Tagged: Monza

Good Things in Small Packages: 1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza L Side

Although styled to match their bigger siblings, Moto Guzzi’s V35 and V50 models shared few mechanical components and, in some ways, were more refined, sophisticated machines. They shared the longitudinal engine configuration and shaft-drive with the bigger bikes, but used unconventional “Heron” -style heads that improve both manufacturing and combustion efficiency.

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza R Front

Heron heads have been used by Jaguar, Ford, and Volvo and were used extensively by Moto Morini. Basically, the surface of a Heron-style head is flat, instead of domed, with valves running parallel to each other instead of angled. Combustion then occurs in the top of the dished piston top and has advantages in terms of fuel economy. The simplified design means manufacturing costs are significantly lowered.

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza L Front

The V50 put out 45hp which is certainly enough to have some fun with, especially when combined with the bike’s light weight, strong brakes, and generally excellent handling. The shaft drive is also reportedly less pronounced than on larger models, perhaps because the smaller bike’s drivetrain contains less rotating mass.

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza Dash

Introduced in the late 1970’s, the V35 and V50 were primarily intended for the European market, where taxes and fuel prices are generally much higher than here in the US. But some of the littler Guzzi’s did make it over here and although they are rare, often show up in surprisingly good condition. Although I’ve never seen one quite this nice…

From the original eBay listing: 1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza for Sale

Very rare bike in the US and seldom seen for sale at all, much less in this condition. I rode this bike around the hills of North Carolina and Tennessee for a few years after I bought it, and enjoyed every mile. I then treated it to a complete frame off, full nut and bolt cosmetic restoration to the highest standards. The bike was originally red, but was changed to the gorgeous silver-blue as sold in Europe. The list of NOS parts used was very extensive and cost many thousands of dollars. The only changes from stock are a DynaTech electronic ignition and a pair of rearview mirrors that are much superior to the stock ones. While these bikes maintain the wonderful good looks of the 1000cc LeMans, they are extremely light and nimble at only 350 pounds, and must be experienced on a twisty road to fully appreciate their capabilities. A factory service manual and parts book is included with this sale.

The bike is fully sorted and needs nothing to enjoy as is. With that said, there is one issue that bears mention. It has what I consider to be an inordinate amount of noise in the primary drive. I have asked other Guzzi owners’ opinion on this, and they say it is normal for the model. The noise is reduced significantly when the clutch is pulled in, so if it is out of the ordinary I really don’t know what to blame for it. I have reduced the price $1000 from what I feel is a fair value on this bike to accommodate this issue. 

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza Engine Detail

I’m curious about that noise the seller mentions. Guzzis use an automotive-style dry clutch that naturally makes more noise than an oil-bath clutch and certainly would be quieter once the clutch was pulled in. Without hearing it, or knowing the seller’s experience with other Guzzi models, it’s hard to say, but considering the work that’s gone into this, I think it’s worth taking a chance on.

While this certainly isn’t the fastest classic Guzzi around, I think it’s a great-looking bike, and it’s much more nimble than you might expect, given its chunky looks and that shaft drive. If you’re looking for something weird, collectible, fun, and relatively inexpensive, this little Monza would make an excellent choice.


1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza R Side

1966 Ducati Monza 250 for Sale

1966 Ducati Monza 250 R Front

Of of the most interesting things about classic, as opposed to modern sporting motorcycles is the wide selection of configurations and displacements. In this age and in this country, where anything less than a 1000 cc’s is a “learner-bike”, it’s fascinating to see highly developed, very sporting machines with displacements as small as this. Quality engineering and jewel-like construction don’t always go hand-in-hand with more frugal, smaller-engined bikes today, but were common on bantam-weight machines in the 50’s and 60’s. Just take a look at the towershafts and on this 1966 Ducati 250 Monza!

1966 Ducati Monza 250 R Engine

Ducati’s 250 single found its way into a variety of different bikes, including standard Dianas, the off-road Scrambler, and the sportier Monzas. Producing 20hp and able to push the bike to a top speed north of 80mph, the bike was no performance slouch and the 250 was one of the fastest machines in its class at the time.

1966 Ducati Monza 250 L Tank

Unfortunately for this beautiful machine, the post is pretty spare in terms of detail, although the photographs are pretty nice. From the original eBay listing: 1966 Ducati Monza 250 for Sale

I have restored this bike about 5 years ago.  It was a low mileage bike with only 4,632 original miles as seen on the speedo.  I did put aluminum ridge rims with new stainless spokes and tires.  I had someone rebuild the motor and carb.  All the cables are new.  I put a  new tachometer on it and recovered the seat.  I replated all the chrome and all the cad hardware  I polished all the aluminum and had a friend paint the bike.  It looks beautiful in the sun.  Everything works on this bike.  The only thing I never got around to is getting a title so you need to get one.

1966 Ducati Monza 250 Headlight

While the seller may not be great at describing his bike, it seems he knows what he’s about and this Ducati looks to be in very nice, although not completely original shape.

1966 Ducati Monza 250 Dash

Obviously, “restored” will never be as valuable as “original”, but when these get found as abandoned wrecks, there’s often little choice. I’m not sure how this one looked before he got started, but that period-correct paint scheme is gorgeous! The pipes don’t look stock and I’d be looking to replace them with something more original, or something simpler if I couldn’t find or afford the original, cigar-shaped items. But that gorgeous Veglia tach makes those pipes forgivable: I’d actually buy a classic Ducati, Laverda, Guzzi, or Benelli, just so I could have an excuse to fit one.


1966 Ducati Monza 250 L Rear

1981 Moto Guzzi Monza for Sale with 99 Original Miles?!

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza R Rear

Moto Guzzi is famous for its big, agricultural v-twin machines.  But in the late 1970’s, they introduced their smaller displacement alternatives to the bigger sport and touring machines.  Although big bikes have always been popular in America, where motorcycles are often a luxury purchase, Europeans often find smaller bikes appealing, owing to sometimes high taxes on big bikes and the extremely high cost of fuel.

The little Guzzi’s never sold very well here and are correspondingly rare now.  They’re neat little machines, well-finished adult bikes, not the cheap, plastic learners and commuters we often get as small-displacement bikes here in the states.

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza R Side

These little 350cc and 500cc [and later 650cc] Guzzis are styled like their big siblings, but share virtually no significant parts with them.  The big twins are very conventional in design, but the small Guzzis feature relatively unusual “Heron” style heads that improved economy and simplified manufacturing.

The V50 Monza was a true sportbike, just one with a fairly small engine.  45bhp isn’t all that much to play with, but the bike is relatively light, handling is excellent, braking very good, and the shaft drive very un-agricultural…

From the original eBay listing: 1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza for Sale

Up for auction is this practically fresh from crate 1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza with fewer than 100 miles on her.  The original owner purchased this bike from his local dealer in June of 1981. Yet after just a few enjoyable outings on his new Guzzi, he was diagnosed with an illness that kept him from riding.

He held onto the bike hoping to one day be able to enjoy it. Thus, it was kept with fresh fuel, a battery tender attached and on special lift so the tires would not touch the garage floor…

Just this year I acquired the Monza, turned on the fuel, the choke and the key, pressed the starter and she fired up immediately. After a warm up on the stand, I changed what looked like brand new oil. Since, I have topped up the tires, and changed out the brake fluid. A quick detail has been given to the bike and I have ridden it about 10 miles.

I believe this Monza is as nice and close to uncrated condition, without being restored, as you will find anywhere in the world.

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza Dash

This bike presents us with a dilemma: the little Guzzis are great, affordable and stylish machines that happen to be great motorcycles to put miles on.  So when you’ve got one with so few, it seems a shame to destroy the originality by riding it.

But what else do you do with such a fun little machine?


1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza R Front


1967 Ducati 250 Monza

For Sale: 1967 Ducati 250 Monza

With all of the modern sportbikes and racebikes coming out of the Ducati factory these days, it is sometimes difficult to remember that Ducati started out building average commuter bikes of very small displacement. When the factory took those bikes racing in the lower classes (125cc, for example), it was discovered that RPM was limited by valve float. Thus, Ducati designers and engineers looked to methods other than springs to close valves, and adopted the desmo system: rockers open AND close the valves. The result was a several thousand RPM improvement to the rev range of the motor and the bottom end bearings became the limiting factor.

Desmo actuation first showed up on the 125cc racebikes, before making it into production. As Ducati began branching out from a commercial perspective, larger motorcycles were needed. Thus, the 250cc was born. Again, Ducati first tested new engine combinations on the track before introducing them into production – first as a 200cc and then as a 250cc. These larger bikes were used to expand the Ducati brand beyond Italian boarders, with the UK being a prime target. And while 250 Monzas are not desmo engines (valves are closed by regular springs), they represent part of Ducati’s expansion into larger, more fertile markets.

From the seller:
1967 Ducati Monza
A rare barn-find in rural Illinois and restored to near mint condition, this early Ducati exeplifies the simple design elegance that has become a Ducati trademark. Speedometer reads 416 miles, but we are unsure if that is actual. Very original right down to the “Brevetti Silentium” muffler. Some light pitting can be found on the chrome due to storage humidity, but overall, this is as close to a factory stock bike as you are likely to find.

While no collector would ever store one of his prized motorcycles in a dank, dusty barn, the term “barn find” excites the senses all the same. The idea that an original, unmolested motorcycle from the 1960s might still be around today hidden away drives the collector market forward. Had this been a green frame 750ss then you might have been able to read about the find in the Wall Street Journal. As it is a 250 Monza, however, it becomes a very unique and interesting find that mere mortals can afford.

The 250 class of machines, with an air cooled single cylinder motor and bevel drive non-desmo valve gear, would be a wonderful runner around town. It is historically significant although not terribly rare in terms of production numbers. And let’s face it: this bike certainly has the “cool” factor that even the cafe racer crowd would acknowledge.

The price on this bike is $5,500 or best offer. There might be an opportunity to snag what appears to be an original Monza for a pretty fair price! For your opportunity to see more pictures and learn more about this particular bike, click on the link and jump over to the auction. Good Luck!