Posts by Category: Moto Guzzi

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
Moto Guzzi October 4, 2017 posted by

Featured Listing: 1981 Moto Guzzi LeMans II

The Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans II took the marque's sportiest offering from the '70s and updated its styling and technology for the new decade. What had been born in the mid-70s as the high-compression, big-carb version of Guzzi's familiar v-twin standard was updated with air-assisted forks, linked brakes and Nikasil cylinder walls.

The 850 LeMans II also got a new wind tunnel-tuned half fairing, that now encased a square headlight and integrated turn signals. Little else changed with the big Goose's styling, but the front-end revamp was striking enough to suggest this was a new machine.

The 850 LeMans II is fairly rare in this country, with the American market being saddled with the LeMans Mark II CX100 in this bike's stead. The CX100 punched the big vee out to 1,000 cc, but is generally considered the more ponderous and compromised of the two bikes, displacement notwithstanding.

This example gets ridden regularly in the spring and summer, according to the seller, though never in rain. It has covered just 11,000 miles in its 36 years, and is in impeccable shape. The paint and soft parts are not faded or damaged, though the bike does not look factory fresh.

From the seller:

The 1981 Moto Guzzi Le Mans II that you see in this ad is a bike as we understand it that was not generally imported into the United States. Most people are familiar with the Le Mans I 750 but many collectors here in the United States have not had the opportunity to see and ride a Le Mans II 850.

This 1981 Moto Guzzi Le Mans II is part of a very serious automotive and motorcycle collection in Chicagoland. The collection has many post war Italian highly collectible motorcyles from the 1970s and 1980s. The owner of the collection has said that all the Italian motorcycles sound and handle terrifically but the Le Mans II is superior in the handling to just about all the other Italian sport bikes. It not only sounds great but has that extra 100 cc over the Le Mans I that gives it a little more boost off the line and top end. And as the current owner says, “it just reads your mind” in terms of what you would like it to do in terms of handling.

This bike is kept on a trickle charger and is only filled with aviation fuel and currently has between 50 and 200 miles put on it per season. It is always available to be instantly started twelve months a year but of course is only taken out in summer months and never when it is wet.

The detailing and fit on this bike are exceptional and it is hard to find a single mark on the mufflers considering they are a flat black finish; they could easily be scuffed if somebody were neglecting total care of the bike but are still near perfect. This bike has been babied its entire life and is a very rare bike in the motorcycle collecting world and deserves the continuing care that it has had over the last 36 years. The owner does want the bike to go to a good home and if you are interested in talking further about it, call 847-668-2004 cell from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CST we would be happy to discuss details and price. An extremely rare piece of history.

To get your hands on this piece of rare and collectible Italian motorcycling history, reach out to the seller at the above number or by email: adreply514@gmail.com

Featured Listing: 1981 Moto Guzzi LeMans II
Moto Guzzi October 3, 2017 posted by

Flawed Masterpiece: 1955 Moto Guzzi 8C “Otto Cilindri” for Sale

Fans of modern machinery may not understand how Moto Guzzi, with their clunky driveshafts and pushrod v-twins, is allowed even a grudging membership to the sportbike club. Of course, a look back a bit further shows Guzzi was very successful in a variety of racing classes throughout the 40s and 50s. But they wanted to play in the premiere 500cc Grand Prix class with Gilera and MV Agusta, both of whom used inline fours as the basis for their race winning machines. Guzzi knew that, in order to compete without years of development, they needed to try something new that would increase power without increasing weight, and they did it with the "Otto Cilindri." Long and low, with a period "dustbin" fairing that made it look like a wheeled torpedo, the bike was as terrifying for riders as it was for the opposition.

The brand new 500cc Grand Prix machine was powered by a brand new V8 engine... Let's just stop there and let that sink in for a moment. A motorcycle. Powered by a 499cc V8. That's not a euphemism or a catchy name. That's "V8." As in "has eight cylinders." It also had four gear-driven overhead cams, eight Dell'Orto carburetors, liquid cooling, oil stored in the frame, and weighed in at 326 pounds with the full fairing in place. If this thing had actually finished a few more races, it'd be in the pantheon of all-time greats. Unfortunately, that's why this bike is a glorious footnote, instead of an unforgettable masterpiece.

The main issue was that the 78hp produced by the ferocious engine was too much for the tire and suspension technology of the time. The bike was capable of very nearly 180mph, but period testing and races were plagued by crashes, with riders eventually refusing to pilot it until it stopped trying to actively kill them. Which is saying something, since basically the entire sport of motorcycle racing was trying to kill riders during this period. Handling was likely compromised by the engine being set too far back in the frame. This was common practice at the time, ostensibly to increase traction at the rear, but put too little weight on the front for stability and handling. Mechanical failures didn't help: the bikes overheated and broke cranks with alarming regularity.

The Otto Cilindri was terrifyingly fast, even considering the mechanical and handling problems: it actually finished fourth and fifth at the 1957 Isle of Man TT, with the fourth-place bike running on 7 cylinders. Considering the ambition of the project, the reliability and handling challenges are no surprise and it is likely that, with time, the bike would have realized its full potential. Unfortunately, Moto Guzzi pulled out of Grand Prix racing in 1957, so this project will always be more of an interesting "what if."

From the original eBay listing: 1955 Moto Guzzi 8C for Sale

Moto Guzzi 8C "Continuation"

Model year 1955

Rare opportunity to acquire one of only 7 "continuation" built in 2001 by Todaro/Frigerio from original Moto Guzzi Factory drawings.
This is the last built, fitted with ORIGINAL crankshaft, pistons and timing gear.

Fully working.

 

Parade race and collect.

Bike is currently located in Italy, 33080 Roveredo in Piano, but i can get them delivered all around World at cost, no problem.

Hat tip to Odd-Bike, where I originally saw this bike posted. Just a handful of the V8 race bikes were ever built, and only two of those remain. But in the early 2000 a small run of seven "continuation" models were built to the original's exact specifications, including the magnesium engine cases and brake drums, although the continuation bikes will likely benefit from improvements in metallurgy. Note that the seller claims this is "fully working" which means that, not only is this a historical artifact, it's also an actual, rideable motorcycle. I'd bet this is one of the rarest, most exotic and historic machines we've ever featured on this site, although it's a bit older than our usual focus. Just how incredible this engine was in concept and execution is beyond the scope of this post or my limited engineering knowledge, but if you've never heard of this thing, it's worth checking out additional sources.

-tad

Flawed Masterpiece: 1955 Moto Guzzi 8C “Otto Cilindri” for Sale
Moto Guzzi October 1, 2017 posted by

Sunday Goose: 2000 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport for Sale

It's a shame we'll probably never see a modern Moto Guzzi sportbike, since they've been nominated official "heritage brand" for the Piaggio Group. Especially disappointing, since Guzzi was active and successful in a variety of racing classes up into the 1970s. Guzzi even had a modern superbike in the works intended to compete head-to-head with the 916. This new superbike engine kept the longitudinal v-twin, but used a narrower angle between the cylinder heads for more cornering clearance, liquid-cooling, four valves, and even chain drive. Until things change, we're got  this roadster V11 Sport as the sportiest production Guzzi of the modern era.

Tractor jokes aside, bikes like this V11 Sport were a definite step in the right direction after the charming, but very agricultural Sport 1100 that dabbled in modernity after the very long-in-the-tooth Le Mans series and the retro 1000S. It still used the company's torquey, two-valve and air-cooled twin, here displacing 1064cc and producing a respectable 91hp. After years stuck with a clunky five-speed box, the V11 introduced a much more modern, smooth-shifting six-speed that, although hampered a bit by the intertia of the shaft drive, could even be upshifted clutchlessly.

Handling and balance were good, although obviously it wasn't as light as naked offerings from Ducati. Considering that it's nearly 550lbs ready-to-roll with a full tank of fuel on board, the V11 Sport isn't a hard core sportbike and wasn't pretending to be. It was a sporty roadster meant to evoke Guzzi's history while simultaneously hinting at a future that would unfortunately never arrive.

From the original eBay listing: 2000 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport for Sale

Very fine V11 Sport dressed in the stunning green with red frame. I am the second owner. I purchased the bike from a older gentleman who had put very few miles (1600) on the bike. I haven't done much better as my riding miles are spread between a number of bikes. Machine is in stock form except for the carbon fiber mufflers (beautiful music), CRG barend mirrors, headlight protector, and Ventura tail pack. Tail pack is simply removed by two screws as is very handy for day trips. 

Headlight rim and front brake lever have small rash spots due to tip-over.

A friend of mine bought one of these off eBay, without ever having actually seen one in person.

After winning the auction, he asked me, "It's not really that green right? That's just the photos?"

"No man," I said. "It really is that green..."

It's a shockingly vivid color, but it suits the bike. Certainly kids seem to love it, and they always wave when he passes cars, and point excitedly. He still has it, and loves it. The V11 Sport was also available in a subtle silver or a sleek black, but this color combination, meant to evoke the original, extremely rare "teliao rosso" version of the early 70s V7 Sport, is the one I'd have, hands down. Think of it a safety feature. With prices of the older Sport 1100 and Daytona variants on the rise, the V11 is the only game in town if you want an affordable, collectible Guzzi. It's definitely a quirky machine, but if you're looking for something odd and charismatic that can also cut a rug and comes with the trademark Guzzi boom, this is worth a look.

-tad

Sunday Goose: 2000 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport for Sale