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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

1 Comment

  • eBay shows sold for a mere $6,328. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

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