Tagged: shaft-drive

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

 

Restored to Perfection: 1975 BMW R90S for Sale

1975 BMW R90S L Front

Today’s BMW R90S is the quintessential German sportbike: fast, stable, and reliable, but just a little bit uptight and unassuming. Or it would be unassuming, if not for that very vivid 70s paint job… By the 1970s, a major shift was well underway in the motorcycling world. Postwar shortages in many markets meant that, throughout the period immediately following World War II, cars were simply too expensive for many people to afford and motorcycles were often used as basic transportation in their place. But by the 1960s, the tide had begun to change and, more and more, motorcycles were seen as luxury items or toys, especially here in the US.

1975 BMW R90S R Rear

Generally stodgy image aside, BMWs had always been involved in racing but, by the 1970s, they felt they needed reach customers outside the lucrative, but steadily aging “old man” demographic. BMW’s traditional customers were aging out, and BMW wanted to reach out to a new crop of riders who were looking for something like a Ducati, but maybe with some comfort thrown in. The Germans may have been trying to create their own SuperSport with the R90S, but that practical Teutonic DNA comes through pretty strongly in both the form and the function.

1975 BMW R90S Dash

That dose of practicality in no way diminishes the performance available and the bike was very competitive in AMA racing immediately after it was introduced. High-compression pistons and performance carburetors meant that the proven pushrod engine, here bumped to 898cc, made 67 very flexible horses that could take the R90S all the way to 125mph, although braking power was never much to write home about.

1975 BMW R90S L Rear

Today’s example looks terrific and appears to be quite the labor of love. From the original eBay listing: 1975 BMW R90S for Sale

This is a perfect restored numbers-matching BMW R90S. Many collectors like a bike in original condition unrestored. This is perfect for somebody who put it in his man cave and enjoy looking at the bike or showing it to somebody. But after 40 years it would not be fun to drive it. All the rubber, bowden and seals and much more thinks getting dry brittle leaking and brake. This one is ready to drive and it is as new as it can be.

I am a 60 year old German engineer and be working on BMW’s my whole life as my hobby and for fun. I am selling this one because I have too many toys and I am downsizing for my retirement. This one is restored to perfection. Look at all the pictures it tells the story. I was working over 2 years on this bike and one thing lead in to another because as a perfectionist nothing is good enough.

Here is a list of what I have done. I am sure this list is not complete but you getting the idea:

  • Frame powder coated.
  • Wheels polished hubs bead blasted new stainless spokes.
  • Every screw on the bike is new and stainless.
  • All the rubber and I mean all what has any rubber in it or on it is new tires, seals, bowden, seat, footpegs and so on.
  • Wheel bearings and brakes are new
  • Every aluminum part on engine, gearbox and final drive is bead-blasted and assembled with new seals
  • Cylinder heads with lead-free valves
  • New pistons and oil rings
  • New clutch complete with spring plate
  • Carbs are overhauled and sealed for over $500
  • New seat complete with pan from Germany
  • Instrument cluster overhauled for over $600 and set to 0 miles
  • This was a low millage bike to begin with and in a very good shape
  • New paint and pin striped by a pro for over $2000.
  • New petcocks and fuel cap.
  • New exhaust system complete.
  • And so on…
  • It comes with the original toolkit, shop rag, metal air pump and manual
  • And I have a box full of receipts what I be afraid off to add up.
  • There is a lot of money in this bike.

1975 BMW R90S Parts

Bidding is very active on this bike and already north of $12,000, with plenty of time still left on the auction and the Reserve Not Met. That’s certainly premium money for an old BMW, but it sounds like you’re getting about as close to a brand-new R90S as is possible, barring a lifetime of tracking down NOS parts and building one from scratch. Certainly, the seller makes a great point: an unrestored, barn-find bike would likely require a ton of work to make it run correctly, or would require constant attention as the little bits mentioned deteriorate and fail. This bike is virtually perfect and ready-to-roll. If you have the cash to spend and want an R90S, this looks like a good choice!

-tad

1975 BMW R90S R Side

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

Unicorn or Black Pig? 1967 MV Agusta 600 4C6 #001 for Sale in France

1967 MV Agusta 600 R Front

Well here’s something you don’t see every day, although this four-cylinder MV Agusta 600 is the kind of thing that could spoil forever your image of MV as the manufacturer of the most beautiful motorcycles in the world. Fans of the ferocious red race bikes were certainly excited to hear that MV would be releasing a road-going four-cylinder machine, but the new bike was greeted with stunned silence instead of cheers. With that snout-like rectangular lamp and black paint, it’s pretty easy to see how easy it was for the bike to quickly earn the “Black Pig” nickname…

1967 MV Agusta 600 L Front Detail

Count Agusta, like his four-wheeled counterpart Enzo Ferrari, was primarily interested in racing. The company may have been started, like so many Italian companies of the era, building practical transportation in the years immediately following World War II. But their hearts were always in racing, and like Enzo, Agusta basically tolerated roadgoing production as a means to an end.

1967 MV Agusta 600 Engine Detail2

Pitched as a “touring bike” the 600 made a claimed 60hp at 8,000 rpm and weighed in at a piggish 485lbs wet. The new four-cylinder included MV’s characteristic shaft-drive that was supposedly included so that privateers couldn’t simply buy a bike off the showroom floor and compete against factory teams.

1967 MV Agusta 600 L Front

From the original eBay listing: 1967 MV Agusta 600 4C6 for Sale

Here is available for sale, or for exchange why not, a huge monument on two wheels, the ultimate Graal for the best collector: MV Agusta #199-001, the very first MV Agusta 4 cylinder road registered bike ever built, the very first of approx. 1200 other legendary MV/4 ever built from 1967 to 1977 ! Nothing less than the fully original, never restored and very well preserved MV Agusta #001, coming with its complete original paperwork as when sold new: original libretto, original 1967 MV Agusta invoice and much more… Definitely a unique opportunity to buy today, at a still reasonable price, the next M USD motorcycle !

Yes, exchange or part of exchange possible, an even more rare and unique opportunity for you to catch an absolute masterpiece of the MV Agusta legend, and more generally of the motorcycle history, without pulling money out of your pocket, but only some dusty stuff from your over filled garage why not…

So much to say about MV #001, its exceptional history, as far as its so well preserved original condition… Just one word, about the original varnish beautifully turned yellow with years , originally sprayed by the MV factory on engine #001 only: the strict same varnish used on some other legendary italian sports car’s early engines, like the first 1965 Lamborghini Miura prototype engine, to prevent possible oil porosity issues on the very first sandcast engine… A part of the legend I said…

No silly exchange offers please, only very serious and motivated requests will be answered with many detailed other pics…

One of the greatest historic motorcycle is available for sale today, waiting now for its new owner, it will have to be the most discerning collector, with the best motorcycles or even the most exclusive red cars all around, or the best museum only…

Finally, here is the good thought for the day: Count Agusta’s MV #199-001, the very first road registered 4 cylinder MV, would be perfect next to Enzo’s 166 Inter, the very first road registered V12 Ferrari… But it’ll be just too bad that finding the legendary 166 Inter # 001 promises to be an impossible task… otherwise for an obviously much more expensive amount anyway! 

1967 MV Agusta 600 Engine Detail

Less than 150 were made and all were painted black. Magni still makes a kit to convert the shaft-drive MVs to chain-drive, saving some weight and getting the bike closer to the spirit of the racing machines. Install the kit, swap in a simple round headlight and you’ll end up with a bike with that gorgeous sand-cast engine and an engine note to die for.

Just make sure you carefully box up those original parts…

-tad

1967 MV Agusta 600 R Front2

Teutonic Trackday Terror: 1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer for Sale

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer L Front

BMW’s boxer twins have long been associated with old men, heated grips, and hard luggage. But there have been racing Beemers as long as there have been Beemers and the quirky, shaft-drive “air-head” bikes are durable and can be extremely quick when properly prepared. This particular R-Series bike includes a veritable who’s-who of German race and top-shelf performance parts, with Silent Hektik twin-plug points-less electronic ignition [they also do Guzzis!], a Werner Fallert deep oil sump, restoration work by Hinrich Hinck, and uprated Lockheed brakes to replace the reportedly unimpressive stock front stoppers.

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer R Rear

The original listing also mentions Gus Kuhn, whose name is proudly displayed on the side of the bare-metal tank. Gus Kuhn was a British racer, tuner, and dealer during the 1950s and 1960s. Although he died in 1966, Gus Kuhn Motors successfully raced Nortons and BMWs, eventually becoming one of the top BMW dealers in the world. It’s not clear from the listing if this is an actual Gus Kuhn machine or one simply intended as a tribute.

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer for Sale

Gus Kuhn Endurance, Marzocchi Lockheed GP Kroeber, Silent Hektik ignition, short piston engine overhauled

We have bought this Endurance Racer in Great Britain. Together with our friend Hinrich Hinck we decided to restore this very nice classic racer. We wanted to get as possible a high degree of originality. But we also wanted to build a very good racing machine and together with the experienced Hinrich Hinck we have done it.

The result: engine overhauled by BMW engine specialist Israel with short piston, Fallert oil pan,  Lockheed GP brakes, Marzocchi front fork, 18 inch rim, Kröber rev counter, aluminium fuel tank, Silent Hektik ignition, double spark,

Now it is ready to race for classic events.

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer Engine Detail

Please note that the bike currently resides in Germany but, since it’s in no way road-legal, at least there’s no question as to whether or not it can be registered here in the US. There’s plenty of time left on the listing, with six days still to go, and bidding has not hit the reserve. At just over $3,000 that’s no surprise. Given the components, preparation, and that gorgeous bare-aluminum tank, this should be worth double that figure, assuming the right eclectic buyer can be found.

-tad

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer L Side

Raw Elegance: 1977 MV Agusta 750S America for Sale

1977 MV Agusta 750S America L Side Front

It really doesn’t matter if Honda’s new RC213V will be beaten by a bone-stock ZX-10 in every quantifiable measure of performance. It also really doesn’t matter how much it will cost: you probably couldn’t afford one and they’re all spoken for, anyway. And that’s the point: much like today’s MV Agusta 750S America, the RCV has a direct link to Honda’s MotoGP hardware and represents a blue-chip investment, and a one-of-a-kind experience for the most well-heeled enthusiasts, regardless of performance.

1977 MV Agusta 750S America R Side

Certainly, the 750S wasn’t the lightest or the most powerful bike available at the time. Saddled with a heavy, power-sapping shaft-drive system that helped the America weigh in at a Rubenesque 560lbs wet and dragged around by a mere 75hp, performance was certainly brisk, but nothing particularly impressive. But people plumping for this bike likely weren’t concerned about the ultimate performance: they wanted looks, sound, and feel, and they got that in spades. Comparing it to other bikes of the period, you can see that it has presence, and if you’ve been weaned on modern four-cylinder motorcycles, nothing can prepare you for the rough metallic shriek these machines make.

1977 MV Agusta 750S America Gauges

Originally displacing a shade under 750 at 743cc’s, the America featured, as you would expect, a bigger, bored-out 788cc engine for moar powar… It also moved the gearshift to the left to suit a less European clientele. But the engine was otherwise unchanged: the sand-cast four was sophisticated and smooth, with a cam-driven geartrain and an overall width less than a Honda CB400.

1977 MV Agusta 750S America R Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1977 MV Agusta 750S America for Sale

Frame# 221017
Engine# 221017
2,770 miles
NYS Title

Original, un-restored and in beautiful condition. Not only one of the lowest mileage Americas in existence, but probably the best one in original condition. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better one on this planet. The bike is absolutely stunning. and drives as beautifully as it looks. When the bike is idling it purrs like a cat, and when you hit the throttle it roars like a lion. It’s one of my favorite bikes of all time to ride. The 4-cylinders are so smooth and capable with or without passenger.

This bike will not disappoint.

Stored in climate-controlled space. The bike is located in downtown Manhattan. I don’t have any videos of the bike running but it sounds amazing.

1977 MV Agusta 750S America L Side Rear

While I appreciate Instagram as much as the next guy and this bike does look cool in the pics, I’d appreciate a less… saturated set of images. But the bike does look to be in very nice shape, excepting what appears to be some oil or fuel on the outside of the engine. Or is that just some Instagram-y filter effect?

1977 MV Agusta 750S America Engine

Obviously, this is a serious amount of money for a motorcycle: bidding is currently north of $55,000 and there’s still plenty of time left on the auction. That money could buy you a whole collection of cool motorcycles, and that’s exactly what I’d do with that lump of cash. But for those who want the most sophisticated machine the 1970’s had to offer from one of the most exotic brands of all time, there’s really not much to compare.

-tad

1977 MV Agusta 750S America L Side

Eine Sehr Praktische Fahrrad: 1975 BMW R90S for Sale

1975 BMW R90S L Side Front

By the early 1970’s BMW was saddled with a very stuffy image that was in real need of an update. BMW’s were unsexy. They were bikes for old men. If story that sounds familiar, maybe it will help to think of today’s R90S as the S1000RR of the early 1970’s.

In the immediate postwar period, manufacturers proliferated and churned out cheap transportation by the bucketload, so Europeans could get to work efficiently and affordably. But by the late 60’s things had begun to shift and, with the rise of the Japanese, who were churning out cheap, highly sophisticated motorcycles by the bucketload, BMW was facing a bit of an identity crisis, much in the way that Harley Davidson has in recent years, with their fanbase slowly aging out of motorcycles entirely.

Or just buying cars instead.

1975 BMW R90S Side Rear

The result of BMW’s re-imagining was this stylish machine. It was based on BMW’s proven platform, with the usual host of hot-rod updates to improve performance. A pair of Dell’Orto carbs and higher-compression pistons were fitted, and the 898cc pushrod, OHV engine was a bored out version of the earlier 750 and the engine featured fairly oversquare dimensions. It added up to 67hp and, put through a five-speed transmission, meant a top speed in the neighborhood of 125mph, a very fast neighborhood at the time. For a big sportbike, the BMW was relatively light at 474lbs wet.

1975 BMW R90S R Side Engine

The stylish bikini fairing allowed BMW to compliment the usual tach, speedo, and warning lights with an analogue clock and a volt meter, while twin discs provided improved stopping power over other BMW models, although that wasn’t saying much, and even these upgraded brakes were considered the R90S’s weakest characteristic.

 

1975 BMW R90S R Side Rear

As with Moto Guzzis of the period, the image of the shaft-driven BMW was more touring than sport, but the R90S was successful in competition: in the USA, the American Motorcycling Association organized a new race series for “Superbikes” and the R90S placed first and second in the very first race. But for all the sporting competence, BMW couldn’t completely shake their practical image, and it still featured low-maintenance shaft-drive, would take a set of hard luggage, had impressive range, and could comfortably cruise all day at 80. It was supremely competent, but still just a little bit uptight…

From the original eBay listing: 1975 BMW R90S for Sale

First titled 5/29/1975 in Michigan

Stainless spokes, good tires and battery, K&N air filter

Original large tool kit/roll, tire pump and owners manual

Great running -excellent engine idle

Serviced at BMW Daytona Beach 

Always garaged and covered: no damage, no crashes, no issues

Clock is not working-may be disconnected from battery

Have 2 keys and 2 key blanks, 2 oil filters

Runs like new

1975 BMW R90S Gauges

Geez, “BRAKE FAILURE”?! That’s a terrifying warning light! With 26,000 miles on the clock, this example is very clean and relatively low-mileage: these can and do rack up serious, continent-crossing distances quite regularly. Bidding is up to almost $8,500 with the Reserve Not Met. These are on the rise in terms of value, but I wonder where this one is priced, and whether or not the seller is aiming a bit too high, too soon…

-tad

1975 BMW R90S 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

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