1975 Moto Guzzi 850T for Sale
Italian bikes are lauded for their style, performance, and handling, but often derided for being fickle and unreliable mistresses. This particular machine flies in the face of conventional wisdom: it’s dependable, and not particularly good-looking.
The T3 is really the Italian equivalent of the so-called Universal Japanese Motorcycle or “UJM”. A UJM from the 70’s or 80’s follows an unofficial template: they’re unfaired, with upright ergonomics and dual shocks. They are powered by air-cooled, in-line four with solid, usable performance.
Guzzi’s 850T is a versatile machine: it’s not a sportbike, but it handles. It’s not a touring bike, but is comfortable and economical. Not a cruiser, but it’s classy and practical around town. The T is a do-anything machine: not spectacular at any one thing, but pretty darn good at everything.
Except possibly stopping: the early T-series bikes had only a single disc and caliper at the front, so braking power and feel were not ideal. The later T3 bikes rectified this with a dual-disc front end and Guzzi’s simple, but very effective linked braking system.
The T3 is based around the famous Lino Tonti-designed frame and 850cc Guzzi vee-twin, but with lower specification than found in the V7 or Le Mans. With 9.5:1 compression, the bike pumped out 53bhp at 6000rpm. Not spectacular, but those specifications don’t really highlight the fat chunk of torque the rider can use to sling the bike lazily down the road for hours on end.
If the bike has a shortcoming, aside from the brakes of the early models, it’s the bland looks. You could easily miss the funky, sticky-outy cylinders of the longitudinally-mounted Guzzi twin, get lost in the muddy brown paint [factory color!] and think you were looking at some other old, washed out, brown 70’s bike. But you’d be missing out.
The original eBay listing is fairly spare, but it seems like there’s really not much to say about this bike: it’s an original 850T, with original paint. It’s been maintained and the only flaw listed is “a dent in the speedo bezel.”
Mick Walker’s Illustrated Moto Guzzi Buyer’s Guide describes the bike as being “practical, rather than glamorous- for riding, not posing.”
For those curious about the quirky, tractor-like machines from Mandello del Lario, this could be a very practical, affordable entry into the cult of Moto Guzzi or the vintage biking scene in general. Or you could buy it, find a pattern LeMans or V7 Sport tank, bars and seat, upgrade the brakes, and build yourself a budget 70’s superbike, since those bike use the exact same frame…