There’s been a spate of very cool vintage Guzzis up on eBay recently. Most of these bikes were built as stylish, but dependable commuters, which makes them great as vintage rides, since they’re far less temperamental than might be expected from a classic Italian sportbike. They’re not highly-strung racing machines, although they are sporty and reward the rider with easily accessible performance.
Moto Guzzi’s Airone [“Heron”] was first introduced in 1939, but the Second World War interrupted production as Guzzi turned its attention to wartime manufacturing. Production of the Airone resumed after the war ended and the bike, with various improvements, was built until 1957!
In all forms, the 250cc engine was durable, refined, and smooth. Guzzi’s signature external “meat-slicer” flywheel allowed for proper rotational mass to provide that signature effortless torque and smoothness at all revs, but kept engine cases compact.
The Sport version for sale here was first available in 1949 and had what, at first, might appear to be only minor improvements in performance: 13hp versus 9.5hp and a 59mph top speed versus 73mph. But the Sport offers almost 35% increase in horsepower and a nearly 24% increase in top speed over the standard model!
From the original eBay listing: 1956 Moto Guzzi Airone for Sale
This is a very nice example of a Guzzi Airone Sport 250. The “Sport” version has considerably better performance than the more common “Turismo” model. It comes with aluminum rims, a lower handlebar, a forward facing foot brake and has the foot-pegs further back. The higher compression engine gives this cool bike fairly brisk performance.
250cc. Overhead valve 4 stroke. 4 speed. Good running and riding condition.
Older restoration still in very presentable condition with a few minor cosmetic flaws. New battery but runs on a magneto.
The fairly rare optional speedometer was added at a later date and reads 5513 kms but this is not the original mileage.
Clear California title in my name. Also comes with the original June 1956 Italian title showing ownership history for historical purposes.
You are welcome to visit in Tarzana (San Fernando Valley part of Los Angeles).
The Airone epitomizes Guzzis of this era, with a reputation for economy, reliability, and style with deceptive performance: the limits may not be especially high, but you can use all of the performance all of the time. This example is from near the very end of the Airone’s long production cycle and features a classic style with the expected refinement of a bike in production for nearly 20 years.
The Lodola [“Lark”] was yet another of Moto Guzzi’s practical, bird-themed motorcycles and was the very last machine designed by Carlo Guzzi himself. Although the seller refers to it as a “very nice example of [an] early 1960’s Italian motorcycle”, it was actually introduced in the mid 1950’s. First produced as a 175cc machine in 1956, it featured a chain-driven overhead cam with dry-sump lubrication and an engine canted forward at 45°.
This example is the later, 235cc “Gran Tourismo” version introduced in 1959 and sold through 1966. The larger version actually went from an overhead cam to pushrod actuation for the pair of valves, an interesting step backward in terms of specification. Overall, the machine was slightly slower than its more sophisticated older sibling, but had a much more flexible powerband suited to the bike’s plebeian intent. It was also produced in much greater numbers and proved to be a popular machine, with period reviews commenting on its civility, efficiency, and general competence.
From the original listing, translated from the ubiquitous eBay CAPITALESE: 1961 Moto Guzzi Lodola 235GT for Sale
A very nice original example of early 1960’s Italian motorcycle. It has some normal wear that you would expect from a 53 year old motorcycle but overall in great condition. It’s all there including the original key. It has a new silencer on it that is not the original but is the style of the original that came on it. There is a small dent on the tank and the inside is starting to develop a little surface rust that you can detect with your finger just inside the cap. I rode it for five years on weekends or just around town on local trips. It has been parked and covered for the past two years in a heated garage. It will start but the clutch plates have stuck together so that will need to be addressed by the purchaser. I am told this is a common problem that comes from the age of the motorcycle. It’s a great motorcycle to ride, very light and responsive. It has a great patina which kept me from doing a full resto on it as I thought it was just as nice the way it is. It does not smoke or knock when running, just the usual exhaust note of a single cylinder motor while running.
Photos in the listing aren’t the greatest, but it’s pretty clear what’s on offer here. It’s nice to see that, other than a couple years of sitting, it’s been well-used and enjoyed as Guzzi intended.
As with most of these small-displacement Italians, the Lodola was, excepting racing and offroad specials, a practical, stylish commuter bike that stressed efficiency and reliability. Anyone looking for something small and fun to add to their collection now can certainly appreciate these qualities, as parts for anything this old can be a bit of a problem and if you’re going on rides to nowhere for no good reason, it’s nice to know you aren’t wasting too much dinosaur juice doing it.
I have no space at the moment to add something like this to my garage and the roads near me aren’t really friendly to small motorcycles like the Lodola, but I hope that someday to own a fun little Italian single like this one.
It used to be that I wasn’t a fan of the Mark III LeMans, but it’s really grown on me: all origami angles and flat planes, and that white Veglia tach probably doesn’t hurt… And while red is obviously a classic choice for a classic Moto Guzzi, it looks very striking in white.
Classic 60’s and 70’s bikes have been popular for a while now, and it looks these 80’s machines will soon follow suit: Guzzi’s, BMW’s, and Ducati Pantahs all have the same sleek yet slab-sided styling and graphics that seemed designed to enhance the lines, instead of disguising them like they seem to do today.
The LeMans III was an evolution of Moto Guzzi’s sporting flagship. Made between 1981 and 1984 it was not a complete redesign of the LeMans, but was more than just a cosmetic make-over like the second-generation machine was. It featured a heavily updated engine with square, as opposed to the earlier round, cylinder heads and revised engine internals, along with aerodynamics shaped by Guzzi’s very own wind tunnel.
In addition, the dash was revised with a more modern look that placed a beautiful white-faced Veglia tach front and center, set into a spongy new dash that was advertised as a safety feature! Well I guess if you have to smack into a dash at speed, better it be made out of soft rubber than a sheet of metal… By the way: that small button-looking thing in the dash below the idiot lights is actually the key: the fob folds flat once it’s inserted. I know this because I lost the key to my buddy’s Moto Guzzi Lario and it had the same one…
From the original eBay listing: 1984 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans III for Sale
This is a near original LeMans III with 26,542 miles and in very good condition.
Runs and rides excellent.
Some additional features include:
Bar end mirrors
Cylinder head guards
K&N air filter
Stainless steel brake lines
It has a recent battery, good tires and has been recently serviced
Items to note
Fairing and some body panels were re-painted at some point and the white is slightly lighter than the original paint color.
This is ready to ride, increasingly rare, classic
Price for all classic Guzzis and LeMans models in particular are on the rise. This one is being advertised for just under $6,500 with less than a day to go. It’s been repainted per the listing, but looks to be in very nice condition and 26,000 miles is just broken in for a Guzzi. It may not have the classic café looks of the original LeMans, but the Mark III has a character all its own and take you down the road in style for many years to come.
Plus you get to have this conversation time and again:
“That’s a great bike. What is it?”
“It’s a Moto Guzzi.”
“Who makes that?”
It’s been a banner week for vintage Moto Guzzi fans… If you missed it, I posted up a 1934 Moto Guzzi 500S yesterday. Today’s Astore or “Goshawk” was an update of the GTV, itself a development of the 500S, and was followed by the iconic and long-lived Falcone.
The Astore was produced until 1953 and featured an aluminum alloy cylinder head and barrel, enclosed rockers, and improved brakes. Also, note the upside-down telescopic front forks: how advanced! Like all Guzzi big singles, they were low-revving, hugely torquey machines that provided very reliable, accessible performance.
From the original eBay listing: 1950 Moto Guzzi Astore for Sale
I purchased this Guzzi from the Estate of the gentleman who purchased the bike from George Disteel’s estate. Basically, George bought the bike (it entered CA in 1956 and the last registration expired in 1957), moth balled it – not sure if it was chicken coop or not, then the next guy bought it at the Disteel Estate Sale in 1978- and kept it is his large collection until I bought it from his Estate Sale about 5 years ago. At first, I was excited to do a full restoration of the bike since it is in such incredible original condition and complete. Then as I was reviewing the old paperwork, I recognized the name George Disteel and thought “isn’t that the guy who went crazy and squirreled away Vincent Black Shadows, Two Guzzi’s and an Aston Martin in Chicken Coops on property he owned on the North Coast of California? As it turned out it was, then I even found photos of this bike from that era (I’ve included one and also a photo of George Disteel).
I have another Astore, so I didn’t bother restoring this one, it really doesn’t need it and the history is much cooler to preserve (In my humble opinion).
Again, the bike is complete and Probably has next to zero miles on it, never been torn down. I listed 1000 miles as you must list some sort of mileage, but Guzzi’s didn’t start having Tach’s and Speedo’s until the 60’s so I have no idea. Based upon my knowledge of George Disteel and then the second owner, I really think this bike has not been ridden much if at all in it’s 60 or so years. I think it would love to be ridden though. Vintage Guzzi’s are pleasures to ride.
The seller mentions that “it would love to be ridden” but does not mention if it actually is rideable… The bike is cosmetically pretty rough as well: I personally prefer bikes and cars to be at least a little bit shiny, although I’m not a fan of overrestoring them. However, bikes in original condition are very desirable, and many would call for my head if I suggested a restoration of something in such original condition…
So I will not suggest that. As they say, “it’s only original once.”
At the very least, an old Guzzi should be made to run, so hopefully this one does, or can be made to do so without too much trouble.
Not much time left on the auction, so go take a look!
Most motorcycling fans who are familiar with Moto Guzzi at all will most likely picture one of their famous v-twins when they hear the name, although fans of this site may well conjure up the older “big single” bikes with their laid-over engines and shiny, external flywheels. For those relatively new to the marque, it’s important to remember that Guzzi is one of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers still in existence, with roots going back to 1921.
The original company founders actually served together during the First World War. Guzzi’s big single was the very first engine to power the bikes and was their mainstay until the introduction of the twin at the end of the 1960’s.
Two-valve street machines featured a one overhead, one side-valve arrangement, although pure racing machines used a variety of higher-performance configurations. Different frames were used through the period, although this one appears to have the rigid frame and a friction-damped girder fork. The GTS model featured a sprung frame for improved roadholding, although the more basic model was more popular with buyers.
If you’ve never seen a Guzzi big single: yes, that is the flywheel by the left footpeg: the exposed arrangement allowed the flywheel to have the correct mass while keeping the engine cases compact and light. In the left front shot of the engine, it’s also possible to see the exposed hairpin valve spring used for the exhaust valve. The inlet of earlier models used a coil spring, although 1934 saw the redesign of the engine to paired hairpin springs. I’m not sure which side of the redesign is actually from so, as always, comments from any experts out there are welcome in the comments.
From the original eBay listing: 1934 Moto Guzzi 500S for Sale
Beautiful 1934 Moto Guzzi 500S.
Was restored in the 70’s in Italy.
Then moved to Switzerland – Then I brought it to California 15 years ago.
Runs well and is complete.
**Mileage unknown due to no tach and speedo on Guzzi’s of this era.
Pictures at twilight [or dawn!] are great for moody atmosphere, but not so great for showing off the details of the bike being offered and a couple more shots in bright sunlight would have been appreciated. The listing is pretty spare, but I expect the owner assumes potential buyers are already knowledgeable. This bike has tons of lived-in patina but the paint is still very shiny, a very characterful combination.
This particular machine is the oldest Guzzi I’ve ever come across for sale, and looks a great opportunity to get your hands on such an old machine in good running condition
Unofficial Moto Guzzi week continues with this interesting example. Prior to the introduction of their v-twin, the Italian firm’s bread-and-butter was a line of big, lazy singles characterized by stump-pulling torque that made proper gear-selection an optional and generally unnecessary activity.
Built from 1969 to 1977 the Nuovo Falcone was designed as a follow up to the classic Falcone [“hawk”] and intended primarily for government consumption, although a civilian model was produced and many ex-government examples made their way to the private market. The original Falcone was beloved of police and military forces for its durable and extremely flexible powerplant that featured a horizontal, 500cc single cylinder engine and distinctive exposed flywheel. The horizontal layout led to good aerodynamics and a low center of gravity, and the exposed flywheel allowed for a lighter, more compact engine since the cases didn’t have to actually, you know: go around the flywheel. This also made sure that the inside of your left boot was buffed to a high sheen…
However, the newly designed machine featured an entirely new engine that seemed to lack the original’s incredible durability and suffered from some development issues that plagued it throughout it’s lifespan. It also didn’t have that really cool exposed flywheel/shoe buffer feature.
From the original eBay listing: 1970 Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone for sale
This is a nice example of a Nuovo Falcone. Was not sold in the U.S. but this motorcycle has been imported and has a valid US title. Been in a museum for close to ten years. Will need a battery. Absolutely a terrific Moto Guzzi. If you have any questions, please call Jim at 203-912-1104. The mileage is in KM.
As with any machine with “notorious” reliability issues, many have been fixed over time: substandard parts are replaced or upgraded, or a specific example just happens to work as intended. I don’t know what it would take to make this example into a solid, useable example, especially since it’s been sitting on display for a decade. The original Falcone was an ideal rideable classic, but this one may work best in its current role as a display machine, unless a new owner is ready to do significant work to make it road-worthy.
For those of you that think early experiments with automatic-transmission-equipped bikes began and ended with the Hondamatic, this one might be news for you. A relative sales flop at the time, the Guzzi V1000 Convert was an innovative achievement that never really found an audience.
Introduced in 1975, the Convert’s name refers to the Sachs torque converter sandwiched between the transmission and engine, that allowed the rider to choose their level of involvement: the bike retained a functional clutch lever and featured Guzzi’s effective linked brakes that had the foot pedal operating the rear disc and one of the front calipers, so you could conceivably ride it around using the twist grip to go and the foot pedal to stop under everything but panic-braking situations.
Note, the Convert still has a conventional clutch, although it’s not strictly necessary for operation, and a two-speed transmission, with the torque converter’s external fluid hoses the only visible clue that this machine can be “shiftless” on demand. With fewer ratios to choose from, displacement was increased to approximately 1000cc’s to maintain parity with the traditional 5-speed bikes, and this newer engine was eventually adopted across the board by Guzzi.
The Convert had a revised dash that included a battery of safety feature warning lights, including a low-fuel light linked to the fuel gauge and a low-brake fluid level warning light. In addition, deploying the side stand triggered mechanical activation of the rear brake caliper to aid in parking on inclined surfaces.
The bike apparently rides much like you’d expect: like a giant, throbbing, v-twin scooter. The torque-converter masks some vibration and a portion of Guzzi’s shaft-drive reaction. It is slightly slower than the standard machine, but performance is very much in keeping with the bike’s mission.
From the original eBay listing, helpfully translated from the BRIGHT BLUE, ALL CAPS TEXT: 1976 Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert for sale
Italian classic made by Moto Guzzi, Convert 1000, Italian and Los Angeles Police Dept, used these at one time. Dual carburetor, no leaks, dings, garaged, and in very good shape, bidders familiar with these bikes, know what a great bike this is. Feel free to do some research on these bikes and you will like what you see. Automatic, just 1st and 2nd gear. Drives with great ease. Hoping it goes to a great owner, have another Moto Guzzi original solo, and pinion seat that I will also send. Three owner manuals, tires and battery in excellent shape. Battery just 6 months old, fresh plugs, oil, filter, etc. Buyer is responsible for all shipping arrangements, I will assist in making sure it is picked up and shipped properly.
This one’s a bit hard to place, price-wise. Five days left, asking price just under $6,000 with no bids seems pretty on-the-nose for a classic Guzzi cruiser if it’s in good shape. But I’m not sure if the rarity of the automatic transmission really adds value or subtracts it. Maybe it’s a wash? Guzzis are made to be ridden, and this might make touring a bit easier for a rider looking for a more mellow experience due to age or injury, or someone who really just can’t be bothered with shifting. Hopefully, it will find the right buyer, as the set up does give you the best of both worlds: shifting when you want it, scooter-like simplicity when you don’t.
Well, here’s another Moto Guzzi T3 someone’s converted into a V7/LeMans clone. For the uninitiated: Guzzi’s famous v-twin started out powering a very strange Italian military tractor and that durable, slightly clunky durability translated strangely well into its new role as a sporty motorcycle powerplant. And stuffed into a lower, lighter frame, it made a pretty good motivator for a few genuine sportbikes as well.
As I’ve stated and restated ad nauseam, Guzzi’s vanilla-looking and relatively common 850T used the same basic engine and Lino Tonti-designed frame as the very sporting and practical V7 Sport and LeMans. All of the stuff to create one of these is available online, from V7 and LeMans pattern tanks and side panels, clip on bars, rearsets, and exhausts. And there are plenty of engine builders who can build you a fire-breathing Guzzi motor that will make that bum-stop saddle earn its keep.
From the original eBay listing: 1977 Moto Guzzi T3 V7/LeMans Clone for Sale
BASED ON A 1977 MOTO GUZZI 850 T3 THIS 850 SPORT/LEMANS CLONE. IS SUPER FUN BIKE TO RIDE. PULLS LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN GREAT EARLY PRODUCTION MATCHING #s 103002
A COSMETIC MAKE OVER STOCK ENGINE
- CORBIN SEAT (ugly came that way $170 to change the cover they said)
- TANK FENDERS & SIDE COVERS ALL HAVE FRESH PAINT
- FRAME PAINT IN A MATTE BLACK
- REBUILT DELLORTO 30MM VHB
- REBUILT TRANSMISSION (CHARLIE COLE)
- NEWER TIRES
- ALLOY BORRANI WHEELS
- STAINLESS SPOKES
- LOW MILES
- NEW BATTERY
- REBUILT FRONT 850 LEMANS 1 FORKS
- NEW PROGRESSIVE SHOCKS
- SCOTTS STEERING DAMPNER
- HIGH PERFORMANCE LAFRANCONIA EXHAUST SYSTEM
- TAROZZI REARS SETS right side has a small bend
- TAROZZI CLIP-ONS
- POLISHED V7 SPORT TREES
- REBUILT BREMBO BRAKE SYSTEM
- STAINLESS STEEL BRAKE LINES (UNLINKED)
This one is also done pretty nicely and features an upswept LaFranconi exhaust system that should give a bit more cornering-clearance than the classic “shark gill” mufflers from the V7, and the wire wheels are a great look.
There may be little too much red on this bike, though: I think maybe that rear-fender/taillight assembly could be easily be blacked-out or revised/removed. And the large red panels on the seat are not my taste. Black maybe with red stitching might be better and would be something easily fixed by the buyer, as mentioned in the listing. And those reflectors, while aiding safety, are also pretty clunky-looking. I think I’d probably add some mirrors and remove the reflectors creating a sort of “net safety wash…” Aside from the [probably very comfortable] Corbin seat and the aforementioned bits, I really like this bike.
While the T bikes are still pretty affordable, they’re starting to get rarer and prices are increasing… I really should scoop one up sooner rather than later I guess, before all the good ones are V7-ed or LeMans-ed…
Not much time left on this one, and with a starting bid of $5,900 it seems appropriately priced. Someone jump on it quick!
Moto Guzzi is known today for its long-legged and long-lived line of v-twin, shaft-drive machines. But before the introduction of their twin in the v700, Guzzi was famous for its successful line of horizontal singles. The Egretta [“Egret”] was a prewar model only made for two short years, and less than 800 were built before the improved Airone [“Heron”] superseded it. It lacked rear suspension and featured the 247cc single that would power the later Airone in various iterations until 1957!
Although later models with this engine did have more modern, enclosed valvetrain, this early version features an exposed rockers and hairpin springs that are clearly visible in a number of the photographs, as well as Guzzi’s signature “salami-slicer” external flywheel. The “horizontal” single allowed for a very low center of gravity and excellent airflow to cool the engine. The exposed flywheel allowed the correct mass for rideability and performance, while keeping weight of the engine case castings low.
From the original eBay listing: 1939 Moto Guzzi Egretta for Sale
This is a very special & very unique opportunity to own one of the rarest of the rare Moto Guzzi Vintage Classic Originals. Only made for TWO YEARS and only 784 EVER MADE, the pre-war 1939-1940 Egretta is the pièce de résistance for any Guzzi aficionado. It even has the original license plate!
This gem is about as original as I can describe…and as you know, a bike is ONLY ORIGINAL ONCE. There are some paint nicks all over and some very minor dings on the mudguards, but the tank is straight. The chrome and paint are obviously 85 years old but remarkably intact for being that old. Previous owners have tried to cover up some nicks with paint here and there.
There is nothing like riding a motorbike this old and this Egretta runs well. However, don’t plan on breaking any speed records.
As the listing mentions, you may not be winning any top-speed contests on this, but the Guzzi’s famous flexibility should make it fun to ride within its modest limits: the singles were famous for their roadholding and locomotive torque, which made them competitive on both road and track. They can chug happily along in top gear at nearly any speed, making gear selection virtually superfluous.
If you’re looking for something very rare for your collection in original condition, this might be your ride.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.