Tagged: Zigolo

1956 Moto Guzzi Zigolo for Sale

1956 Moto Guzzi Zigolo R Side

Moto Guzzi traditionally named their small-displacement bikes after small birds, in this case the bunting, a colorful little thing that looks like this:


It was launched in 1953 and featured a 98cc completely square 50mm x 50mm bore and stroke put a mere 4bhp through a three speed box, but it made up for a lack of outright power by being highly flexible, reliable, and economical, injecting a bit of style and class into the budget-minded small-bore class.

1956 Moto Guzzi Zigolo Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1956 Moto Guzzi Zigolo for Sale

It is un restored, unmolested, and as far as I can tell 100% original.  It has been sponge cleaned.  Ride or display.  I have not started it.  The brakes work (albeit not as you would expect from a modern bike), the throttle grip turns, and it turns over.  The electrical wires are in place but disconnected in order to ship from Italy.  I have not started it.

Tires are holding air, are not significantly dry rotted.  I imagine the speedometer reading is wrong but it is titled and registered with that reading.  It has been stored and parked in the US inside and under cover, mostly in a living room.

It has some of the patina and dings of a 57 year old motorcycle, but in good non abused condition.  No seat tears (very minor, small tuft seen in photo, size of a 12 font O).  Inside tank seems fine.  It is a clean and rust free example with all the original bits, including an old satchel of tools.  I have the grab cable for passenger, not seen in photos.  This is the only part I am unclear if original from manufacturer.

1956 Moto Guzzi Zigolo Panel

The “Lusso” model like the one for sale was red, the standard model was a more subtle grey. Spares can be very difficult to find for these, and they’re certainly not capable of anything like modern, high-speed travel. But they’re charming and well-made, and would certainly be way more fun around town than a modern scooter…

1956 Moto Guzzi Zigolo Wheel

There’s very little time left on this auction, with very little interest so far, which seems a shame. Move quickly if you’ve got room in your garage for this little survivor and the skills to get it back on the road where it belongs.


1956 Moto Guzzi Zigolo Seat

1959 Moto Guzzi Zigolo for Sale

1959 Moto Guzzi Zigolo R Front

The Moto Guzzi Zigolo is really a “sportbike” only in a loose sense, but fun, frugal and hey, it’s a Guzzi.  The Zigolo was a small-displacement, two-stroke bike launched in 1953 as a follow up to the Guzzi’s “Guzzino 65” an extremely frugal machine that helped get Italians back on the road after WWII, with over 200,000 produced.  The Zigolo was a much more sophisticated machine: more “small motorcycle,” less “bicycle with a motor.”

1959 Moto Guzzi Zigolo dash

The seller has some good information about this model and this particular machine in his original eBay listing: 1959 Moto Guzzi Zigolo for Sale

My understanding is that the Zigolo was never officially imported and that consequently there are very few in the U.S. I mean very few like a dozen. Maybe some Guzzi expert will see this and shed some light; what I do know is that I’ve had it in a couple parts of the country and of all the hundreds of people – expert or otherwise – who just have to approach me every time I park it, no one has ever seen one in person, if at all. I’ve never cared about how rare it may or may not be, I just love the bike and have tried to honor it. I feel pretty safe in saying that, with a couple small exceptions, this is a 100% unmolested original. I replaced the tires, brake, throttle and clutch cables, all of which were basically unsafe when I bought it. I’m pretty sure the spark plug and wire have also been changed, but not by me. I think you should be able to see by the tire photos how many miles I’ve put on it. Of course you can’t be sure because there is obviously no odometer, but suffice to say not many.

1959 Moto Guzzi Zigolo dash plaque

As you may know, many of the Guzzi’s of this era were named after birds. Zigolo translates to Bunting, which is what you see where the speedometer would ordinarily be. I can tell you without hesitation that of the half-dozen or so vintage bikes I’ve owned, this is without question the most reliable. Even at times where it hasn’t been ridden for 6 months, it starts in about 6 kicks. Seriously. It’s hard not to wear a smile on this thing, but at 54 years-old and 98cc’s, you’re not going to be setting any speed records. I don’t really know what to tell you about it that you can’t generally see. It’s a pretty straightforward 2 stroke single and it runs like a top. It’s my belief that the seat will be structurally useable, but the upholstery is definitely shot. It has numbers on the frame and the engine, which match.

1959 Moto Guzzi Zigolo L side

The Zigolo had a horizontally mounted motor like it’s bigger, four-stroke brothers for a low center-of-gravity and good cooling, and put its modest power through a three-speed box, with top speed about 50mph.  It was lightweight, reliable and relatively fast for a machine of its class, with a powerband defined by a surprising flexibility.  In 1958, the Zigolo became first series production bike to use a chrome plated cylinder removing the need for a cast-iron liner.  With the revised motor, 100mpg was easily achievable.

The seller claims that these are extremely rare in the US.  Assuming you keep the limitations of a 1950’s 100cc motorcycle in mind, this is a very useable little bike: the Zigolo was designed as practical transport for the masses.  Parts availability may be an issue, but I doubt that many bikes this old don’t present at least some problems in this regard.

Plus: you’ll have a rare as all get-out bike with a tiny bird plaque instead of a speedometer!


1959 Moto Guzzi Zigolo R side engine