Moto Guzzi’s LeMans I is one of my all time favorite motorcycles: the low, lean and muscular silhouette, bulging cylinders, and period-skinny tires make a powerful impression. Throw in stable handling and famous durability, and you have a bike that can be showcased in your living room or do double-duty as a weekend touring machine.
The LeMans was designed to be Guzzi’s sporting standard bearer in the late 1970’s big bore bike wars. The famous Tonti frame was so effective, Guzzi used it well into the modern era: it allowed the motor to be set very low for good handling and aggressive looks, and detachable lower frame rails made major maintenance relatively straightforward for such a compact machine.
Unfortunately, the ubiquity of this frame and widespread availability of parts means that it is relatively easy to faithfully “recreate” these iconic machines. In fact, as prices on original machines rise, it becomes even more important to do your research before shelling out big bucks on a real LeMans.
This particular machine looks great, but is a bit of a question mark. The seller mentions it is a LeMans, but is it a Mark I or MarkII/CX1000? 1978 brought on a redesign of the bike to update styling and address some of the original bike’s shortcomings, but many of the later bikes have been retrofitted to match the earlier, more popular style.
This one’s VIN does not appear to fit into the Mark I’s VIN number range: VE11111 to VE13040 [per Mick Walker’s Illustrated Moto Guzzi Buyer’s Guide], and the black fork legs should belong to the later model, although the brakes are in front of the fork legs, not behind them as on the Mark II/CX1000. In addition, the red frame and silver paint combo, while very attractive, was not available on the Mark I from the factory. The Mark I came in bright red, with a very few ice blue and white models making their way to the US [all with black frames], so this bike has very likely been repainted at some point.
From the original eBay listing: 1978 Moto Guzzi LeMans for Sale.
Always garage kept. Just had the tranny spring replaced as well as the tires, battery, fluids, and brake pads. Carbs were rebuilt and was told the clutch looks good. This machine sounds like no other bike on the road. Runs good and pulls like a train. This use to be my only bike but now is 1 of a few and it deserves to be ridden not just admired. That’s where you come in. Have been asked over the years to sell her but now is the time. The Bad is that while attempting to bleed the brakes 2 of the bleeders snapped off. I do not have the tools to undertake this task. If you know a mechanic they have the correct tools for the job.
In any event, questions about originality aside, this looks to be a great looking, well-maintained machine with low mileage. Assuming the bidding doesn’t get out of hand, this might be the perfect way to get into classic Guzzi ownership.
This one might be flying under most everyone’s radar, since it is listed on eBay under “Other Makes” instead of “Moto Guzzi.” And while this might suggest that the seller is inexpert when it comes to selling bikes on eBay, it looks like the bike being sold is pretty well put together.
The original listing includes the following upgrades and repairs: 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale
This Moto Guzzi was found in the back of a garage in Newton, Mass. 70% disassembled. According to the 87 year old widow it was left there by her son some 35 years ago. 100% of the original bikes parts were there, however, not all parts survived the long storage. 80% of the parts were restorable and used. The following are the parts that were replaced with new and or changed:
Twin disc front brakes from 1976 850T3- fork sliders, calipers, rotors, wheel hub, master cylinder
“B10″ cam shaft
30mm PHF pumper carbs and intake manifolds
Started, light and signal switched
All new cables, hoses, seals, and gaskets
Complete valve job with new valves and guides
The exhaust system was powder coated because the chrome was so bad it could not be restored.
The gas tank, side storage boxes, and seat are all original and show normal wear and tear. The frame was powder coated and all other non-coated parts were either replated or polished. Wheels were completely cleaned and polished including the brass spoke nipples.
The longitudinal V-twins from Manello get covered on this site regularly, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with this iconic machine: the V7 Sport was really ground zero for Guzzi’s long-running line of V-twin sportbikes. It combined the rugged, long-legged engine, five-speed transmission, and shaft-drive from the V700 with a frame that set the powertrain lower for a better center of gravity, allowing stable, if not particularly agile handling. This frame proved so simple and effective it survived well into the modern age.
The Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, known for its green or red frame, with the engine flying out from under the tank. This 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport may not have the green or red frame, but the engine is there, and trying to climb up, around the gas tank just like it should.
From the seller
I’ve owned my Moto Guzzi since spring of 1989. At that time it had about 18,000 miles and in 24 years it is now up to 43,212 original miles. This is a classic Euro-sport bike built in the “cafe racer” style of that era. Guzzi shipped about 700 of these V7 Sports to the states between 1970 thru 1974. They are quite rare and desirable. In great condition with original chrome, I painted the tank and side cases in the original fire-red color about ten years ago. The vinyl seat cover was replaced several years back and could probably stand to be replaced again in a year or two.
First offered up in 1970 the 748cc twin Dell’orto fed V-Twin (?) would produce 52bhp at 6300rpm. These horses were directed to the rear wheel with a shaft drive, turning first through a 5 speed gear box. But the game changer for the new Guzzi is the low frame, designed by Lino Tonti, which included a pair of diagonally matched top rails running between the cylinder heads.
More from the seller
The 90 degree, 53 hp air cooled, 2-valve 4-stroke v-twin engine has plenty of torque and emits a marvelous sound. The 5 gallon tank will ensure you will be riding all day. The shaft drive will keep your pants clean. Also, I installed an electronic ignition point-eliminator kit. The distributor is still there but disconnected. Two years ago I installed a new electric wiring harness, clutch cable and brake cables, and battery. I haven’t driven it much the past few years since I acquired a much newer BMW. Engine and frame numbers are matching 03378, built by Seimm-MotoGuzzi Co. in Mandello Lario, Italy in July 1973 and stamped as a 1974 model. I have a Xeroxed and bound copy of the original shop manual. The bike never had turn signals when I got it, but was originally wired to have them. All kinds of parts are available and my personal favorite source is Harper’s in Greenwood, Missouri. Would the Guzzi company place this V7 Sport onto the floor of their museum? Unlikely. This bike has not been restored to every specific detail that a meticulous restoration would demand. Take it as far as you want… but it wouldn’t take a whole lot to fine tune the appearance to that exactitude. The bike is meant to be driven by a caring individual that knows this machine is 40 years old this July. I’ve had it on several long rides before, but these days I would rather stay in Santa Fe and the surrounding area. Much like leading a precious puppy on a leash… the Guzzi is a constant recipient of praise, wide smiles and thumbs up… all of it offered by grown men who display a visceral reaction to seeing such a fine old bike that reminds them of their youth
Yes the V7 Sport is known for the red or green frame, but not everyone wants to scream visually as well as audibly as the go down the road. This 1974 V7 Sport has a black frame, red tin’s and a 4 leading front brake. A $20,000 starting bid may not be in line with the black frame, but it also is described as a well put together rider. BB
My unofficial Guzzi Week continues with a machine that’s pretty rare, at least in the USA. I love the idea of small exotics from manufacturers with a serious racing pedigree: in most cases MV Agusta, Ducati, and Moto Guzzi were active in all levels of racing, not just the big-bore classes. And the idea of a scaled-down sports machine is appealing, although it’s clear from the photos that it probably helps if you’re a scaled-down rider as well…
Interestingly, this little, sporty-looking vintage machine was not designed as a small-displacement track-terror endurance racer. It was intended to be simple, durable transportation for the masses: a painless to buy, easy to maintain everymachine. That being said: Italians seem to be largely unable to keep from infusing even their most pedestrian models with passion and sporting feel, and this is no exception. The Stornello Sport’s 123.175cc motor put 8.5hp wide spread of usable power through a four-speed gearbox. In addition to a 20% increase in power, the Sport model also featured a racing seat, low bars, cut-down fenders, lightweight wheels, and slightly increased fuel capacity.
Take a look here for the original eBay listing: 1960 Moto Guzzi Stornello Sport for Sale.
“This bike is immaculate! Never down, no tip overs . . . No stories! It is in perfect running condition. It needs nothing. You will not be disappointed.
It is also Moto Giro eligible and still has the last Giro sticker on headlight lens. As a testament to its mechanical condition, this Sport finished 1st in it’s class in the Arizona Moto Giro 2011, and 3rd in it’s class in the California Moto Giro 2011. It also won 2nd place in the Concurs d’Elegance in Huntington Beach California 2011 before being retired to a leisurely life tooling around my neighborhood. Always stored inside. This is probably the cleanest and nicest Stornello Sport in the United States. It could be put in a museum as it sits. You will have a smile from ear to ear, and people will gather around to ogle this beauty where ever you park on your pub runs. This is a rare opportunity to own a vintage piece of Italian heritage. I have priced this motorcycle to sell quickly to the discriminating buyer who wants only the best. Clear title in hand and registered in Oklahoma in my name.
Engine and frame all matching numbers. Restored in California to near show room condition. 230 total miles since restoration. The only flaw on this bike are a few tiny spots on the chrome muffler. Hardly noticeable. Suitable for daily riding around the city or to display in your motorcycle shop or private collection. Over $14,000 spent in restoration with many new hard to find parts ordered from Italy.”
I’ve no idea what the real value of this bike is: they’re not rare at all in Europe, but are pretty uncommon here in the states, especially in this condition. And its age and displacement make it eligible for MotoGiro events, so this might be a classy way to get into the vintage bike community!
I love older Moto Guzzi sportbikes. Okay, I like pretty much all Guzzis really: cruise-y Eldorados and Ambassadors, jack-of-all-trade-y T3’s, thumpy old, externally flywheel-d Falcones. But I obviously have a special place in my heart for the sporty V7’s and LeMans bikes. Big, thumping V-twins, long, low looks, stable handling, and bags of personality.
But unlike many famous and desirable vintage machines, the classic Guzzi’s aren’t fragile: their clunky, tractor-like character means they eat up the miles with gusto, and most have racked up some pretty serious miles, by classic-bike standards.
But not this one. 1978 Moto Guzzi LeMans for Sale
According to the seller, this machine has less than 2,800 miles on it from new, and it sounds like he knows his Guzzis:
Check this boy out! I bought this bike from a seller that wanted to refuse delivery after it was paid for because he found out I was putting new tires on it at the dealer that handled the sale for him. He had owned it since 1992 and put not one mile on it. Seems he couldn’t believe I would ride this piece of history. He didn’t. The milage at my purchase was exactly what it had been at his over 15 years earlier. I still have the factory tires that I took off with 2300 miles on them (included). They look new but of course are suited only for display or trash. This bike is totally original and has never been apart. The front brake master cylinder was replaced at the dealer correctly, just before I bought it. I have ownership and service docs from new. The front fender and cowl were repainted in my custody after an enclosed trailer incident (stupid me) scratched them. Perfect undetectable match. Every other bit of finish is factory. It starts and runs beautifully and everything works as it should. I have put about 400 miles on it mostly 10-12 at a time except for a Bear Tooth turnaround (~200). It is quite exceptional as a rider. Light and much quicker steering than Guzzis are typically credited for. Great brakes and actually about the best shifting Guzzi trans I have ridden. That may not be saying much but as tractor like as they often are I think shift quality varies and is a matter of the luck of assembly at the factory that day. At any rate this one is good (I have had quite a number of Guzzis) and certainly better than any of the BMW airhead rock crushers of the day. I have misc odds and ends as well as the tires, docs from new, and the original seat. The seats were one piece of cast rubber with the finish actually in the casting. This one is cracked across just between the rider and passenger seat. I think this was typical. The seat on it is genuine leather and quite nice in comfort and appearance. The boys at MG Cycle have new repops just like the original. I guess if you are collecting you want to call MG. If you are riding you will like this one.
Interestingly, the owner claims the bike has “lighter and much quicker steering than Guzzis are typically credited for.” You’d think it would, considering the bicycle-skinny tires fitted to this classic superbike! I’d read an article in Bike magazine once that old Guzzi’s, owing to their relaxed steering geometry and long wheelbase, “turn like a plank in a swimming pool.” Obviously, these things are relative, and what turns more sharply than a modern 600cc sportbike they were likely using as a benchmark, anyway?
Bidding’s up over $11,000 with a few days to go. This one sounds like a great collector, although it’s hard to tell from the pretty limited photos…
I love Guzzis, but I think I’d just find myself a solid T3 and turn it into a V7 replica to ride the wheels off of: this is one for the collectors out there, since it seems a shame to rack up miles on it.
The LeMans III was the second reworking of Guzzi’s big-bore café racer, and featured more than mere cosmetic updates to the now long-in-the-tooth machine. This was the first generation to feature revised squared-off cylinder heads, improved breathing, and much closer production tolerances that resulted in slightly increased power, in spite of a reduced compression ratio.
The style was 80’s-angular, with a wind-tunnel designed fairing that supposedly produced actual aerodynamic effect and a huge, rubber dash to bounce your chin off of in the unfortunate event of a crash. This machine has had that retro-cool, wind-cheating feature removed and now sports a simple, round light in front of that instrument cluster.
The original eBay listing has a ton of clearly written information about the bike and its history, which is always hugely appreciated and clearly indicates the character of both bike and owner. He’s a little gruff, but knows what he’s talking about and this is the kind of guy I’d want to buy from.
He’s also got a ton of cool bits and pieces, enough to build a second bike, it sounds like. LeMans III’s aren’t really hitting their stride yet, in terms of collectability, so the starting bid seems like it might be a little ambitious. I happen to like this bike very much, but I think he might be aiming a bit high: it’s well cared-for, but also well-used and not in original condition, although many of the mechanical mods seem very practical and are very much in character with the bike.
One of my favorite bits from the original ad describes the very unusual wheels:
“The wheels are modified by Kosman Engineering. Kosman TIG welded two “split rim” style wheels after narrowing the original rim center. The new wheels are flawlessly built, as straight as can be <within .002″ TIR, better than factory>, and by choice, as wide a possible. In addition to being designed to accept “tubeless tires”, I fitted the rims to the maximum available space between the swingarm on the rear, which is effectively a WM5 fitment, 4.312″ wide. The front wheel is of identical construction, but is a WM4, chosen to mount 130/70-18 and 120/80-18 tires, respectively. If you know the name “Kosman Engineering” you know it’s a very high quality product.”
He clearly knows his stuff, and makes a point of showing clear shots of the welded-up rims. Very cool bike, with some one-of-a-kind bits and pieces. I’d put the original square headlight and fairing back on and hit the road.
I think I actually beat Tad to this one! Jokes aside, the V7 Sport is a favorite around CSBFS for good reason. Not only were they stunning for their day, these Guzzi’s could achieve a top speed of 125mph while remaining relatively comfortable compared to many other Italian makes of the era.
quote from seller:
For your consideration is a very nice numbers matching 1973 V-7 sport the real deal! This bike came stateside from Haiku Hawaii where it was very corroded from the salt air and going to be used as a parts bike but I bought it and restored it over a period of 3 years finishing in 1995. The motor was torn down and the cylinders were Nicom plated and as I was going to reinstall the motor Frank Wedge put his Raceco built 998cc T-3 motor up for sale. Balanced,blueprinted,Killer Goose dual plug heads,roller tip rocker arms,timing gears 40mm carbs and a very light flywheel. I bought it and made a very fast Sport. I have owned a Lemans I and a Lemans III and this is the fastest and smoothest Guzzi I have ever ridden! The stock motor,carbs and flywheel are still on my bench and goes with the bike along with right hand shift frame rails and pedals. It is left hand shift now one up four down.It has 14331 miles on it since restored (new gauges).Lemans head pipes back to stock V-7 Sport crossover and mufflers. New V-7 sport headpipes included. Seat was made by Sargents with color matched pipeing,Blue dot tail light and blue dot H4 headlight.Relays to stock pill box headlight switch to keep up with the H4 bulb. Spade type fuse box. Comes with old parts shown in picture, Starter,relay etc.It does have an oil leak at the rear of the motor (marks it’s spot when parked on centerstand) No suprises ! I will not ship but can help load or you can ride it home and ship the motor and other parts. Title in hand for bike and a signed title copy by Frank Wedge for the motor. Reason for selling is I want a new California. Yes I’m Stupid and getting old
They say that you have to keep all the cloths in your closet because 30 years from now they will come back in style. This seems to have become true for motorcycles as well. Manufactures like Triumph and Moto Guzzi (and the Mini and VW Bug for cars) are pulling out there old motorcycles and using them as a style base for their new models. For those that have the original, like the future owner of this 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, they will look to be the smart ones for knowing what will be in style then and now.
From the seller
Available for your bidding consideration is this 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. Left side shift. Nominal opening bid, NO reserve auction. Stamped into the ID plate is Jun.1973 for the build month and 1973 for the model year. Frame serial number 033599 Engine serial number 033599 which matches the engine serial number. This low mileage bike is in very original condition, except for the carbs and air filters which were replaced by the previous owner in the late 1970s with Delorto PHF36 carbs, I believe the correct carbs are Delorto VHB30.The current owner purchased this bike in the mid 1980s, it was ridden for a few years and then placed in dry storage[20 plus years] till this last summer when he decided to sell it. I the seller [certified aircraft/automotive mechanic] have done all the mechanical work on this bike and am listing this bike for the owner/friend. The fuel tank interior has been extensively cleaned, no coating was applied. The carbs were cleaned and rebuilt with new carb kits and a new battery was installed. Initial run up showed the clutch to be not working correctly, resulting in clutch failure, so a whole new clutch has been installed. During this process other related parts were replaced[sourced from Cycle Gardens],including the following new parts, valve cover gaskets, engine oil pan gasket, engine rear main seal, transmission input and output seals, drive shaft universal joint support bearing, drive shaft swing arm boot, rear wheel bearing seals, and differential gasket, clutch discs 2ea.[bonded, not riveted]intermediate disc 1ea. and a set of new pressure plate springs.
Before the V7 Sport became the V7 Sport, Moto Guzzi had developed a 700cc bike in 1967, and called it the V7. It was the first of the Guzzi heavy weights and was a good cruiser. In 1971 and Lino Tonti creating a lower and better handling frame, the engine grew to 748cc and became the sporty bike it is. 2 30mm Dell’orto’s helped to generate 70hp at 6300 rpm and gave a top speed of 125mph. This V7 Sport has gone better with 36mm Dell’orto’s, upping to possibilities.
The seller goes on and on in a stream of consciences description of what has been done to this 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. There are also lots of pictures which give a very good idea of what you are bidding on. A well preserved, non green or red framed V7 which can take the new owner for a spin now. With that huge four leading shoe front brake, you will be able to take the bike up through the gears and then back down again. BB
When I first got into Motorcycles I didn’t care for the looks of the Moto Guzzi V-twin or the shaft drive. I didn’t discount them as a well made bike, just something I didn’t think I’d want to own. Then I saw this bike and read of it’s background and I am sold. The seller is very descriptive.
1976 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans 1 (engine #070695)
One of the classic Italian sport bikes.
First year of the 850 LeMans (with round CEV tail light)
I have owned the bike for the past 23 years having purchased it in October of 1989. During that time it has been maintained by well known and regarded east coast (CT) mechanic Phil Cheney (now at Max BMW in Ct.). The odometer shows 32,607 miles of which I put on approximately 4,000.
In 1995 I had the bike refreshed cosmetically, painting the frame, tank, fenders, fairing etc and the wheels were bead blasted and repainted as well. At the same time a dyna electronic ignition was added.
It has a couple of interesting parts:
1) it has the very rare straight cut close ratio gear set/transmission (#ZD26073)
2) it has a BUB exhaust (which has been jet hot coated and sounds incredible).
The tires have less than 50 miles on them and the rear shocks are new as well (Icons)
The bike is in generally excellent condition.
The warts ?
1) There is a dent in the bezel of the tachometer (it was there when i bought it) (see photo)
2) there is a small scratch on the right side of the tail section (see photo)
3) there are some minor scratches on the jet hot coating of the right exhaust where some boxes were set against the pipe while stored (the bike has never been down) (see photo)
4) The paint is flaking off of the 850 LeMans badging on the right side panel (see photo)
5) The metal on the some of the lines shows light rusting (see photos)
6) The seat is from a MK II and has been recovered in leather (on the bike when I bought it). Not really a wart as most of the original MK I seats cracked where the seat met the tank and have generally been replaced.
Also with the bike will come a complete set of workshop manuals as well as a Haynes manual.
Such a unique bike, with the injection molded seat looking part of the tank and the flat black pipes. It’s like they new exactly what people wanted and gave it to them. I could just look at it all day but if it were mine more time would be spend riding it I’m sure.
Happy Bidding! Click here.
Classic single-cylinder Moto Guzzis and the heritage they embody have largely been forgotten in the wake of their bigger, twin-cylinder descendents. And even those charismatic machines are often mistaken for some sort of unknown Harley-Davidson model: the little eagle on the tank certainly adds to the confusion.
But that eagle logo is in honor of Giovanni Ravelli, one of the trio of young, Italian aviators who planned to start Moto Guzzi while serving together during World War I. Ravelli was killed before the end of the war, but his surviving comrades founded the motorcycle company as planned and that company has been continuously producing machines ever since.
Bikes powered by the “horizontal single” found in this Falcone were successful road and race bikes. In addition to a casually reclining engine that accurately suggested the engine’s lazy power delivery, the machine was visually distinguished by its exposed flywheel: the gearbox arrangement did not allow for the flywheel to have sufficient mass and remain enclosed in the engine cases, so Guzzi hung the flywheel outside the cases, and the arrangement ended up looking like a giant deli meat-slicer.
The bike’s low-slung, horizontal engine meant that the center of gravity was very low and the machine had relatively small frontal area. This decreased drag and allowed the 500cc motor’s 23hp to push the bike to velocities normally unlikely for such a simple machine.
By the late 1950’s demand for the bike had tapered off significantly, so Guzzi discontinued sales of the bike to private owners, although a resurgence in interest caused them to reconsider just a few years later. This would have been one of the very last of the original Falcone’s built, as production finally ceased in 1967.
Find the original eBay listing here: 1967 Moto Guzzi Falcone 500cc Police Special
From the seller:
This bike was special made for Bob Blair who was the long time West Coast distributor for Moto Guzzi & Ducati. In 1966 Bob Blair and Michael Berliner who was the importer and East Coast distributor took a trip to the Moto Guzzi factory in Mandello Italy to see the new V700 twins on the assembly line. While at the factory Bob saw the last batch of exposed flywheel Falcone Police/Army bikes being made and wanted one. These bike normally came with Green paint for the Army and Blue with White forks for the Police. He asked that they build a special one for him with all red paint work. This is the bike Bob had made special for him and now its available for sale to a discriminating collector.The bike was shipped to Bob and was put on display in his showroom at ZDS Motors in Glendale California. The bike was on display for a year or so but never started or serviced until sold to the legendary collector O.H. Hood in Tulaire California. O.H. is a avid bike collector and had a very interesting way of adding to his collection. He would buy a new bike and ride it for exactly 600 miles and then put it in his collection and buy another bike. He had a great collection of bikes and they were all like new with each one only having 600 miles.I purchased this Falcone Police bike from O.H. in 2002 with only 600m (1000km) and have enjoyed riding it ever since. The only change I made was installing the better sounding fish tail muffler and the original Tourismo muffler goes with the bike. The bike runs and rides great with new tires. This bike has all original paint & pin striping, chrome, plating and a super rare working Police siren.
The seller has even helpfully included a short video of the bike being started:
So there you go: a very cool, one-of-a-kind vintage bike with unusual history. The price is listed as $18,500.00 which seems pretty reasonable, given the bike’s rarity and condition.
Update 10.25.2012: Sold for $15,500. -dc