Tagged: Custom

Tasteful Custom: 1973 Ducati 750GT Café Racer

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe R Side

Built around an early, very desirable “round-case” L-twin Ducati engine, this bike is based on a 750GT. As such, it does not use Ducati’s desmodromic valvetrain and makes do with simple springs instead. While that may not be as sexy to say as “Desmo”, it means that maintenance will be simplified, although the bevel-drive and tower-shaft arrangement still requires some expertise to set up correctly.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe Engine Detail

Although it’s obviously of questionable wisdom to modify such a valuable classic, most of the cosmetic modifications look like they could be easily reversed, if the new owner decides to sell, or decides that they prefer a more original style. It’s also nice to see that the engine build includes VeeTwo parts: they disappeared for a while, but it looks like this Australian company is back in business, making hot-rod parts for bevel and belt-drive Ducatis.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe Dash

It’s so easy to screw something like this up, just by adding a splash too much color, or the wrong color. But the builder of this bike went simple silver. Period-correct style or not, I’m not a fan of the “750” decal on the side panels, but that’s easy enough to fix. And that Grimeca front drum looks great, although no Ducati twin I know of ever used a front drum… Otherwise, it’s a very nicely turned-out special.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe Front Brake

From the original eBay listing: Custom 1973 Ducati 750GT  

Custom café racer in the spirit of the prototype

I bought this Ducati in 2005 in the current condition with 20,609 miles on the odometer. Previous owner started with a standard 750 GT and had it extensively customized. Here is his description of the work done:

With custom paint, seat, linkage, front brake, clip-ons, side covers, and seat back, this is a one of a kind bike inspired by the prototype. The engine is completely rebuilt with improvements throughout, giving it more power and better response without jeopardizing reliability. The pistons are short skirt sport pistons from V-Two to raise the compression. The heads got lighter 7mm valves with better springs, new seats and guides. From the Carillo rods to the 36mm carbs, to the polished crank to the billet cams to the smaller stem valves, all things were considered with this project.

The bike is one of several classic bikes in my collection and it got regularly used on short trips. Bike runs extremely strong, starts with one or two kicks and is ready to ride. Nice chrome and paint with very few minor scratches.

No manual or tool kit. GA registration in my name. GA did not issue titles for bikes over 25 years old. Also have ex California title assigned to my name.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe L Rear

The seller also includes a more comprehensive list of modifications over on eBay, worth a look if you’re curious about this bike. The internal modifications sound like they’ve been well thought-out and the bike is ready to run, no matter what it looks like. Bidding is pretty active on this one, and up to $12,500 with the Reserve Not Met.


1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe R Side Detail

Street or Track: 1973 Honda CB500 Street Race Bike for Sale

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe R Front

Some bikes are rare by virtue of the fact that few were ever made. Others are rare simply because so few survive in anything like good condition. Others, like this Honda CB500 are one-of-a-kind, a common bike elevated to the ranks of rare and valuable because of the execution.

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe R Rear

Certainly, Honda made plenty of CB500’s, so they’re not rare in terms of how many were built. But in typical Honda style, most were used as transportation and then passed on, discarded, and caught in an ever-worsening spiral of less-sympathetic maintenance as they moved down the food chain to the bottom-feeders. Luckily, Honda’s line of four-cylinder motorcycles were built to last, and parts to rebuild them are plentiful.

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe Cockpit

While the seller refers to this as a “race bike” and the bike does appear to have some history that speaks to competition, it’s currently set up for street use, with a headlight, taillight, and rear-view mirror. The listing includes a thorough accounting of upgrades and prep work, including an overbore to 651cc’s and a set of bigger CB750 carburetors to help feed the hungry Honda. I’m not sure how the overbore affects racing classes, as bikes are generally grouped according to displacement and the modifications that have been made, although those twin-discs up front are a welcome upgrade, no matter how you plan to use this bike.

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Honda CB500 Race Bike for Sale

According to the previous owner, the bike was raced in F1 CCS vintage Classes in 2000 and rebuilt for the next season at the end of the year. It was raced in 02 in CCS WERA and AHRMA winning both LW and HW Vintage classes. At the end of 02 the motor was again rebuilt to its current state. In 2003 the bike saw a practice laps but was never raced again. The bike was sold to someone for their 64 birthday but to health issues his race days are over that is when I bought the bike. The bike has a clear title. The bike runs great and has no mechanical issues and dose not leak or smoke. When I bought the bike number cylinder was not hitting when for a good drive and it cleared up runs like race bike should. Things that have been done to bring this race machine to this standard

CB500’s are not especially rare or valuable, although prices for nice examples are being dragged upwards as Honda’s other four-cylinder bikes increase in value. However, this particular example looks like it’s been well cared for and treaded to significant mechanical and cosmetic upgrades that definitely make it worth a second look. With five days left and bidding just north of $5,000 it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks that.

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe Dash

As it stands, this CB500 is a very slick street bike, and that bare metal tank with leather strap look appropriately racy for posing at the coffee shop after a good ride down some winding back roads. If you plan to take “race bike” literally, make sure you read the rule book of the appropriate sanctioning body carefully. If you plan to ride this on the street, make sure you replace that hideous AutoMeter oil pressure gauge with something more appropriately vintage.


1973 Honda CB500 Cafe L Side

Super-Clean Custom: 1977 Yamaha RD400 for Sale

1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side Front

So hands up if you think the whole cafe racer thing is played out! I do love the democratic nature of the café racer movement, the democratic nature. You can spend as much or as little money as your imagination allows, and build your dream using any brand machine you want. But the thing that makes is so cool is the exact thing that makes it so cliché: everybody with a battered old bike, a hacksaw, and some flat-black spraypaint can get in on the action.

But, every once in a while, a bike comes along that shows just how the whole thing got legs again. And this cool, relatively simple Yamaha RD400 is one of those bikes.

1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side Tank

By the late 1960’s, Japan had proven that it had the engineering expertise to take on the established brands from Europe and America and was busy crushing them under their heel in terms of sales. They were inexpensive, featured sophisticated engines, and were much more reliable than their rivals. But the one area where they generally couldn’t compete was handling: bikes like Kawasaki’s Z1 were very fast in a straight line and merely competent in the corners, while their H1 earned a reputation for being downright treacherous. For most street riders, that was fine, and Harris, Spondon, and Rickman could whip you up a new frame if you really needed to go around corners.

1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side Engine

But there were some notable exceptions to this, and Yamaha’s line of middleweight two-strokes combined playful, two-stroke punch in a lightweight package that made it the ride of choice for backroad-burners and aspiring racers: while heavier than the track-only TZ, it featured that bike’s racy geometry, strong brakes, and a six-speed gearbox. Worry-automatic oil-injection helped keep two-stroke hassles to a minimum.

1977 Yamaha RD400 Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Yamaha RD400 Custom for Sale

This 1977 Yamaha RD400 custom is a real head turner!  People will stop you all the time to ask about it!  This was professionally built by Motohangar in Vienna VA.     The bike was completed in June of this year.  Bike is a total, ground up restoration and performance modded machine.  It was a feature story on the Pipeburn website on June 16th 2014.    It was also featured on Yamaha USA’s Facebook page where they called it “a masterpiece.”  If you search it online you will see that it has been re-posted to dozens of enthusiast websites around the world.  Take a minute to check out the feature story on Pipeburn where the builder details the build process and there are lots more photos.    

Bike has fewer than 100 miles on it since rebuild and is absolutely immaculate.  Starts beautifully and sounds like two-stroke heaven due to the hand built Jim Lomas race pipes. Pat at Motohangar has built a number of show stopping bikes over that last few years, including the best in show “Honduki” bike.

This bike has been described as a 70’s LeMans style resto mod due to its stunning paint and graphics.  Everything was completely disassembled and rebuilt and repainted–engine cases are beautifully detailed, frame is freshly painted, wheels were blasted and painted, new seat pan and tail section custom built (oil filler relocated to top of tail section)  custom LED tail light fabricated, neutral and oil warning lights relocated into top triple.

Vintage Smoke rearsets–which include a Brembo rear caliper, Jim Lomas pipes, clip on’s, Frank’s fork tubes, new Dunlop tires, new Assault rear shocks, new chain, new brakes, cross drilled rotors– the list goes on.  This bike is far superior to a brand new RD.

This bike is very fast and responsive to the throttle.  It will put a smile on your face every time!  It sounds like a crazed pack of hornets coming down the road!  Seller has current Virginia title.

1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side Rear

Very clean and striking, this is the kind of custom that emphasizes the original bike’s style, while doing its own thing. The taillight is very cool and nicely done, if a bit overstyled, and I love the warning lights integrated into the top triple. I assume the “MH” on the engine is for “MotoHangar”, although I could do without that particular detail…

1977 Yamaha RD400 Tail

At $6,300 with the reserve met and a couple days to go, I’m very curious to see what this goes for. If this stays anywhere in that range, someone’s getting a serious bargain for a very classy, one-of-a-kind motorcycle.


1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side

Marvelous Mutt: 1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph for Sale

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph L w Fairing

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, if you weren’t happy with the handling of your stock motorcycle, you could contact a number of different specialist frame companies for your racebike or road-legal custom. Among these, the name “Rickman” ranks among the very best, right up with Spondon and Egli, producing frames and bodywork for buyers who wanted something truly exotic.

Early on, they focused on offroad racing, but their catalog eventually encompassed roadracing and street bikes as well, starting with the engine and transmission from the Triumph Bonneville like this particular example.

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph R Rear

Rickman’s signature frames were constructed from lightweight, nickel-plated tubes that provided a stiff foundation for improved suspension, and many featured internal oil-passages that replaced oil tanks and coolers. The completed hybrids were amusingly named “Metisse,” French for “mongrel.”

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph L Front

For the most part, the company produced kits instead of complete motorcycles, supplying frames and bodywork: engines, transmissions, wheels, and electrics not included. A wide variety of engines were fitted snuggly into Rickman frames over the years, but Japanese big-bore machines featured heavily in their later output. Like Bimota, they recognized that the handling of these machines could be improved, and the resulting bikes featured the best of both worlds: Japanese engineering and reliability combined with British innovation to create fast, nimble, and rare bikes that could compete on road or track.

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1968 Rickman Metisse Road Racer for Sale

The condition of this machine is highly original, un-restored, and preserved, having covered 828 miles since new. All of the numbers are factory correct and original. It is the 650 cc engine. The gearbox is also original to the machine. This Norton is completely original and has never been apart. I am the third owner from new, the first long-time owner being the legendary female motorcycle trailblazer Barbara Lee Weber of Chicago. It is in preserved, original, and almost showroom new condition.

The paint is the original red and is nearly flawless. The original decals are still applied to the gas tank. The plastic sidecovers are in excellent condition and are not in need of any type of repair.  

All of the original accessories, including the headlight and very hard to find tail light, are in operational condition and in excellent original condition.

The Rickman Triumph on the road is very easy to handle, and rides down the road very tight, with no shakes, shimmies, or rattles. It shifts and accelerates smoothly and holds the road as it should.  

There is absolutely NOTHING that needs to be done to this machine to ride it occasionally and enjoy it as a showpiece. Unlike other machines for sale on the internet, this one is ready to ride and not in need of any expensive service once you get it home.  

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph Engine Detail

There’s a ton of additional information, original documentation, and photographs over on eBay, so pop on over for a look. Bidding is pretty active on this one, with five days left and the Reserve Not Met at $9,100. If you’re looking for a Rickman, this is a very nice, unrestored example of their original road bike with as detailed a history as you’re ever likely to find.


1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph R No Fairing

Something a Little Different: 1970 Norton 750S Custom

1970 Norton Custom L Rear

The iconic Commando was an example of classic British ingenuity: decidedly old-tech, but featuring simple innovations to keep it competitive in the marketplace. A needed bump in power necessitated a corresponding increase in displacement. That increased displacement led to unacceptable shaking from the bigger slugs. The solution? Norton’s Isolastic system that separated the rider from numbing vibrations.

And the primitive pre-unit engine and gearbox design was turned into an advantage: Norton could easily revise the parallel twin to cant it forward and make it look like it’s leaning forward aggressively into the wind, clearing up additional space for carburetors and airbox.

1970 Norton Custom R Engine

This one’s something of an odd duck, not quite a cafe racer, not really a cruiser, a bike that was built to look sporty, but in a laid-back sort of way. Like it’s trying to say, “Hey, I like to have fun and go fast and all, but I’m way too cool to try all that hard…” As if the builder was kind of a cruiser-guy but realized that, for the most part, British bikes can be turned into fine bobbers, but make really weirdly-proportioned choppers…

With its lowered stance and sporty style, it reminds me of the Harley 883 Sportsters I’ve seen with mid-pegs and clip-on bars, sort of a “drag-café” style.

1970 Norton Custom Dash

Some little details need to be put right like the weirdly canted tach, single-sided pipe wrap, and the droopy taillight. And are those highway pegs?! Regardless, this is someone’s particular vision of the perfect bike, but should be very easy to change if it’s not quite to your taste. And photos suggest that it’s been cared for, or at the very least thoroughly washed before the pictures were taken…

From the original eBay listing: 1970 Norton Custom for Sale

This 1970 Norton custom is a very nice ride for the person that enjoys being different. Not everyone has anything like this one. It has been lowered and made to look very different than the scrambler it started as. It runs and shifts through the gears nicely. It sat for about a year and a half though and needed the carb cleaned. Having done that we inserted new plugs and a new battery. The paint is not perfect but decent. I do not have the original seat or scrambler pipes for the bike. All that you see is what you get (the only way I know it was a scrambler was from the word of the previous owner). I liked the style of it so I bought it, wasn’t going for the scrambler remake. Having said that, I consider the bike somewhat of a project. There are no turn signals or mirrors on the bike… I have ridden it this way with no problem but it is probably not exactly legal. The headlight, brake light and speedometer all worked when parked but are not working at this time. I will need to go through and see if I can fix but I am no electrician. This is a super cool bike that really looks and sounds great. Tires are in good shape and the engine number matches the title. There is no serial number plate like on my other Norton.

According to the seller, this bike was built up from a Scrambler, Norton’s dual-sport variant of the Commando that featured taller suspension, a different seat, and high-pipes. Like the Ducati singles, there are many common parts shared with other Norton models, and it’s pretty easy to mix-and-match to build something that suits your style.

1970 Norton Custom Front

Purists may scream, and riders may bemoan the loss of do-it-all dual-sport ability, but the price is pretty low: bidding is currently at $1,100 and the asking price is set at $5,500. $5k will buy you a pretty wide range of bikes both new and old these days, but this one looks to be worth consideration if you’re into riding and not collecting. It’s no trailer-queen and could make a really nice bike for someone with the appropriate expectations.


1970 Norton Custom R Side

None More Blue: 1979 Triumph Bonneville Cafe Racer

1979 Triumph Bonneville L Side

I wanted to break up the weird, Italian trend a bit, although it will be back tomorrow with another Guzzi I’ve never actually seen for sale before…

I don’t often post up Triumph Bonnevilles here, since they seem sort of common for a site with “rare” in the title. They did sell quite a few of them over the years and, while they pretty much epitomize “classic bike” for many people, I think they’re a little too obvious most of the time.

But then something like this comes along. “It’s like: how much more blue could this be. And the answer is: none. None more blue.”

1979 Triumph Bonneville R Side Engine

The Triumph Bonneville was a very popular and long-lived machine, made from 1959 until 1983. The original “T120” was powered by a 650cc parallel twin, with an updated 724cc [“750”] model introduced in the early 1970’s and designated the “T140” that featured disc brakes and a left-side shift to comply with US regulations.

This very, very blue Triumph Bonneville may not be to everyone’s taste, but the listing includes some nice “under construction” photos, which I always appreciate: there are more pictures of the build than of the completed bike.

1979 Triumph Bonneville Electrics

From the original eBay listing:

The engine was completely stripped down, the cases split and everything was cleaned and inspected. Every single bearing was replaced as were all the seals. The head was completely rebuilt with new valve guides, valves and springs. Small repairs were made to the cases where some of the threads had been stripped. Gear box was completely stripped down, a new main shaft put in and several worn gears replaced. The engine was rebuilt by Bob Wolf of Arbutus, MD. The barrels and pistons are .006 over and crank, pistons and con rods were sent to “House of Balance” here in Baltimore for balancing. It has all new clutch plates and a new stator.

The battery is a light weight lithium model from Shorei and it and all main electrics are under the seat with a metal plate welded into the frame to hold them. No fuses are used instead there are a set of circuit breakers. The seat is secured to the frame using the same method as on a Norton Commando which makes seat removal a simple one minute job should you need to access the electrics. There are two incredibly loud horns mounted under the seat so you won’t have any trouble alerting the cage drivers to your presence! A new electronic ignition from Boyer has replaced the points.

The bike uses new digital instruments from Acewell as I wanted to try to do a blend of old and new. The old style Lockheed brakes have been replaced with modern Nissin four pot calipers and the lines are new as well, of course. The front forks were completely stripped down and rebuilt with a mixture of new and used parts.

The rims are powder coated to match the bike and both hubs were rebuilt with new bearings and the wheels were laced and tuned with stainless steel spokes by an experienced wheel builder here in Baltimore.

The unusual rearset set up and foot pegs are off a Yamaha R6 and a slight mod had to be made in the kick start to allow for this. The tank is an old British spec steel tank, increasingly rare here in the US and it has been sealed inside with Carswell tank sealer and powder coated on the outside.

1979 Triumph Bonneville Rear Wheel

I definitely appreciate the upgraded brakes and, although I think the digital dash looks out of place, it was clearly a very intentional choice since the builder took so much care with the rest of the build. I’d certainly imagine it’s far more accurate than any old cable-driven, Smiths gauge is likely to be, although you can probably shift an old twin like this by ear, making a tach more of an accessory that a necessity.

1979 Triumph Bonneville Tank

This isn’t the most polished bike: some of those connectors on the coil look like they could use a bit more time and attention and the wires and cables on the front end could definitely be cleaned up. But this looks more like a labor of love than a high-dollar toy, and I really like it. So all-in-all, a very distinctive ride. That price though: it’s a bit of an ouch. The seller mentions that he doesn’t expect to get back everything he’s invested, but a very specific creation like this needs to find a very specific buyer, one who appreciates the vision the builder had when putting it together.

It’s far from a restoration, and nothing like original, but this resto-mod is a pretty cool machine. I’d say it could use some attention to the details, but nothing you couldn’t attend to on weekends, a bit at a time, and nothing that will keep the bike off the road for long.


1979 Triumph Bonneville L Tail

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe Racer for Sale

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe L Side

Now here’s a bike you don’t see every day: a “loop-framed” Moto Guzzi cafe racer. If something looks a bit different about this particular Guzzi custom, it’s because it was built from the earlier V700 touring model, rather than the more sporting models that featured the later, Lino Tonti-developed frame from the V7 Sport.

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe L Side Dash

Prior to the Sport, v-twin Guzzis were employed extensively by police and military organizations, in addition to the public, but saw little use on the race track as they were tall and relatively heavy. While the origin of the V700 powertrain was a very odd light military tractor, it was simple, durable, and powerful, with shaft drive and a simple pushrod valvetrain. The longitudinal engine configuration in v-twin Guzzis does lead to some “torque-reaction” where the motor twists along the axis of crankshaft rotation when revved, but it’s mostly a characterful difference and has little impact on performance.

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe L Rear Suspension

Most cafe Guzzis are derived from the Tonti-framed T-series machines: they’re relatively cheap and plentiful. The new arrangement moved the alternator from the top of the crankcase to the front of the engine and set the powertrain in a brand new frame designed with a low center of gravity. This particular machine goes for a more classic look [excepting the tail section] by using the earlier model.

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe R Tail

From the original eBay listing: 1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe Racer for Sale

Rebuilt motor and lowered front end by Guzzi Classics in Signal Hills CA.
Powder coated frame and parts.
Custom seat with integrated led light, flashing brake led lights.
New front brake pads rears are good, Duralast Extreme Battery, Bosch Coil and new wiring.
Runs great and sounds amazing!! Tons of torque and Great handling. Everything is in great working order
Suspension   Front: Adjustable Gsx R front fork with hydraulic damping
Rear: Swing-arm with 2 V-Rod hydraulic shock absorbers

The result here is definitely less sleek than the usual Guzzi custom, but has a more traditional style: the term “cafe racer” gets thrown around these days to describe any old garage-built sportbike with clip ons, rearsets, and a set of megaphones.  But this one is much closer to the real look and style of all those Tritons and home-brew road-racers that really best embody the era.

1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe Head

Compared to other classic bikes, maintenance on a Guzzi is a snap: gust look at those cylinder heads sticking out in the breeze! Now picture how easy it would be to adjust the valves. And when time comes to lube the chain… Wait: there is no chain! While shaft drive is intrinsically heavier than a chain, loop-frame Guzzis can be made to handle. Just check out this clip of Japanese shop Ritmo Sereno’s loop-frame custom out on the track.

The value of classic Guzzis begin to increase, and now is you chance to grab one before prices climb out of reach. While a more original example might make better sense in terms of value, you certainly won’t find a bike that will better express your desire to stand out in a crowd.


1969 Moto Guzzi V700 Cafe R Side

1978 Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker for Sale

1978 Yamaha XS650 L Side

Alright, this might be another example of me using my editorial discretion to include a bike that doesn’t really fit into the traditional image of a “sportbike”: racy ergonomics, roadcourse pedigree, maybe a fairing to tuck in behind… But it doesn’t really take much of a stretch to include something that looks to be as capable as this Yammie on a twisting back road.

The Japanese assault on the US market is remembered now for the range of four-cylinder models from Honda and Kawasaki, but the supporting players were many and varied. While the European manufacturers were struggling through this same period, making evolutionary upgrades to their core products with a very limited range of engines, the Japanese continued to introduce models in a nearly dizzying array of configurations and displacements: two-stroke and four-stroke singles, twins, and triples all made their contributions.

1978 Yamaha XS650 R Tank

The Yamaha XS650 parallel-twin was introduced in 1968 and featured very modern specifications: overhead cam valve-actuation and unit construction, with a reliable electric start added in 1972. The 360 degree twin was revvier than British contemporaries due to its lighter flywheel and the bike was made, in one version or another, until 1985.

This heavily-customized, flat-track styled machine is entirely appropriate, as the XS650 was used for a while by “King” Kenny Roberts in dirt-track racing.

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker for Sale

Has 07-08 Yamaha R1 wheeels. New tires 120/17-200/17. Swingarm off a Kawasaki ZRX1100,front end is a GSXR750. Pro Taper Bars and Platform Pegs. Gold Shorie Levers.L.E.D. Head Light and tail lights.Problem with starter gear,bikes kick starts.Front pipe is a Mac and rear is custom made.Paint done my Devils Candy of Daytona.Two into one intake with a 36mm Mikuni carb.Point style ign.Bike was Featured in Mays issue of Street Fighter Magizine.Stainless brake lines.Vortex rear sprocket and custom made 5/8 off set front sprocket.

1978 Yamaha XS650 R Front

While the paint is slightly… individualistic, it looks to be very professionally done and hey, it might be your thing. As they say: “that’s what makes horse racing.”  Same thing with the headlight: the LED look might be a bit too modern, but that’d be simple to fix with something more classic, or more in keeping with the flat-track style. Say, a projector-beam poking through a number plate painted to match?

A switch to a classic red/white scheme would make for a classic-looking ride with modern levels of grip from the modern tires. And that swingarm looks terrific while providing rigidity to resist the forces the new wheel and tire combo can likely generate.

What’s this worth? Well the original XS650’s can be purchased for dirt-cheap, but plenty of professional work has clearly gone into this. Bidding is currently at $4,500 with just a day and a half to go, and that looks like a pretty good deal for the fun this bike promises.


1978 Yamaha XS650 L Rear

As Seen On TV: 1977 Moto Guzzi T3 Cafe Racer

1977 Moto Guzzi T3 Cafe R Front

Every time a Tonti-framed Guzzi comes up for sale, particularly the T-models, I feel the need to launch into my spiel about how they’re such a great platform for customized café bikes and roadsters because of their sleek silhouette and low stance. Well, with this 1977 Moto Guzzi T3, it looks like someone’s already done the work for you, and the results speak for themselves.

1977 Moto Guzzi T3 Cafe R Tank

For the uninitiated, Lino Tonti’s new frame was designed in 1971 to house their v-twin in the V7 Sport. It was designed to provide rigidity, a low center of gravity, and ease of service, with lower frame rails that detached so the engine can be easily removed. It was so effective that Guzzi was able to use it for the next forty years in various iterations of the Sport, Le Mans, and T-series bikes, and this allows for pretty good parts interchangeability between models.

With pretty good aftermarket support, a solid range of performance upgrades, and classic good looks, these Moto Guzzi models provide an excellent platform for building everything from a really great resto-mod backroad blaster to a vintage track bike.

1977 Moto Guzzi T3 Cafe L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Moto Guzzi 850 T3 Custom Café Racer for Sale

This is the custom Grey Dog Moto built Moto Guzzi 850 T3 featured on Cafe Racer S4 Ep1. The episode and bike can be viewed on YouTube.The Guzzi GP racer Ben Bostrom test rode at the Alameda Naval Air Station at 114 mph and commented was one of the best bikes he had ridden for the Cafe Racer show.

Also, on the cover and in City Bike Dec 2012, featured on Motorcycle Daily in March 2013, and in the current issue of Cafe Racer magazine Dec/Jan 2014.
I bought the stock Guzzi in January 2011. The engine had less than 31,000 miles, fires up without a choke, runs with a ton of torque but needed front end work, brakes, and miscellaneous odds and ends. I approached my mechanic Patrick Bell with the idea of customizing the Moto Guzzi as a cafe style bike. Patrick picked up on the vision and everything feel into place for the build and the TV show. One of my requests was that the bike fit me a bit better at 6’3″and all legs. Also, I wanted to eliminate the floor boards, get up on pegs, and be able to move into a more aggressive riding position.

Please view the show or read the articles for more background and additional details.
1977 Moto Guzzi T3 Cafe Clocks

Not a huge fan of the tail section and I’d prefer a different gauge: you should be able to ride a big Italian twin without one eye on the tach, but I prefer a big rev-counter just for aesthetic reasons, something by MotoGadget if I wanted modern multi-functionality or a big, white Veglia for classic style. But that tank and paint look perfect and this should be tons of fun to ride, combining Guzzi’s famous long-legs with modern-ish performance and very modern brakes, courtesy of the R1 front end and brakes.

1977 Moto Guzzi T3 Cafe L Front End

And if you want to get a good idea of how much care really went into its creation, you can just watch the show! Seriously, even if I had the money to buy and any interest in those overstyled chrome abominations from Orange County Choppers, I’d never buy one after seeing how they build them…

$18,000 is pretty steep for a T3, but if you think of it as a one-of-a-kind motorcycle you could ride every day, it starts to make more sense. The seller describes it as a bike to ride, not for one show and we wouldn’t want a Guzzi any other way.


1977 Moto Guzzi T3 Cafe L Rear

1963 Benelli 175 for Sale

1963 Benelli 175 L Dash

Another small-bore sporting machine from the same seller that brought us the Moto Morini Corsarino, same lack of real detail, same nice photos. These lightweight, economical bikes were designed to fill a similar niche as the competing machines from Moto Guzzi, Ducati, and Laverda: the very real need for inexpensive, reliable transportation for an economy rebounding from the Second World War. They were designed to bring a bit more style and athleticism to the table than a scooter, but fulfill primarily the same purpose.

1963 Benelli 175 R Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1963 Benelli 175 for sale

We do not have any history on this beautifully restored Benelli, except that it won “Best of Show” at the 2013 Dallas Mods & Rockers Motorcycle Show.
We are certain that the Benelli cognoscenti could shed more light on the history of this bike than we can.
The frame number is H8210 and the engine number is HS14392. There are detailed pictures of both the frame and engine numbers in the gallery of pictures.
This Benelli runs perfectly and needs nothing. It is certainly MotoGiro capable. Please look at the detailed pictures carefully as they really tell the story.

1963 Benelli 175 L Engine

Luckily, the listing also includes a response from the bike’s builder, and it seems maybe there’s a bit more to this machine than meets the eye…

This is Jason Small. I’m the one who built this bike. This is a 1967 riverside 250 that I built to look like the 175 Benelli. I replaced nearly everything with new nos parts minus the seat and mufflers which are Ducati Elite parts. I replaced the generator which came with new points and condenser, power regulator, the headlight was a brand new nos headlight with new electrics in it, fork seals, tires, stainless fasteners on 90% of the build, nos speedo, all new cables, chain, new shocks ect. Anything that I needed to replace was replaced with new parts and not used. Good luck with the sale. The owner is a good man and is solely responsible for my passion of small Italian motorcycles. If you have any questions on the bike please feel free to ask.

1963 Benelli 175 Dash

So what we have here is really a bit of a hot-rod, with mix and match parts to create a bike that fits the builder’s singular vision. This is a seriously classy little machine with just 24 hours left on it. Bidding is just north of $2,000 right now, with the reserve unsurprisingly not met yet. With its mixed bag of parts, this may be a bit of a mongrel, but sometimes mutts make the very best pets!


1963 Benelli 175 R Dash