1978 Moto Guzzi LeMans for Sale
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.