Tagged: Falcone

Big Beautiful Single: 1957 Moto Guzzi Falcone Sport for Sale

1957 Moto Guzzi Falcone R Side

It’s been a while since we’ve posted up one of the elegantly simple Guzzi singles, so when I came across this classic Falcone, I thought it was high time we went old school. Or, well even older school… This 1957 Falcone is a pretty late version of their classic horizontal single that offered a winning combination of practicality, handling, and good looks. Gone are the earlier bikes’ exposed hairpin valves, which is a shame for the appearance, but likely a great idea for riders who plan to use their bikes: with that head so close to the ground and to the front wheel, you’ve got to figure grit and grime are a real pain for regular users. And make no mistake: these were definitely meant to be ridden.

1957 Moto Guzzi Falcone Engine

With a very low center of gravity, small frontal area, and a huge external flywheel that allowed the bike to lope along at tractor-like rpms, the Falcone was nimble, durable, flexible, and handled well. With a seemingly inadequate 23hp produced by the 500cc engine, it’s the bike’s locomotive torque that allowed the bike to lope on up to an 85mph top speed, a very respectable speed for a single-cylinder motorcycle!

1957 Moto Guzzi Falcone Headlight

This example is in excellent condition cosmetically and is obviously a runner, my very favorite kind of bike.

From the original eBay listing: 1957 Moto Guzzi Falcone Sport for Sale

Show or ride, low miles .

This bike starts easy, runs great, drives straight , stops well, looks great. Has won shows! Belonged to two very discerning  collectors G. Webster and B. Melvin. They don’t come much better than this! The price is  a bargain for the quality of the Machine. $22,000. 

The bike has been thru an extensive restoration previous to my ownership. Since I bought it I have driven it some and sorted it well. Its a beautiful show bike that you can ride to the show. I have a Large collection of bikes and have been buying them and selling them for over 50 Years. For the last 20 Years I have had an interest in owning a Moto Guzzi Falcone Sport and I have looked at a lot of them, before I found one in this condition. If there are nicer ones, they may not be for sale, because I have seen few nicer than this one. Is it perfect, probably not. Truth is I have never seen or owned that perfect dream bike. There is always something. But I think most of you will find it near that mark. There is nothing significant that I have seen wrong with it.

Oh just remembered, one of the tool box covers has a latch that sometimes doesn’t lock well. Needs an adjustment.

1957 Moto Guzzi Falcone Engine2

Oh noes! The tool box cover latch isn’t working all that well! Well forget it, then… With a $22,000 Buy it Now price, the seller is obviously asking premium money for this bike, but you’re unlikely to find an example that both looks this good and runs as well as this one is supposed to run. It’s not clear if this one’s been restored or not but, given the condition, I’ll assume it has at least been repainted.

It’s a shame that Guzzi’s current owners over at the Piaggio Group have decided that the big Italian twins will forever fill the retro niche, since Aprilia is clearly intended to be their flagship sporting brand. But that’s a shame, because Moto Guzzi has such a history making sports motorcycles, and that legacy will remain unfulfilled for the foreseeable future.


1957 Moto Guzzi Falcone L Side


1954 Moto Guzzi Falcone for Sale

1954 Moto Guzzi Falcone R Side

If you’re only cursorily familiar with Moto Guzzi, it’s likely you associate them primarily with their iconic v-twin, which is odd, considering that, for so much of their history is steeped in the big, thumping singles like this Moto Guzzi Falcone.

Motorcycle manufacturers become victims of their own success: introduce a successful model, and you’re forever trapped in that mould, forced to include features, technologies, or a specific engine configuration long after it is useless as anything other than a character trait.

And forget the truth of history: most buyers have some vague idea of “heritage” but don’t really know all that much about the marques they’ve chosen as extensions of themselves: Italian bike buyers have so long had to justify the higher prices their machines commanded and their perceived unreliability, that they’re surprisingly conservative when it comes to change, and you risk upsetting the apple cart if you, say, radically restyle your iconic superbike, even if the actual machine performs better in almost every way.

When Moto Guzzi was working on a modern superbike back in the 90’s, the designs that were leaked featured modern, four-valve heads, liquid cooling… and a v-twin with a longitudinal crankshaft. Yeah, it was going to be 75° instead of the traditional 90° and it was going to feature chain drive to the rear wheel. But the main goal in choosing that configuration seemed to have been to keep the machine recognizably Guzzi, rather than for any real performance benefit.

1954 Moto Guzzi Falcone Dash1954 Moto Guzzi Falcone Rear

Produced from 1950 to 1963, the Falcone, or “Hawk” in Italian, followed Guzzi’s bird-name convention of the period. It featured telescopic forks and their famous “horizontal” single that allowed for good access to cooling airflow and a low center of gravity. The distinctive exposed flywheel kept engine castings light and compact, since they didn’t actually have to surround the spinning mass, while the flywheel itself remained heavy enough to smooth out the juddering power pulses of the big single and helped the bike pull cleanly from low revs. The low center of gravity made for excellent handling and the machine was famed for its smoothness, durability, simplicity, and high-quality construction.

From the original eBay listing: 1954 Moto Guzzi Falcone for Sale

For auction is my 1954 Falcone. This bike is a beautiful restored motorcycle about 13 years on the restoration. It has been garaged and covered with an occasional ride a couple times a year. It starts on the first kick. 3 days ago I took the pics and a running video that I can send you if interested. On start up the fuel petcocks were dripping. I drove it 5 miles and when I returned It had a bit of oil mist on the back fender. It did have a oil drip. It shifts and drives excellent. I have put around 100 miles on this bike during my ownership driving to local shows and meets.  It takes the show as the chrome work is flawless.  This motorcycle will be a very nice addition to any collection.

1954 Moto Guzzi Falcone L Front1954 Moto Guzzi Falcone R Rear

This one is not quite perfect perhaps, with a couple fluid drips but, looking at the miles, it’s clear that just means it actually gets ridden. There’s a pretty active community that adores these bikes, and parts are available to keep them running. And run they do: designed with locomotive torque in mind, they will basically pull from a walking pace in top gear with the engine turning over so slowly you can literally count the combustion events. Plus there’s the always amusing benefit of having your left boot tip polished to a mirror sheen by that exposed flywheel…


1970 Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone

1970 Moto Guzzi Falcone L Side

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.

1970 Moto Guzzi Falcone R Side Detail

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…

1970 Moto Guzzi Falcone Dash

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.

1970 Moto Guzzi Falcone L Side Detail

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.

1970 Moto Guzzi Falcone R Side Rear

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.


1970 Moto Guzzi Falcone L Side Tank Detail

1967 Moto Guzzi Falcone 500cc Police Special for Sale

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


For Sale: 1954 Moto Guzzi Falcone

One of my good friends has a late model Moto Guzzi: a V11.  The bike is bright green with a red frame, and about as Italian as it’s possible to be, with its sticky-outy cylinders, shaft drive and general weirdness.  But people see that little eagle on the tank and still ask him, “Is that a Harley?”

That little eagle on the tank 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 in the closing days of the conflict, but his surviving comrades founded the other company that uses an eagle in their iconography.

It’s tragic that a manufacturer as old and storied as Moto Guzzi could be so unknown here in the states.  You’d think that, with bikes like the El Dorado and Ambassador nearly out-Harleying Harley when it comes to mile-gobbling cruisers, they’d be a better remembered by the American public.  They were even used extensively by the Los Angeles Police Department for a time and feature in a number of 70’s films, including the Clint Eastwood film “Magnum Force.”

But, prior to the V-twin powered V7 of the late 60’s, Moto Guzzi was famous for its big singles.

For Sale: 1954 Moto Guzzi Falcone

Successful on the street and in racing, the “horizontal single” was a distinctive looking machine, with the barrel pointing forwards and a long, sleek silhouette.  The gearbox arrangement did not allow for a traditional flywheel to have sufficient mass, so Guzzi hung a flywheel outside the cases that looked for all the world like a giant deli meat-slicer.

The bike’s center of gravity was very low and the bike had relatively small frontal area, decreasing drag and allowing the 500cc motor’s 23hp to push the bike to surprising velocities. The engines typically have a very lazy character: you can just about count the combustion events at idle and they’ll just thump along for hours on end at the bike’s 85mph top speed.

Produced between 1950 and 1963, the Falcone is an iconic, much sought-after bike.

From the seller:

10 year old restoration.  AMCA judged in 01 as a J2. Probably under 20 miles since restored. A beautiful bike, the chrome in near-perfect shape. Paint is very nice.  It is a 1 kick start. I have owned for 4 years. It started to drip fuel last year on the tank to carb line, but I never replaced, just drained the tank.  It drips oil from behind the fly wheel. I dont know if this is normal or not. Purchased as an investment and planned to hold onto for more than 4 years however my circumstances have changed. Without doubt the most admired motorcycle that I have owned.

It’s a pretty nice, usable vintage bike that sounds to be in nice shape, barring a few minor leaks that one would expect from bike this age.  It’d also be a surprisingly classy way to buff your left shoe to a mirror-like shine.