Tagged: Moto Guzzi

Mark One: 1977 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

1977 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans L Side

Moto Guzzi’s follow up to their successful V7 Sport was this, the 850 Le Mans, often known these days as the “Mark I Le Mans.” It used a hot-rod version of their earlier longitudinally-mounted v-twin engine, with bigger, high-compression pistons, bigger valves, high performance carburetors, cast-aluminum wheels, and a more modern, very chunky look that would set the tone for Guzzis through the 1980s. The style is really hard to pin down to a particular era, with the jutting cylinders and minimal style looking like something very 60s or 70s while the angular bodywork has more of a 1980s style.

1977 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans L Side Front

The hot-rod engine put out 71hp at the rear wheel and made for a genuine 130mph, which wasn’t top-of-the-class but very competitive during the period. But unlike the equally fast but fiddly-to-maintain Ducati 900SS or the wobbly-handling and under-braked Kawasaki Z900, the Le Mans offered up Guzzi’s classic recipe of durable shaft-drive, stable handling, and midrange grunt. And Guzzi was forward-thinking in terms of safety as well: the Le Mans featured their simple but effective linked braking system that was used up until the 1990s. The front brake lever operated one front caliper, while the foot pedal used a proportioning valve to distribute power between the second front and the rear caliper. The Le Mans is definitely an acquired taste, with the noticeable shaft-drive effect, but is a very rewarding bike to own.

1977 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

I have had the pleasure of owning this bike for the past 15 years.
Upgrades:
  • Lafranconi competizione mufflers
  • Koni rear shocks
  • Progressive front springs
  • Gaman seat
  • Torozzi rear sets
  • Harpers outsider kit with deep sump
  • Braided brake lines
  • gaskets, bushings and rubber
  • K&N filters
  • Frame up paint in 2003 – held up well
  • documentation of work done
This bike runs and looks great! It handles likes it on rails, brakes with the best of them and has tremendous acceleration and power. Time for someone new to enjoy this fine machine.

1977 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans L Side Engine

Bidding is up to $10,000 which, frankly, seems to be on the low side for these. I can remember when, just a few years ago, they were selling for about half that… Happily, the bike even features the European-style bikini fairing with the flush-mount headlamp. American units had an ugly, jutting unit that projected out beyond the curve of the fairing, looking more like a train headlight than something that belongs on a sleek sportbike. If you’ve never noticed how ugly the American version is, I apologize in advance: its’ one of things that, once seen, can never be unseen… This may not be the original part, however, since most I’ve seen feature a bright orange vertical “safety stripe” for improved visibility. Not sure how effective it is, but it does look cool. The stepped seat is also a non-standard item, which is no surprise since the closed-cell foam originals rarely survive.

-tad

1977 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans R Side

 

Racing Replica: 1938 Moto Guzzi Condor Stradale for Sale

1938 Moto Guzzi Condor Stradale Rep R Front

Egret, Falcon, Goshawk, Bunting, Skylark, Condor… Leave it to the Italians to give their machines evocative but somehow whimsical names. And while this Moto Guzzi Condor Stradale may not have been named for the most beautiful of birds, the name is certainly apt.

1938 Moto Guzzi Condor Stradale Rep L Engine

Condors aren’t pretty, but they’re eminently practical animals, able to eat almost anything and able to stay aloft for hours, searching for their next meal. Moto Guzzi’s road and race singles of the 30s, 40s, and 50s were also very effective motorcycles, famous for their long-legged and very frugal nature. They often won races against much more powerful machinery: even racebikes could achieve 45mpg or more, and the horizontal single with its distinctive external flywheel gave impressive, long-legged torque, stable handling, and a small frontal area.

1938 Moto Guzzi Condor Stradale Rep Cockpit

The Condor was introduced in 1938 as an over-the-counter racebike and was very successful in competition, often winning races against much more powerful machinery. The “Stradale” was obviously the roadgoing version of the machine, but both road and race versions are very rare, as production was unfortunately cut short by the beginning of World War II.

1938 Moto Guzzi Condor Stradale Rep R Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1938 Moto Guzzi Condor Stradale Replica for Sale

The Condor was intended for production racing and a much more sophisticated machine than its working class brethren from Moto Guzzi.It had alloy cylinder head and barrel and magnesium (electron) crankcases along with lighter steel frame componentry, bigger brakes and wheels. They were only made for 2 years with only 69 units being produced. They were extremely successful before the outbreak of war halted competitive motorcycling. They were good for approximately 28 hp and a legitimate 100mph. Due to their rarity and the nature of their use, very few original examples exist. Seldom if ever do they become available. Offered here is a faithful recreation and tribute to one of the most remarkable manufacturers and models in history. This machine was built with no expense spared by well known Moto Guzzi authority Franco Dall’aglio in Italy. This is a magnificent machine worthy of any collection or museum. The bike could not be built for as low as its asking price due to the high level of craftsmanship and use of rare and custom reproduction race parts. An original specimen will cost approxamitely four times the figure. This motorcycle is gorgeous.

1938 Moto Guzzi Condor Stradale Rep R Detail

Obviously, this is a rare and beautiful motorcycle. But replicas are always tricky: no matter how much craftsmanship has gone into their creation, a big selling point of the real thing isn’t the actual performance or appearance, but the subjective value of a historic item and the intangible links they provide us to a bygone era. No matter how accurate a replica, it somehow isn’t the real thing. And obviously, the seller isn’t expecting real-thing-money. But with just a couple days left on the auction and no takers yet at the $30,000 starting bid, it’s obvious that potential buyers aren’t quite sure what to make of this.

It’s unfortunate, because someone has obviously gone to a lot of effort to create this roadgoing race bike replica.

-tad

1938 Moto Guzzi Condor Stradale Rep L Rear

Burgundy Beauty: 1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side Front

The original Moto Guzzi V7 Sport is one of our favorites, and it’s pretty easy to see why: while the modern café-racer and brat-style builders need to chop the living hell out of suspensions to get their creations to sit low, the V7 Sport had that look from the factory, and was one of the best-handling bikes of the era.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Tank

In fact the bike’s frame was redesigned from the V700’s “loop-frame” to lower the bike’s CoG: the new design switched from a generator to a compact new alternator and relocated it from the top to the front of the engine to clear up space for the frame’s top rails. And the new frame fit so closely around the engine that detachable lower rails were included to facilitate servicing.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Rear

The engine was more evolutionary and less revolutionary: a punched-out version of the V700’s longitudinally-mounted, shaft drive twin, it featured a five-speed gearbox and the usual carburetor updates, along with highly-adjustable swan-neck clip-ons for a custom fit.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Rear Suspension

As the seller indicates, the bike displaces more than the original 748cc’s. It’s pretty common to drop in larger pistons and different cranks from later versions of the bike, since it basically amounts to a factory big-bore kit. Cycle Garden is a SoCal-based Guzzi specialist and supplier of OEM and aftermarket parts, so it’s also reassuring to know that they’ve been involved: I’ve met a few Guzzi guys who speak highly of them.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Front

From the original eBay listing: Numbers-Matching Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

Restored numbers matching 1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport – Burgundy & Grey Foam.

Purchased from Moe at Newport CA Cycle Garden.

This is a 1998 restoration with 2002 miles on the odometer.  I have put less than 200 miles on the bike since I purchased it from Moe, and am selling it because I do not have enough time to ride.

Recently won “Best of Show” at the Go AZ Motorcycles antique bike show.  Trophy is included with the bike.

The bike is stunning as you will see from the pictures.  It runs perfectly, and has never given me a moment of trouble.  Starts immediately when engaged, and is very fast.

The bike has a European shift pattern (right shift, left brake), which makes it a little different from most newer Sports.

Moe added their 955 CC Big Bore Kit (T-3 Crank Shaft, 88 mm Pistons), new paint at the time of restoration, full wire harness, fuse panel, restored the dash, and added reproduction Silentium mufflers.

I have removed the bar mirror, but will include it with the sale.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Cockpit

Helpfully included are a pair of videos that can be found here and here.

There are no takers yet at the $18,000 starting bid, with just a couple days left on the auction. I’m a bit surprised because, although that’s not cheap, it seems to be relatively in line with V7 Sport prices of late. Maybe the non-original internals are putting off prospective buyers? Probably, if I were restoring a V7, I’d stick with the original displacement, but many LeMans are running bigger engines and that doesn’t seem to affect their prices negatively. Is it the color that’s deterring bidders? It’s certainly a very flattering color for the bike, although maybe collectors are holding out for a green or black one…

-tad

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side

Tonti-Framed Masterpiece: 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side

The current café racer and “brat-style” bike craze works hard to create a low, street-racer silhouette, often at the expense of suspension travel. But Moto Guzzi’s V7 Sport had low-and-lean included, with no additional charge. With the cylinders of the big, longitudinally-mounted v-twin jutting out to the sides, the frame and tank could sit in the valley of the vee, instead of having to take the long route over the top, for a low center-of-gravity and sleek good looks as standard.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Detail

Earlier “loop-framed” Guzzis like the V700 handled well enough and were great touring machines, but they weren’t light enough or low enough to really cut it on track. So Lino Tonti created a brand new frame to wrap around the slightly smaller, sportified twin that had 52hp measured at the back wheel. Detachable frame rails allowed the engine to be easily serviced, and that same design was used in one form or another well into the modern era.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Clocks

Surprisingly, shaft-drive was retained and has become something of a signature for Guzzi. While shaft-drive is great for touring bikes and require less maintenance than a chain and set of sprockets, it’s generally not used on sportier bikes as it can add significant weight, and the torque-reaction can cause unfavorable handling characteristics. But while the rotational mass of the engine and driveshaft can be felt when rolling on or off the throttle in corners, the effects are generally very mild and riders quickly adapt.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

This is a 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. It has dual front disk brakes from the factory, superior stopping power, so this is probably one of the last before they changed to the Lemans sport model. I have owned it for over 12 years. during which time I upgraded the electrical system to a much more dependable one. I changed the ignition system to an electronic one with the matching Dynatek coils. It has a solid state voltage regulator. The front brakes lines has been replaced with stainless steel brake lines. The front fork cartridges have been replaced with the much more consistent FAC cartridges and progressive springs. The old cartridge type steering damper has been replaced with a newer, more solid version. The mirrors are Napoleon Baren TT. Other than that the motorcycle is pretty much stock. It has 41,000 miles on the clock which in Guzzi time frame, it is still a baby. I have done a major fluid change and valve adjust recently. This bike has been cared for and serviced on time all of its life, I am its third owner and I can say that it has never slept outside, always garaged and cared for. This is one of the 152 V7 sports brought to the US in 1974. The bike runs great and handles even better. I love this bike but I am parting with some bikes now and this one has to go.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side Rear

Interestingly, this is one of two nice V7 Sports for sale at the moment, and although the other features the very classic drum-braked front, this example has better photographs. It’s also the less expensive of the two, although with a Buy It Now price of $17,840.00 it’s not cheap. It is, however, in very nice original condition and those dual front discs should probably work better in real-world riding than the more stylish drum. Mileage isn’t particularly low but this, as the seller mentions, is no concern for a Guzzi.

All-in-all, a worthy addition to anyone’s real or fantasy garage.

-tad

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side

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.

-tad

1957 Moto Guzzi Falcone L Side

 

Italian Muscle: 1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans I for Sale

1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans R Front

The second Moto Guzzi of the week is this very nice, very original 850 Le Mans. These are often referred to as “Mark I” Le Mans, although that’s obviously a description retroactively applied to differentiate them from later bikes. Released in 1976, it was a logical progression from the V7 Sport in terms of styling and mechanicals. It featured the same basic frame and engine, but bored out to 850cc’s with bigger valves, carbs, and higher-compression, along with new, much more angular bodywork that still displays clear stylistic links to the earlier bike.

1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans L Rear Detail

These changes gave 71hp at the wheel and a top speed of 130. It wasn’t the fastest bike of the period, but it was on par with the competition and included extremely stable handling in the mix. Sure it was quirky, and you can definitely feel the longitudinal crank’s torque-reaction in turns, but it’s easy to compensate for, once you acclimate, and has no negative effect on performance. And with that easily maintained engine and shaft drive, it was weirdly practical for an exotic Italian sportbike.

1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Clocks

Many Guzzis of the period used a mechanically simple, but highly functional linked-braking system. A squeeze of the brake lever operates one front caliper. The foot pedal operates the other front caliper and the rear as well, with lockup prevented by a proportioning valve. Surprisingly effective, although many have been converted to more conventional setups.

1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans R Rear Detail

The listing doesn’t include much detail about this bike, and the photos are a bit washed out so it’s hard to get a good idea about the paint, other than that it has paint. But the mileage is extremely low for a Guzzi and it looks very complete and well cared-for.

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans I for Sale

Original paint.

Owners manual and tools, service records, clear title some minor scuffs and wear but too nice to restore.

They are only original once.

Only 6000 or so first-gen bikes were made from 1976 through 1978, but most that show up for sale have been well-maintained, and they’re pretty fundamentally rugged bikes. The starting bid is $14,999.00 with no takers as yet. That’s in the ballpark as far as Le Mans pricing goes, and I’d assume we’ll see some activity as we get closer to the auction close. Certainly there are prettier examples out there, but this one’s combination of low miles and completely original condition should make it pretty desirable to Guzzi fans.

1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Fairing

The only real cosmetic downside is the American market front headlamp that has a projecting ring around it to meet US safety regulations. The Euro part had a much better-looking, flush-mount design. One of those things you’d probably never notice, until someone helpfully pointed it out to you. Then it’s impossible to un-see. Your mind pokes at it, like a piece of food in your teeth you can’t stop prodding with your tongue…

You’re welcome.

While the price is certainly not chump change, it’s hard to argue that the Le Mans isn’t still a bit of a bargain in the collector bike world, especially considering that it’s a bike you can ride anywhere and still get parts for, a reliable vintage Italian exotic.

-tad

1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans L Side

Unrestored Original: 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Front

You’d be forgiven for thinking the site is now ClassicItalianSportbikesforSale.com, considering the raft of recent posts… and that impression won’t be changing this week, with two bikes from Mandello del Lario that were just too nice to pass up, starting with this beautiful V7 Sport.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side

While Moto Guzzi has, for the past twenty years or so, been thought of as more of a sport-touring manufacturer, like an Italian BMW, it’s important to remember that the V7 Sport and LeMans were very serious sports motorcycles, as quick and nimble as anything being made at the time. In fact, a comparison between the Le Mans and the Ducati 900SS saw reviewers describing the Guzzi as having the freer-reving engine. And while the shaft drive’s torque-effect is noticeable, you quickly get used to it. It was only Guzzi’s inability to keep up with the relentless forward march of the Japanese manufacturers that forced them to recast their image in the same way the Brits were forced to in the 1980’s, trading “performance” for “sophistication” and “character.”

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Clocks

The V7 was where it all began for Guzzi’s v-twin sportbikes. The earlier loop-framed motorcycles offered stable handling, comfort, and reliability, but were too tall and too heavy to really perform as sportbikes. So Lino Tonti designed a new frame that wrapped around the longitudinally-mounted engine and bulky five-speed transmission, using removable down-tubes to allow for servicing. The engine was punched out to 748cc’s to comply with 750cc class limits and the generator was moved to the front of the engine to reduce overall height. The result was bike with a long, low silhouette that handled well, stopped quickly, and made plenty of power.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side Rear

This example has relatively low mileage and is claimed to be in original, unrestored condition. To me, these bikes look best in the famous lime-green color, but you can’t go wrong with black. Later bikes had twin discs up front, but the earlier drum looks great and offered good stopping power.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Front Brake

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

Third owner bike. It was purchased from a good friend who owned it for many years so I know this bike runs very well and personally ridden it on 80 miles canyon rides on weekends multiple times. Minimum patina and only original once.

From manufacture tag, it is June 1973 production model. Titled as a 74 when sold from the dealer in Canada. Matching number prestige original condition. Just take the time to look at all the photos which shows how beautiful it is especially the drum brakes and shark fins exhaust and other unique car engine concepts and details. Bike has been documented in logs of all service done over the years with receipts. It has constantly been maintained and serviced as necessary.

This is Moto Guzzi’s Sport model that company used in competition. Drum brakes works excellent. Electric start by push button on right handlebar or twisting ignition key like a car makes riding practical. Torque on the V7 pulls fast and cruise the freeways easily over 80mph. Handlebars can be easily moved to upper position for great comfort and long flat seat make it an excellent touring bike with the passenger.

Bike has been stored indoors, ridden, and maintained, waxed routinely.

Clear CA title and registration in my name.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Engine

The seller also includes a list of maintenance and recent work that’s gone into the bike over at the original listing. He does also mention and point out that there is one broken cooling fin that’s hiding under the intake on the right side of the bike, but says that it can be fixed if the head is ever off the bike.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Tank Detail

Other than that, this bike looks to be in exceptional original condition and is ready to ride. His Buy It Now price is set at $19,400.00 which is on the high side, but is far from outrageous, especially considering the condition. These are steadily appreciating classics that you can ride regularly if you choose and, if I had the cash, there’d be one in my garage for sure.

-tad

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side

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.

-tad

1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza R Side

Cool In Ice Blue: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

1976 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans L Front

I normally try to space out bikes of similar make and model, and we did just feature a very nice 850 Le Mans recently, but this one has a couple things going for it that that make it stand out from previous examples.

First, as the seller clearly indicates, is a very early example, built in December of 1975. Second, it’s painted in the very rare “ice silver”. While we all know that Italian bikes are generally required by law to be painted in blood red, with the exception of Laverda, and I believe they had some sort of government exemption… But this bluish-silver color really suits the bike’s angular lines while highlighting the orange “safety” stripe on the bikini fairing and was very rare: most Le Mans were red, although a handful were this metallic blue, with white ones as rare as hen’s teeth…

1976 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans Dash

This example features a number of quality modifications that should make even purists happy: timing gears replace the chain and should allow more precise tuning, with upgraded suspension to make the most of the bike’s stable handling and a mix of upgraded and rebuilt braking components to improve safety. The seller also helpfully includes a nice ride-by video.

1976 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

Moto Guzzi 850 LM 1 #007 first series LeMans # VE *070007* Built December 1975 the 7th bike built on the first with US VIN tags.

Bub Hyper full exhaust system

38mm Strada forks

Dyna ignition

Deep-sump extender

Vented rear drive

Alloy timing gears

New Odyssey dry cell battery

Rebuilt 36mm Dellorto’s

Magura clip-ons 38mm

Koni shocks

Un-linked brakes

Upgraded Brembo master (Ducati 900SS)

Stainless brake lines

Rebuilt Brembo calipers and master cylinder

Later type switch gear

Newer Metzler tires

1976 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans L Engine Detail

The bike isn’t completely original and, perhaps in twenty or thirty years, some pedantic concours judge will subtract some points, but for folks in the here-and-now, the period-appropriate modifications make for a better ride. With the possible exception of the un-linked brakes: while purists generally prefer their front brakes controlled by hand and the rear by foot, by all accounts Guzzi’s linked system worked very well, so it’s more a question of taste than performance.

1976 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans R Detail

Tragically for those of us who fell in love with these ten years ago when you could still find a Le Mans for $6,000 or so, the Buy It Now price is listed as $18,999. That’s at the high-end for first-generation Le Mans I’ve seen lately, but reflects the rarity, relatively low mileage, and useability of this example.

-tad

1976 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans R Front

Low-Mileage Italian: 1977 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans R Front Fairing

Designed as a follow up to Moto Guzzi’s V7 Sport, the 850 Le Mans was much more evolutionary than a brand-new machine. It still used the famous Lino Tonti frame, as would many Guzzis up into the modern era. The engine too used simple changes to net more performance, including bigger slugs with higher compression, larger valves, and a set of 36mm Dell’Orto carbs. These changes gave 71hp at the wheel and a top speed of 130.

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans R Side Engine

Interestingly, comparison tests pitting the Ducati 900SS against the Le Mans suggest that the Guzzi actually had the revvier engine of the two, in spite of the pushrod architecture and generally low-tech design.

To slow things down, the bike used triple disc brakes that included Guzzi’s linked braking system: the foot lever operated the rear and one of the front brake calipers, with a proportioning valve to prevent premature lock up of one or the other, and the bar lever operated the other front disc. The system was simple, but worked surprisingly well, although many Guzzi owners have removed the system and replaced it with a more conventional set up.

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans Dash

Today’s bike is a very original, low-mileage example of the first-generation Le Mans. These early bikes are often referred to as “Mark I” bikes, but this is a later edition to the name since, at the time, Guzzi obviously didn’t know they’d be making a Mark II version!

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans L Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

This is a completely original and unmolested 1977 Moto Guzzi Lemans 1. This bike has only 10,206 miles on the clock. There have been no modifications to this bike and all parts on this bike are as it was delivered to the dealer in 1977. Every part and piece is as delivered from Italy, right down to the footpeg rubbers.

The turn signals have been removed and are still with the bike and will be provided to the new owner. This bike was owned by an ex Guzzi dealer who rode the bike for a few years and then stored it early in its life as he moved on to other bikes throughout his time as a Guzzi / Ducati dealer in Texas. He was very active in the Moto Guzzi club and treated and maintained all his bikes very well.

This is a rare chance to own an original, unmolested Lemans 1 with such low miles. I would doubt there are but a small handful of Lemans 1’s with 10k miles out there as most of these bikes accumulated serious mileage on them as they were and are a very robust motor.

This bike will make a fine rider as is, or a great bike for a full restoration. Paint is in decent shape for its age.

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans R Side Rear

The original listing indicates that the bike, while in excellent running condition, hasn’t been used much and will require basic maintenance to the brakes to make sure they’re up to snuff. The seller also mentions that the clutch does drag a bit, and a new clutch will be included, along with a set of stainless brake lines.

The seat foam, a notoriously short-lived material, is original and in decent, although not perfect condition. What you see on these bikes is not a vinyl cover over padding, but a molded material meant to simplify production. Unfortunately, the foam quickly developed splits and very few bikes survive with their original seats intact…

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans Front Wheel

Overall, this a solid, unrestored example of the classic Le Mans and has the lowest mileage I can remember seeing on a bike that wasn’t a display piece. These bikes were extremely durable, long-legged sportbikes and many have accumulated the mileage you’d expect from such a useable machine, so this is a rare opportunity, if low-mileage is your thing. Bidding is up north of $10,000 with the reserve not met and several days left on the auction.

-tad

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans R Side