1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe Racer for Sale

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe L Side

Now here’s a bike you don’t see every day: a “loop-framed” Moto Guzzi cafe racer. If something looks a bit different about this particular Guzzi custom, it’s because it was built from the earlier V700 touring model, rather than the more sporting models that featured the later, Lino Tonti-developed frame from the V7 Sport.

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe L Side Dash

Prior to the Sport, v-twin Guzzis were employed extensively by police and military organizations, in addition to the public, but saw little use on the race track as they were tall and relatively heavy. While the origin of the V700 powertrain was a very odd light military tractor, it was simple, durable, and powerful, with shaft drive and a simple pushrod valvetrain. The longitudinal engine configuration in v-twin Guzzis does lead to some “torque-reaction” where the motor twists along the axis of crankshaft rotation when revved, but it’s mostly a characterful difference and has little impact on performance.

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe L Rear Suspension

Most cafe Guzzis are derived from the Tonti-framed T-series machines: they’re relatively cheap and plentiful. The new arrangement moved the alternator from the top of the crankcase to the front of the engine and set the powertrain in a brand new frame designed with a low center of gravity. This particular machine goes for a more classic look [excepting the tail section] by using the earlier model.

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe R Tail

From the original eBay listing: 1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe Racer for Sale

Rebuilt motor and lowered front end by Guzzi Classics in Signal Hills CA.
Powder coated frame and parts.
Custom seat with integrated led light, flashing brake led lights.
New front brake pads rears are good, Duralast Extreme Battery, Bosch Coil and new wiring.
Runs great and sounds amazing!! Tons of torque and Great handling. Everything is in great working order
Suspension   Front: Adjustable Gsx R front fork with hydraulic damping
Rear: Swing-arm with 2 V-Rod hydraulic shock absorbers

The result here is definitely less sleek than the usual Guzzi custom, but has a more traditional style: the term “cafe racer” gets thrown around these days to describe any old garage-built sportbike with clip ons, rearsets, and a set of megaphones.  But this one is much closer to the real look and style of all those Tritons and home-brew road-racers that really best embody the era.

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe Head

Compared to other classic bikes, maintenance on a Guzzi is a snap: gust look at those cylinder heads sticking out in the breeze! Now picture how easy it would be to adjust the valves. And when time comes to lube the chain… Wait: there is no chain! While shaft drive is intrinsically heavier than a chain, loop-frame Guzzis can be made to handle. Just check out this clip of Japanese shop Ritmo Sereno’s loop-frame custom out on the track.

The value of classic Guzzis begin to increase, and now is you chance to grab one before prices climb out of reach. While a more original example might make better sense in terms of value, you certainly won’t find a bike that will better express your desire to stand out in a crowd.

-tad

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe R Side

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5 Responses

  1. Bill Richards says:

    An interesting mix, but in my opinion it simply doesn’t work. The modern tail section looks more like something off a ’90s Japanese sport bike and the front end is just completely wrong. Even the wheels don’t match! It clearly takes more than a set of dropped ‘bars and some exhaust pipe wrap to make a decent cafe racer!

  2. I suspect that’s a perfectly stock motor within all that fancy cladding. This is my big-boned girlfriend in a track suit; totally hot, but fit only for a race to the bedroom.

  3. Tom Hal says:

    This looks like an interesting start to an unfinished idea. The mix of modern front-end brakes and tail section. Clean untouched motor I assume. Or you would have mentioned it.
    Megaphones! Really?
    Only leads me to ask the obvious question on everyone’s mind. What were you thinking?

  4. tad says:

    Tom: I agree with you. I like the IDEA of improved braking, but not sure this was the way to go about it. I’d assume this was either a bike he had or one that was a basket case, since it makes much more sense to start with a T3 if you want to build a cafe Guzzi: already lower and sportier, dual-disc front brakes, etc. Still, was cool to see someone build the V700 into something unusual!

    Paul: yeah, every custom I see, regardless of the wheel/tire/suspension combo they use, seems to mention the handling. But I’m not sure what sort of criteria they’re using. Just because the bike doesn’t try to throw you into a hedge every time you lean it into a bend doesn’t mean the handling is good… Although Cycle Garden is a pretty reputable Guzzi specialist, so maybe the unusual mix does work!

    Bill: I don’t mind the mismatched wheels all that much, although the rear could be painted so it’s not so obvious. And I’d change the tail too, since it seems to work against the classic 60’s style the tank and frame evoke so well.

  5. Aaron says:

    I can’t help but weighing in on this. The negatives have been stated and are fairly obvious. On the positive side, I’m glad to see that someone is trying something new with the loop-frame Guzzis. There are so many of them around that I don’t really see the harm in it. This pushes others to think about what these Ambo/Eldos can become. So maybe it’s a bit of a miss. I’m sure the owner is thrilled with it, and perhaps somebody out there has been inspired…