Posts by Category: Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi April 19, 2019 posted by

Idiosyncratic – 1987 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1000SE

The Le Mans’ long history included a run of just 100 Special Editions for 1987, in classic red and white.  This NorCal example is in surprising condition for its age and miles.

1987 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1000 SE for sale on eBay

The Le Mans was already venerable in 1987, having been introduced in 1976, and the 1000 SE was essentially a Mk. IV design with a few DeTomaso-era details.  Based on the square-head Le Mans III, the 948cc longitudinal twin pushes 81 hp at a modest 7,400 rpm.  The crankshaft sits low in the traditional downtube frame, the long chassis providing a stable platform, made a little snappier by the 16-inch front wheel.  Classic eighties livery is making a high speed pass when parked.

Having somehow survived 30-plus years and almost 28,000 miles, this SE has just a few scrapes to show for it.  K&N filters, head guards, and Corbin seat are signature updates.  Not much maintenance history in the comments but the compromise handlebars are admitted in the eBay auction:

This bike is all original except that the stock clip-on handle bars have been replaced by a standard handle bar. The handle bar now on the bike makes for a more comfortable riding position. Very good condition, fully sorted, runs well, needs absolutely nothing. I ride this bike frequently around the San Francisco Bay area. California title and current registration. The only obvious cosmetic flaw is a small scratch on the left rear seat bodywork, shown in one photo. The bike is entirely unrestored with all original paint, decals, and seat. A Corbin seat also comes with the bike and is shown in one photo.

The Le Mans 1000 reviewed as a European thoroughbred, not at the leading edge of technology but a torquey bullet.  Some may find it a bit of an ask for such a rider, but as they say, no more are being made.  Despite its rubs and chips, this one is complete, nearly correct, and operational.

-donn

Idiosyncratic – 1987 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1000SE
Moto Guzzi April 10, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing: 1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport in Canada

Update 7.31.2019: This bike has SOLD! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

The 1997 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100i has been a bike for people who value quirks and personality over outright speed since its debut. With the marque’s classic longitudinally mounted long-stroke, pushrod v-twin it’s known for a smooth, torquey delivery rather than screaming speed. But what you don’t get in lap times is made up for by the fact that the big Goose is solid, reliable, unique and timeless. And there are plenty of tasty pieces hung off the pretty trellis frame.

Despite a mill that made little sporting pretense, the bike wears WP forks and a WP shock, which guide a pair of lovely Marchesini wheels down the road. Thanks to that, and despite ground clearance hampered by the heads heading east and west, the bikes handle remarkably well.

And all that is before you get to how pretty the bike is, in this case in Guzzi’s beautiful hue of yellow. This one has seen just shy of 7,000 miles, and less than 3,000 since its current owner took it to Ontario eight years ago.

By its condition, it is clear this bike has spent its entire life being babied, and as such, it is more than ready for a new owner to enjoy. From the seller:

This beautiful 1997 Moto Guzzi was listed on RSBFS in March of 2011, and was purchased by the current owner after seeing it on this website. Here is a link to the original posting here on RSBFS in 2011 – The bike was shipped to the border at Buffalo, New York, and was legally imported into Ontario at that time. The owner has Ontario ownership (title) in hand. At the time of the current owner’s purchase the bike had only 3982 miles on the odometer. As you can see in the photos the bike has seen less than 2500 miles since moving north of the border.

Since moving to Ontario the bike has been kept indoors in a heated garage, except for its occasional use on sunny days. All plastic and bright bits are in excellent condition. It has a
new battery and starts and runs as intended. As you can see from the 2011 posting the rear sets and the levers are custom items, but the original controls and footrests were not included
in the original sale, so they are not available with this sale. The original owner’s manual comes with the bike.

$7500. USD or $10,000. CDN

The Moto Guzzi is located about 30 miles east of Toronto. Assistance can be provided to facilitate shipping, but that is the responsibility of the buyer to organize. The seller, due to ill health, is selling his collection, and I am attempting to assist him with this process.

Thanks in part to its definite quirks and the fact that just being good at everything doesn’t make you stand out, these lovely bikes don’t command the premium that some of slightly less refined Japanese bikes do. But that, dear reader, is part of what makes this thing so desirable. The cost of entry means you don’t need to be a budding tech oligarch to park one in your two-car.

Featured Listing: 1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport in Canada
Moto Guzzi April 1, 2019 posted by

Italian Sweetheart: 1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza

Moto Guzzi has a long and storied history in the annals of motorcycling. Among the oldest motorcycle manufacturer – and THE oldest if you consider the “…in contiguous operation…” caveat (simultaneously turning a blind eye to the few lean years where they were between owners and technically not in production) – the Guzzi trademark is really the splayed out V-twin look. Turning the cylinders across the bike rather than inline (like an Aprilia, Honda or H-D) allows the power to flow through the crankshaft and provides direct input into the transmission and final shaft drive without having to make any 90 degree turns. Much like a BMW with folded-up cylinders, Moto Guzzi has resolutely clung to this configuration as if nostalgia were the sole meaning of existence. Modern examples of
the transversal V-twin* (* official Guzzi marketing nomenclature) have introduced updated technology, but to this day the twin cylinder arrangement remains as an anchor feature of the M-G brand.

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza for sale on eBay

The V50 Monza was the baby brother to the V7 and LeMans models. Displacing a modest 500cc and producing an even more modest 48 horsepower, the Monza configuration provided for bigger valves and different carbs over that of the standard V50. With a dry weight of 355 pounds, the Monza is no high performance scooter. But to compare quarter mile times (somewhat on par with a Toyota Prius) really misses the intent of the V50 platform. Intending to introduce an entirely new group of riders to the mystique and cachet of the Moto Guzzi brand, the V50 was an attempt to create a smaller, more approachable and more affordable slot in the Moto Guzzi lineup. Sadly the buying public did not line up to purchase the V50 (or its even smaller brother, the V35), making this an often overlooked motorcycle.

From the seller:
The Moto Guzzi V50 Monza’s were a real gem that is often overlooked. There are said to be only about 100 of them that were sold in the United States. They are essentially a baby LeMans, but their lower weight and smaller size make them a very nice bike for back roads or local cruising. They are smooth, dependable, reasonably fast, and the design is very attractive. You just have to love the alligator-patterned seat vinyl. No plastics (to speak of) and lots of beautifully cast aluminum.

I’ve had this 29,895 mile bike for 5 years and its one of my favorite drives. We have rebuilt the carbs and done all maintenance regularly. There are no mechanical or electrical or cosmetic issues. The tires are a few years old and have nearly all there tread. While the bike has a lot of miles, it is impeccable. There are no paint blemishes, wear, scratches, or fading of any sort. This is a pristine survivor. No excuses.

I’m not sure the silencers are OEM, but they came with the bike. It sounds great, The Guzzi sound is pretty unique. There is no other bike that sounds like these narrow sideways V’s. Sort of an Italian Harley sound. The bike made a fair amniunt of power for the day. The 45 hp motor was in part due to the fairly novel use of Heron heads. The other small bike of the era that used them was the iconic Moto Morini 3 1/2. Incredibly smooth ride due to the shaft drive (which is beautifully enclosed in the right rear swing arm).

My only additions to the bike was to install the beautiful Alberts bar-end mirrors, new tires, and a new OEM windscreen.

Time is said to heal all wounds, and eventually makes (nearly) everything valuable again (ever surf eBay for fun?). With 38 years and nearly 30,000 miles behind it, this 1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza looks pretty incredible. The colors are vibrant and the instrument cluster looks unblemished (and no rash on the top of the triple trees!). There is some discoloration and staining on the cases and cylinder heads which is simply an indication of normal use. From the pictures this looks like a time capsule, and with legendary Guzzi longevity this would be a bike to putt around on for decades to come. The current bid on this beauty is a paltry $3,200, with reserve still in place. Depending where that reserve is set, this baby Guzzi could be a bargain in the making. It’s hard to believe the seller would let it go for peanuts after lavishing such care on this Italian beauty, but as we see so few of these rare models come across our pages it is definitely worth a look. Into classic Moto Guzzi models? Check this one out here, and then be sure and jump back to the comments and share your thoughts and experience with this lesser known example. Good Luck!!

MI

Italian Sweetheart:  1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza
Moto Guzzi March 26, 2019 posted by

Affordable Italian: 1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport

While there are certainly other, more exotic and rare Moto Guzzis to consider, the 1100 Sport is a fine choice for those interested in Italian ownership without pandering to the chores of hyper-rare, unobtainium parts, and temperamental Italian thoroughbred ownership. With the 1100 Sport you get all the basics you would expect in a Guzzi – transverse 90 degree V-twin with air cooling, a sporty silhouette and shaft drive – packaged in a bike that you can ride. The longevity of these machines is legendary. What you don’t get is all of the headaches associated with the Corse models, nor the added complexity and maintenance of the “upper scale” versions with higher horsepower ratings, 4-valve heads, etc. But fear not, even a pedestrian model Guzzi will turn heads, and give forth smiles and miles aplenty.

1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for sale on eBay

If you are familiar with Moto Guzzi history, you could consider the 1100 Sport model as a successor to the legendary LeMans series – although in reality it never really captured hearts and wallets in the same fashion. It is what one might consider a bargain Daytona of the brand, or possibly even an alternate take on a 90s era Ducati 900 Super Sport. Riders of Japaneses hyperbikes deride the Guzzi for its loping, slow delivery of power. They point out it is heavy, and that no real sport bike ever used anything but a drive chain. But the 1100 Sport was not made for the cut and thrust of the race track. It is a real world rider, with 90 horsepower all coming in below 8,000 RPM. At about 480 pounds this is no featherweight, and its forte is much more the sweeping corners of a canyon than late braking into hairpins (although the triple Brembos are up to the task). It is reasonably comfortable with good ergonomics and adequate wind protection from the sport-styled fairing. It is a motorcycle with which one can do motorcycling things, and it does none of them so well as to make it stand out.

From the seller:
Up for sale is my 1997 Guzzi 1100 sport this bike has no known issues that i am aware of a complete service was just done at the AF1 shop here in Austin tx. . there are new Michelin tires with less than 1k miles on them.this bike may not be for the average rider but if you have ever ridden one you will know what i am talking about.condition is above average for this bike. thank you for looking. Buyer will pay for any shipping cost needed. Clear title/ new battery

If it seems that I am damning the 1100 Sport with no praise whatsoever, fear not. The 1100 Sport is a truly capable motorcycle. It is not available in copious numbers in the US like your average NinjaBusaBlade. It is not ultra rare like an NR750. It is not lusted after like a RC30 or OW01. This is a motorcycle to own and enjoy because you like to ride. It will never be a collector, but that is not a bad thing. In many ways, this 1100 Sport is everything a motorcycle *should* be, without a lot of the flash and drama to confuse the experience. Reliability is good, maintenance is relatively easy (no belts to change, fewer valves to adjust, shaft drive, fuel injection, etc), and yet you still get the exotic aura of an Italian machine. Check it out here, and let us know what you think. The pics are a bit low res, but the bike really stands out in “arrest me” red. The miles are more than one might expect from a sport bike, but (with proper maintenance) that is right up Guzzi territory; like their BMW counterparts, these bikes are meant to eat up miles. The asking price might be a bit on the upper scale of the range, but the seller is open to offers. This could be a fine rider – and a bargain in the making. Good Luck!

MI

Affordable Italian:  1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport
Bimota February 13, 2019 posted by

Mid-Winter Roundup of Featured Listings

Even though there are prodigious cold fronts trained on both coasts, planning ahead is always in season. Here’s a little review of RSBFS’ recent features:

Let’s start with a couple of smokin’ race machines –

Featured Listing: 2018 Honda NSF250R Moto 3 Race Bike For Sale

Featured Listing: 2017 Suter MMX500 for Sale

From the 1980’s we have two classic supersports, plus a unique Harley-Davidson –

Sponsored Listing: Zero-mile, 1-of-25 road-going 1994 Harley-Davidson VR1000!

Sponsored Listing: 1983 Honda CB1100F

Featured Listing – 1982 Honda CB750F Super Sport

These three are more along GT lines but very sporty –

Sponsored Listing: 1994 Suzuki GSXR-1100

Featured Listing – 1995 Yamaha GTS 1000 Euro Edition

Featured Listing: 1984 Honda CX650 Turbo!

If you are a skilled track rider there are four big-displacement racers, from classic to modern –

Featured Listing: 1991 Yamaha OW01 FZR750R Race Bike

Featured Listing: 2004 Moto Guzzi MGS-01 Corsa

Featured Listing: 2000 Ducati 748RS track bike

Featured Listing: Honest-to-God 2012 Suter BMW MotoGP bike

The 1990’s were a sweet sportbike spot, and we have four currently –

Sponsored Listing: 1990 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

Sponsored Listing: 1991 Bimota YB10 Dieci for Sale

Featured Listing: 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000

Featured Listing: 1990 Yamaha FZR750R OW01

The rest are a little of this and a little of that, or more accurately a lot of this and a lot of that –

Like a naked 2003 Yamaha R1 –

Featured Listing – 2003 Yamaha FZ1 with just 661 Miles !

Here’s Honda’s own winning V-twin, the 2005 RC51 SP2 –

Featured Listing: 2005 Honda RC51 SP2

Or this stealthily accessorized Monster –

Featured Listing: 2006 Ducati Monster S2R 1000 build!

This ’06 SportClassic is a custom using the factory Paul Smart fairing –

Featured Listing – 2006 SportClassic 1000 with Paul Smart Fairing

From just last year, here’s a Kawasaki H2R with road registration –

Featured Listing: Street-Titled 2018 Kawasaki H2R for Sale

Also looking very ready for the track, this 2004 999R is an homologation special –

Featured Listing: 2004 Ducati 999R FILA

We had two MH900E’s but one has sold.  This one has never been registered –

Featured Listing: 2001 Parking Space Odyssey – NEW 2001 Ducati MH900e

And our most recent feature is this ’08 1098S, fully decked out in carbon and billet aluminum –

Featured Listing: 2008 Ducati 1098S for Sale

When you’re not chipping the ice off something or throwing things at the weather broadcast, check the right column on RSBFS for our sponsors and friends’ latest features !  Spring is just around the corner…

Donn

Mid-Winter Roundup of Featured Listings
Moto Guzzi February 11, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing: 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000

Update 2.11.2019: Now on eBay. Good luck to buyers and seller. Links updated. -dc

We are lucky at RSBFS to be helping to offer this gorgeous 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000 after a 15-year stay in a private collection. Though collection dwelling generally means a bike has sat long-term, this Goose shows 32,000 miles on the clock, which means it has been ridden and loved as much as it has been preserved.

1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona for sale on eBay

The Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000 was not really built to win races itself, but to celebrate Guzzi’s victories in a spate of endurance contests in the 1980s, and to show off the Italian firm’s ability to engineer and execute a jewel of a motorcycle from somewhat unlikely sources. The bike was designed by dentist-turned-privateer racer John Wittner, and was powered by a very tweaked version of Guzzi’s enormous longitudinal high-cam v-twin. Tweaks included bigger jugs and a longer stroke, which helped the mill push out 95 horses.

From the seller:

1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000 $14,995 (32K miles)

First time ever offered via the web, this has been in a private collection for the past 15 plus years, never seen rain. Custom rear cowl and paint scheme, the wheels have been redone in gold to match. Stunning spotless example of this Italian beast, Termignoni Carbon pipes makes great deep thumper noise from the motor and fuel injection tubes.
MG Daytona 1000
Claimed power: 95hp @ 8,000rpm
Top speed: 145mph
Engine: 992cc air-cooled high-cam 8-valve 90-degree V-twin
Weight: 451lb (dry)

After his team of modified Moto Guzzis won the 1984 and 1985 U.S. Endurance Championship and the 1987 Pro Twins series, U.S. Moto Guzzi guru Dr. John Wittner was made an offer he couldn’t refuse. Summoned to Italy by Guzzi godfather Alejandro de Tomaso, Wittner, a former dentist turned endurance racer, was asked to help develop a new world-beating superbike. Guzzi revealed a prototype at the 1989 Milan show and named it for the famous Florida circuit (where they won the 250-mile endurance race in 1985), but in typical Italian fashion it took until late 1991 for the Daytona to go into production.
Although the hot rod Daytona engine was based around the classic “big block” air-cooled Moto Guzzi transverse V-twin, in the end it retained only the crankshaft and crankcases of the standard engine. Using the 78mm stroke of the 948cc Le Mans 1000 combined with new plated alloy cylinders with a 90mm bore, it displaced 992cc. A bright red sport fairing melded into the gas tank just above the Daytona’s all-new cylinder heads, grandly marked “OHC 4V” for overhead camshaft 4-valve. In truth, the cams were carried high in the cylinder heads, not on top, so the engine could also be considered a high-cam design overhead valve.
From the crankshaft, a reduction gear train drove a pair of toothed belts, each spinning a single camshaft in each cylinder head, which in turn opened four valves via short pushrods operating rocker shafts. Fueling was by Weber-Marelli electronic injection, and the exhaust system was in stainless steel. The engine drove a revised version of the 5-speed transmission used on most Guzzi twins through a beefed-up clutch (with 10 springs versus eight) and a driveshaft to the rear wheel.

The powertrain hung from a new spine frame based on Dr. John’s race bike design, constructed from 1.5mm chrome-moly tubing with a cantilevered rear swingarm and a fully adjustable Koni (later WP) monoshock under the seat. Marzocchi supplied the “conventional” three-way adjustable fork, and Brembo four-pot calipers with 300mm dual discs (two-pot/260mm rear) provided stopping power. Cast alloy 17-inch wheels ran on 120-section front and 160-section rear tires.

With a claimed 95 horsepower available at 8,000rpm, the Daytona was the most powerful road-going Guzzi to date, returning a top speed of 145mph. “The result is excellent rideability, with big-time low-end and midrange power available whenever you open the throttle,” Cycle World said of the big twin in 1993. On the road, they found that being long and low in Guzzi tradition gave the Daytona reassuring stability at high speeds: “The Daytona proved unflappable, with well-damped suspension, plenty of cornering clearance, premium tires and a relatively flickable yet very stable nature.” You will not see another one anytime soon. Be different and add this thumper to your collection. This investment will only increase over time.

Contact the seller here: sennaducati79@gmail.com

Though the performance is more than enough for mortals, the Daytona 1000’s real claim to fame is its scarcity, build quality and looks. It is a true gentleman’s road racer, made more for comfortable canyon carving than dicing at the sharp end of a club race. The previous owners of this machine clearly took that mandate to heart, given the beast the exercise it deserves.

Despite its mileage, the thing looks absolutely mint, with nary a blemish, nick or streak of grime. The rear cowl wears custom livery, and the wheels have been painted gold to match the accents. That might deter the hardest-core originality freaks, but we love the look. With pedigree, acres of charm and tons of special bits, this thing is not to be missed at $14,995. Contact the seller here: sennaducati79@gmail.com

Featured Listing: 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000
Moto Guzzi January 26, 2019 posted by

Italian Oddity: 1987 Moto Guzzi V65 Lario for Sale

Even if you’re an Italian bike fan, this one might have flown under your radar. But that’s what we do here at RareSportbikesforSale.com: let you know that interesting bikes like the Moto Guzzi V65 Lario exist. I especially love 80s Moto Guzzis because they’re generally pretty durable and very affordable. They won’t set the world on fire with their performance, but they’re quirky, stylish, and pretty good handlers, if you allow for the fact that it’s a 32 year old motorcycle on 16″ wheels.

The bike could work up a decent turn of speed, with 60hp and a five-speed gearbox that meant the bike could do an honest 110+ with good handling for the time. Oddly, Moto Guzzi’s 643cc “middleweight” was a more mechanically sophisticated machine than their big Le Mans. It was still air-cooled, but had four-valve Heron-style heads, with the four valves operated by pushrods and rockers, similar to the setup used in the later four-valve Daytona. Heron heads, if you’re not familiar, have flat surfaces instead of domed or hemispheric combustion chambers, with recesses cut for valves and spark plugs. Instead, Heron-head engines generally use dished-top pistons to allow room for the fuel/air charge. This means the heads are easier to produce, and Heron heads have been used in a number of automotive applications, including Jaguar’s V12.

Unfortunately, the 4-valve “small block” Guzzis have a reputation for catastrophic failures. Digging around the Guzzi forums, the problem likely stemmed [ahem] from the two-piece valves that tended to fracture, although the cam and valve springs have also been blamed. Who knows? You might get lucky and the bike will be fine, or a combination of softer valve springs, a set of Suzuki 250N valves, and careful use might see you through, but… caveat emptor.

Hopefully by now that’s either been an issue and rectified, or never will be a problem, but I do get a bit nervous when I see a low-mileage example come up for sale. Easy to check though, with those cylinder heads sticking out proud of the bodywork like that, and the owner may be aware of them being checked recently or repaired. Bottom line: if you buy one, try out the updated valves and springs recommended by the Guzzi message boards and ride it with your fingers crossed until it breaks, then see about finding a two-valve engine from a different model. I believe the 750cc Nevada engine is a popular choice for this, if you can find one.

I love the huge, white-faced Veglia tachometer on a bike that probably doesn’t even need a tach, the padded “safety” dash, and the button key. If you’ve never seen an original Guzzi key from the era, the fob basically folds over once the key is in place, forming a sort of knob you turn to switch on the ignition [see above]. Bodywork is swoopy and very 80s, but will provoke questions wherever you go. First and most common: “Moto Guzzi? Who makes that?”

This isn’t pristine, but is in very nice condition and should make a great, quirky weekend ride if you want something interesting and don’t have a ton of cash to splash. If you’re looking for a budget classic, the V35 and V50 are obviously not as fast, but sweet-handling and much more reliable. All-in-all, it’s a funky little bike, but there are reasons they don’t go for very much and have low miles. If you like to tinker, it might be worth a shot.

From the original eBay listing: 1987 Moto Guzzi V65 Lario for Sale

I bought this bike in 1993 and I am the second owner. Very low miles always starts up no problem, idle is a little rough when cold but fine when warmed up, carb balance is difficult to maintain on these even with the right tools. Previous owner had megaphones on it and said he had changed jets to suit, I put the original exhausts back on and messed with jets but couldn’t find any better set up than what it has now, it runs great accelerates very well  and it is pretty fast for an old 650.

The only issues I have had are leaking fuel lines and carb/intake connections, all of which have been replaced.

There are a few cosmetic issues that I tried to show in the photos, mainly with cheap plastic and paint. The fairing has a crack across it which has been repaired with a fiberglass patch across the back leaving a small step, this could be buffed and painted but the crack is only visible from the underside. The belly fairing also has a stress crack down the front; nothing has been done to it. Some of the engine paint is peeling under the carbs due to the fuel leaks and on the bevel gear housing; the front forks have a few scratches due to tag stickers and their removal. Some of the red wheel paint is flaking but this is an easy fix.

The air cleaner box has been removed and K&N filters installed and the seat replaced with a Corbin single. The only other mod was to replace the remote choke lever assembly with individual carb mounted levers. I have the remote assembly.

It has the original tool kit, a few spares, including the megaphones, at least two keys and a clear title.

I can deliver to a shipping point within 50 miles of Columbia SC.

The price is right, the bike is funky, and it makes Italian v-twin noises, although there’s more sound than fury. The biggest limiting factor could be the 16″ wheels: rear tires are particularly hard to find in the correct sizes, and some of the bigger Guzzis suffered handling issues when fitted with the smaller hoop. They look a little strange too. 18″ wheels supposedly fixed the bigger Gooses, so maybe that’s an option here, if you don’t like the way the Lario goes around corners. Parts may also be hard to come by, although these days you can probably get used bits from Europe via eBay.

-tad

Italian Oddity: 1987 Moto Guzzi V65 Lario for Sale
Moto Guzzi January 18, 2019 posted by

The Manly Ride: 1978 Moto Guzzi Le Mans

My knowledge of French comes courtesy of car manufacturer Renault (pronounced Run-Not) who marketed Le Car in the 1970s. It came with Le Tires, Le Hubcaps, and Le tiny little motor. But it was, according to Renault, a car. Popular Mechanics dubbed it a French VW Rabbit, low on style but practical and useful. Thankfully the Italians speak foreign languages better than we Yanks. And in Italian, Le Mans is not merely The Men, but rather a reference to a popular French vacation locale along the Sarthe river. Oh, and also the name of a pretty famous racetrack known for endurance competition. And unlike Le Car, the Le Mans is high on style, while still offering practicality and performance. Today’s find is a first generation 850cc example in Le Euro trim.

1978 Moto Guzzi Le Mans for sale on eBay

The Moto Guzzi Le Mans was introduced in 1976. Today we think of these as Gen I machines, however there was no such official nomenclature for the original release; that came with the introduction of the Gen II design. There were two different builds of this model, referred to as Series One and Series Two. The Series One bikes were the first (approximately) 2,000 examples, and the most rare. The Series Two bikes had some minor cosmetic changes (different seat, rectangular tail light, black fork sliders, etc), and numbered approximately 4,000. Either way you look at it, the first generation of the Le Mans is relatively rare today – especially one wearing original patina and remaining relatively stock.

From the seller:
1978 Moto Guzzi Lemans euro. I’ve owned and cared for this bike since early 2001.

It started it’s life in London,England, was moved to Los Angeles, where i purchased it, and now lives in Ohio where i now work. I have a bit of paperwork on the provenance of the bike. This Moto Guzzi is a very low mileage bike that is all original except for raask period rearsets and side covers. I have the original foam seat, front turn signals, and one of the original sidecovers. The right side cover was lost 20 years ago on a freeway. All of these items are included and in excellent condition.

The aftermarket seat was an item I purchased from Italy 15 years ago. It has proved to be a good looking, functional piece for this bike. This Guzzi runs like a freight train, like original, unmolested lemans should. Only Guzzi and Ducati savvy mechanics have touched this bike it’s whole life.

The euro models have non matching frame and engine numbers, all can be traced, and a short headlight frame, and no bright orange fairing paint job. This bike has an excellent original patina, no crashes, dents, etc. Engine is very tight, with only some minor weep dusting at the back. Makes you wonder why people ever had to restore these bikes. All gauges, electrical work as expected.

These early Moto Guzzis can be thought of as very similar to air-head era BMWs. The hardware layout of air-cooled twin with longitudinal crank, pushrod two-valve heads, inline transmission and shaft drive is the same – if you bent the Beemer’s cylinders upwards 45 degrees per side. Brakes on both are Brembos. Swap the Bing carbs for Dellortos and you have Le Guzzi! Blip the throttle and the torque roll is the same between the Italian and German machine. So too is the driveshaft reaction that causes the rear of the bike to raise under throttle, and drop when the throttle is cut. But resemblances end there. Unlike the Teutonic autobhan stormer, the Le Mans is just so, well, Italian. The Le Mans looks faster, offers a reasonably stout 80 HP thanks to high compression pistons, and offers the immutable “cafe racer” look before that look was a collector thing.

This particular bike started life across the pond, but now lives in the US. As a result it wears some cosmetic differences compared to officially imported examples. The owner(s) have also made some mods, all which look to be non destructive. The black side covers look period correct, but the originals were color coded to the bike (fun fact: not all Le Mans models were red/black). So this is not perfectly original as if it were parked in a museum since Day 1 – but you should age this well. At 41 years new, this bike is just hitting its mechanical stride, and is perfect for a rider. Prices are always hot for pre-80s Guzzis, and this one is starting right at the five figure territory (with no takers as of yet). Check it out here, and then hit the Comments for a compare and contrast: How do you take your vintage Guzzi? Would you prefer a plain V7, or the Le Mans? Let us know, and Le Good Luck!!

MI

The Manly Ride:  1978 Moto Guzzi Le Mans