d'Or from 1971, when a Moto Guzzi 850 made a podium finish after 24 hours, came the Le Mans 850.  This Mark 3 has all the good stuff, revised heads with bigger valves, air-charged suspension, full-featured dash, and still wears its early 1980's emissions and noise regulation gear.  Complete as only a refurbished barn find can be.

1983 Moto Guzzi Le Mans III with 3,364 miles for sale on eBay

More often seen in the factory's favorite orangey red, this Le Mans is white with clean aluminum castings and black rubber, and original decals.  It has the newer "square" heads ( with tip-over protectors ) and the crankcase has its stiffeners on the outside.  Guzzi norms like shaft drive and linked braking system were an inside job.  Air suspension was new for the III but reviewed as too stiffly sprung.  God help you if you keep the turn signals on with the size of the reminders on that dash.

A recent restoration from Alabama, this Le Mans looks very close to NOS, but it's almost all original.  From the eBay auction:

I have recently changed all fluids- brake fluid, engine oil, transmission oil, final drive oil and replaced all rubber parts as well as all operating cables. The foot peg covers and bar grips had deteriorated with age. New Pirelli Sport Demons are installed as well as new brake pads that replaced the original pads. The valve lash has been set on all valves and the head torques checked. The carbs have been cleaned and tuned with mercury stix. Everything looks great and it runs like a dream.

All numbers are matching and it does not appear to have ever suffered any notable wreck damage. It has the stock air box intact as well as the totally stock exhaust system.

Still marching to their own drummer, Moto Guzzi has pinpointed the motorcyclist in many of us.  Fans of the brand are individualistic and self-reliant, and as the model reviewed - fast and stable.  This one is offered on a serious buy-it-now without the "make offer" button - independent perhaps to a fault...

-donn

In White Satin – 1983 Moto Guzzi Le Mans III with 3,364 miles !
Moto Guzzi March 19, 2018 posted by

Alternate Italian: 1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS

If asked to picture a red, Italian vee twin sportbike, the majority of the world would come up with a single marque: Ducati. But in truth the Italians have been rather prolific with their sporty scoots across dozens of manufacturers, even though some brands may not be household names here in the United States. And some, while once well known, have fallen to the march of progress and the downfall of insolvency. One of those surviving iconic Italian brands is Moto Guzzi - holding the title of the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in Europe still in continuous production. Now owned by Piaggio but allowed to operate quasi-independently, Moto Guzzi soldiers on with a handful of cruisers and V7 nostalgia bikes. However Guzzi once was known for sport bikes, and none highlight the brand better than today's Daytona RS.

1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS for sale on eBay

Based on the very (for Moto Guzzi) successful 1100 Sport model, the RS contained a few extra goodies in the horsepower and handling department. Like many other successful brands, Moto Guzzi marketed the RS as a premium model, selling the extra performance. Unlike the 1100 Sport, the RS featured new 4-valve cylinder heads and a bigger cam to help with higher RPM breathing. Modern EFI provided the fueling. Down below, a new lightened crankshaft was connected to a lighter flywheel, carillo rods and forged (rather than cast) pistons. Moto Guzzis have always been known to be robust motorcycles, and the venerable transverse vee arrangement readily accepted these updates without complaint. On the chassis side, the RS received uprated WP dampers front and rear along with 17" rubber front and rear. Tipping the scales at the same rate as the 1100 Sport (approx 488 lbs), the RS offered 12 HP and nearly 1,000 RPM more motive power along with handling refinements and a 240 KM/h top speed.

From the seller:
Daytona RS, very rare, only 34 to North America. I have had the bike for ~3 yrs in southern Arizona. Runs very strong, great looking with everything working. Mileage ~9000 as I continue to ride it on occasions. New cam belts, forks rebuilt, valves checked, tires good (Pirelli angel gt). Aftermarket exhaust, handlebars and Creedon chip.

From a performance standpoint, the big Guzzis were largely outclassed by Japanese precision. From a local perspective, Moto Guzzi found itself losing ground to the group from Bologna - to the point where Ducati dominated the Italian vee twin sporting scene. Ultimately grouped into the Battle of the Twins class against Beemers and Harleys, Moto Guzzi never quite made the transition to the modern sportbike era. But to damn the brand because it refused to enter the hyperactive world of "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" would be missing the point of this Dayton beast. With long legs, great sounds and fantastic looks, this Daytona RS is timeless and offers so much more than a fleeting performance benchmark. This is a classic steed that performs well enough to hold its head up high while enveloping the rider in a cloak of quality and mystique. This is a bike that riders look at knowingly and longingly; this is ultimate cool, personified.

This particular Daytona RS looks to be in pretty good shape. There is some wear evident in the rash on the triple clamps - it is minor and does not affect functionality, but somehow marks in this area always aggrivate me - and some slight damage to the left side rear tail section. Otherwise this appears to be an honest bike, and presents well. The mileage is sub 9,000, and from the seller's text maintenance and care was performed as one would expect. There are some extras in the form of upgraded Termi exhaust as well as a tuner chip controlling the EFI, enhancing power delivery as well as rideability. These RS models are rare and in demand in the small circle of Guzzi fans, so this one may not last long. The opening bid started out at a rock-bottom $1,000 (with reserve), and the BIN is a reasonable $11,500. Check it out here, and revel in the artistry of Italian chic. Good Luck!!

MI

Alternate Italian: 1997 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS
Moto Guzzi March 10, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

Update 4.15.2018: Now listed on eBay for $18,500. Good luck to buyers and seller! -dc

These days, Moto Guzzi is pigeonholed as the Piaggio Group's resident bearer of the sporty retro banner, building the Italian equivalent of Triumph's classic Thruxton, Speed Twin, and Bobber. Which is a damn shame, given Guzzi's history of legitimately competitive racing machines in a wide variety of classes. Of course, they almost always seemed to have that classic "speed through comfort" thing going on, even with their single-cylinder racebikes. But with very nice, but unintimidating fare like the current V7 and brutish retro-crusiers like the Griso and El Dorado, it's easy to forget that the original Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans was, at the time, a very serious sportbike.

1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans for sale on eBay

With distinctive styling that looks a bit like some sort of sleek, antediluvian racing tractor, the Le Mans was an update of the earlier V7 Sport and 750S, and used the same Lino Tonti frame and longitudinal v-twin, here punched out to 844cc and fitted with high-compression pistons in chrome bores, along with a hot cam, bigger valves, and larger carburetors. The resulting 71 rear-wheel-horses were corralled by a five-speed transmission and routed to the ground via Guzzi's now familiar shaft drive. Stopping was managed by a trio of disc brakes, and the Le Mans used a simple linked-braking system that sometimes causes sportbiking purists to turn up their noses, but is very effective in practice.

Obviously, "two-valve," "pushrod" and "shaft-drive" aren't words generally found in the description of a sportbike, but the Le Mans most definitely was one. It wouldn't likely impress anyone used to modern performance bikes, but in 1976, a top speed of 130mph meant the Le Mans was a legitimate player in the high-performance world, and a direct comparison to the contemporary Ducati 900SS suggests the simpler, pushrod Guzzi motor is actually revvier and the Le Mans handles just as well.

In spite of the fact that Lino Tonti's frame made for a very effective sport and street motorcycle for an impossibly long time, motorcycle frame design and suspension geometry have come a long way since the early 1970s and although the Le Mans is famously stable, it does, according to at lease one magazine article, "turn like a plank in a swimming pool." But who cares about agility when you're running tires this skinny and looking this good? Tonti-framed bikes are especially beloved of the cafe crowd due to their naturally low overall height, due to the jutting cylinders: even before you start modifying one, it's already impossibly low and lean. The downside of the Le Mans' widely-used frame and desirability is that they're pretty easy to fake, with most of the unique parts pretty easy to source, so verifying that you're looking at the real article is key before you make a purchase.

Moto Borgotaro did a pretty good job describing the bike themselves, as you can see below... The seat isn't the original part, but that's not really all that surprising, considering the originals used a newfangled closed-cell foam in their construction... that promptly disintegrated in many cases. This one looks like the earlier 750S style, so it certainly has the right character and seems a popular replacement part for Le Mans that have suffered catastrophic seat failures. Other than the modern, folding bar-end mirrors that some might not like, this thing is in pretty immaculate shape, down to the US-spec protruding headlight that is accurate, but something I'd personally try and swap out for the European version.

From the Seller: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

THIS MOTORCYCLE'S STORY

— By Peter Boggia and Tim Parker

Tonti, essentially a “frame man” made a plan to meet De Stefani’s goal of “200 kilometers per hour, 200 kilograms, and five speeds.”

That’s 125mph, 440lb and 5-speeds in American. His plan was the V7 Sport first seen in 1971. Sure it met the goal but it was also a looker, and the frame was masterful, low, stiff and with good ground clearance, and tight to the engine – but with the lower frame rails removable. Watchword: balance.

“While the specially prepared Guzzi 750s were roaring round and round the Monza speed bowl in October 1969, breaking the records Moto Guzzi had set in June, Chief Engineer Lino Tonti, Managing Director Romolo De Stefani, and President Dore Letto were discussing how Moto Guzzi could follow up the new records.”

"Beautifully restored paint, original brakes, upgraded suspension, all original switch gear... this is a three owner Le Mans"

MOTO GUZZI 850 LE MANS 1 DETAILS:

  • VIN VE 070505
  • 19,781 miles
  • First year 850 Le Mans, not designated as the first series until the advent of the second series.
  • Repainted by current owner at 18k mi
  • Lafranconi exhaust 
  • FAC front fork upgrade
  • Velocity stacks
  • Excellent rims and newer tires 
  • Serviced 
  • Newer seat
  • All original switchgear in perfect working order 
  • Ikon shocks

www.motoborgotaro.com

Piaggio at least seems invested in Moto Guzzi's success, but dreams of a modern sportbike like the one that was rumored in the 90s will have to remain on hold for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, bikes like the Le Mans are still around to rally the faithful and keep the dream of "what could have been" alive. Sadly, the Le Mans is no longer an affordable classic, although it still is a very practical classic, with the speed to comfortably keep up with modern traffic and parts available to keep one running. It's a comment on Guzzi's famous reliability that this 20,000 mile example could probably be considered "low mileage." The crew at Moto Borgotaro aren't the usual bike-flippers, or a modern dealer looking to liquidate an estate-sale collection: classic sportbikes are their stock in trade, and this Guzzi appears to have the expected quality.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale
Moto Guzzi March 4, 2018 posted by

Grey Goose – 1984 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk. III

Rare as an air-cooled Moto Guzzi Le Mans is these days, a square-head Mark III is not often among them.  And you wouldn't be faulted for expecting orangey-red or black, but this example was re-done in a very BMW-ish grey metallic.  The overall condition, trim Mk.III fairings and black wheels mask the age of this well cared-for Guzzi.

1984 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk. III for sale on eBay

The Le Mans has had such a long run that every example can be a history lesson.  The Mk.III was a substantial revision, angular from cylinder heads to fairings, with slight changes to engine and chassis geometry.  What weren't changed were the Le Mans paradigms - shaft drive, linked brakes, clip-ons, stable handling, and generous torque.  Gas rear shocks and coupled air forks were a notable addition, as were 18-inch wheels  front and rear.

Owned by a BMW wrench and evident mega-fan, this 850 Le Mans was treated to many performance enhancements and charcoal urban camouflage - looking very good for 30, thank you.  Original parts to ( gasp ! ) return it to stock are also included.  From the eBay auction:

It has been treated lovingly, always stored in a heated dry environment. It has been owned by a BMW Motorrad Master Technician (myself) since 1989. It was ridden briefly a few days ago to take the photos you are viewing. It definitely needs to get out and stretch its legs a bit but it has been registered as non-op here in California (it is fully insured however) and it needs tires as the Metzelers mounted on it are vintage as well.

It has been treated to the best, most desirable upgrades in the time I have owned it. Almost all of the upgrades were carried out in 1990 and 1991. The upgrades include RaceCo (Brooklyn, NY, RIP)  helical cut gear-driven camshaft, Ohlins piggyback shock absorbers, TeleFix adjustable handlebars (NLA), Agostini alloy rearset footrests (NLA), de-linked brakes with custom Kosman brake lines, K & N individual air filters, brand new Dyna ignition (with good used spare), new Lucas coils, and TeleFix fork brace. It includes one Albert sport bar end mirror that is shown in the photos. It also received new rings, a full de-carb and valve guide seals a few years back. I am including all of the original stock parts that I hung onto including the airbox, Marzocchi shocks, footrests, coils, cam sprockets, handlebars, etc. See photos for details. The photos are part of the description and I do not state that everything is included to return it to stock trim. If you don't see it, it is not included.

The paintwork was done by the legendary Mike Stolarz at Bavarian Cycle Works in 1990. It is as gorgeous as the day it was completed. It is charcoal metallic and silver metallic with hand painted gold pinstripes. The decals and pinstriping were clear coated with the rest of the paint. It contributed to winning a trophy at the Corona Del Mar bike show despite having been ridden all the way from San Francisco the day before and competing without the benefit of a wash!

Even in the mid-eighties the Guzzi's were idiosyncratic, using their own measures of an exciting ride rather than the yardstick of the stopwatch and race results.  The Mk. III was replaced for a few years by the 948cc CX-100, while the company completed development of noise and emissions-compliant airbox and carburetors.  The early-80's reintroduction was a homecoming for fans of the model, and continued almost for the rest of the decade.  This Mk. III looks to have received the star treatment right from the very beginning...

-donn

Grey Goose – 1984 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk. III
Moto Guzzi February 3, 2018 posted by

Best Foot Forward – 2002 Moto Guzzi LeMans V11

The wide Guzzi V-twin is instantly recognizable, the big air-cooled heads only lately fuel-injected and in this case protected by tipover guards.  The longitudinal crankshaft machine has a history going back to 1976, long and stable, if not a lightweight.  This V11 has some miles but looks undamaged and well cared-for.

2002 Moto Guzzi LeMans V11 for sale on eBay

Rather than ground-breaking, the V11 is reverent to Guzzi's past, the layout the same though the frame now supports the engine from the top.  Magnetti Marelli digital ignition and injection help deliver 91 hp and 69 ft.-lbs. torque.  Various wheel sizes have been used on past LeMans, settling on 17-inch front and rear for the V11.  The addictive torque keeps the signature shaft drive 5-speed transmission in the game.

 

The Idaho owner has kept this Guzzi extra nice for the miles, with a Corbin seat and forward foot controls, an unusual but worthwhile mod for those with adult knees.  From the eBay auction:

Excellent condition, Needs nothing, This past spring ( 200 miles ago ) all fluids changed- including brake & clutch, valves adjusted, new spark plugs, new air & fuel filters, throttle bodies & injectors professionally cleaned, Guzzi Tech reflashed the ECU, Eurocycles adjusted the TPS & sync the throttle bodies, Avon tires in very good condition, shifter spring up-date is done, paint is in excellent condition, Moto Tech foot controls, Factory MG Tank Bag, & center stand.

 

A little more GT than SuperSport, up-to-date fuel injection and premium components have made the LeMans V11 is a winning continuation of a venerable model.  The early 2000's found Guzzi making many special models, but the LeMans is just classic.  With very little in the way of applied graphics, the grays and candy red work wonders.  The owner has done some nice mid-life maintenance on the bomb-proof V-twin, and this looks like a great way to catch the European strain of the sportbike affliction...

-donn

Best Foot Forward – 2002 Moto Guzzi LeMans V11




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