1976 Moto Guzzi Custom
Price: $10 900 ≈ €10017 ≈ £8583
Item location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, US
The time has come for me to sell my much-loved 1976 Moto Guzzi Café Racer, affectionately named Loretta.
I am a motorcyclist of over 30 years, and tend to gravitate to BMW and Guzzi bikes. Professionally, I am an Industrial Designer. I love to work with my hands, and have accumulated a set of tools and skills that would rival all but the finest boutique motorcycle customizers. This project has been ongoing over the last five years or so, never with an eye towards cost, but rather I have attempted to create the Guzzi I always wanted. Because of my job, I have fairly high construction standards. If I didn't like the way something was going, I simply rebuilt it until I was satisfied. I have a bit of an obsessive streak, and I went to some lengths to find parts and pieces which I thought embodied a character that was uniquely Guzzi. Specifically, I have combined parts and features from three iconic roadster models, the V7 Sport, Le Mans 1, and 1000S. Some parts are quite difficult to source. In the case of the handlebars, I found what was almost certainly the last set in the US. The carbs are special: the almost unobtainable “crank-top” Dell Ortos required a full year daily searching. I finally found them on the German eBay. Likewise the original seat pan took a year to find, and the V7 Sport style rear fender took the first five months of this year to source. Loretta was purchased as a derelict Convert. Beaten-up and missing parts, she had accumulated an impressive 88,000 miles. Apparently, the owner had died and she hadn't run in 20 years. Some fettling got her running, but also revealed she was almost completely worn out. With the exception of the rims and spokes, every single nut, washer, bolt, wire, stamping and casting has been disassembled, obsessively cleaned, and reconditioned or upgraded. I've put about 1000 trouble-free miles on her since the rebuild. Parts listed below as “new” were new as of 2017. Parts listed as “NEW” were new this year. This is not a garage queen, but a daily driver. I will be continuing to add miles and tinker during this listing. She starts instantly hot or cold, idles well, keeps the battery charged, shifts better than most any vintage Guzzi you will ride, stops better than virtually any bike from the era, and has fully rebuilt and dialed-in suspension. But that is just the basics. What sets this bike apart from most custom Guzzi's is the drivetrain. Firstly, Loretta has been fitted with a RAM lightened flywheel and clutch. This modification alone completely changes the character of the engine. Secondly, I've gone through maybe a dozen jetting changes on the Dell Orto PHF 36 carbs, and these are now on the rich side of perfect. The “crank tops” on these carbs feature a mechanism that opens the throttle slide faster than the twist-grip turns. Also keep in mind that these carbs are fitted with accelerator pumps, giving a very urgent engine response to relatively light throttle blips. The engine also has a “torque” camshaft from HMB Guzzi in Germany, as well as new valves, new seats, racing valve springs and full top end reconditioning from Bombar's Beemers. Air enters through a beautiful set of CNC turned aluminum velocity stacks also from HMB Guzzi, and spent gasses exit through a stainless Mistral exhaust system. The heads on the Convert are the “small valve”, and the piston are the larger diameter on the standard stroke, giving 995cc of displacement. This combination produces a lot of instantaneous torque. She revs eagerly to the redline. No pops, no backfires, just a happy engine. This is NOT your typical slow-revving tractor motor. I spent a great deal of time optimizing the gearbox, replacing all the bearings, gaskets, seals, main shaft, and fasteners. Perhaps more importantly, I spent several hours shimming the clearances until they were on the tight side of perfect. The result is a box that shifts easily and quietly. Rarely a missed shift. Never a false neutral. But the best part is the low-ratio rear drive. I purchased the gearset through Stein-Dinse in Germany, and took my time installing it, having ordered a complete set of shims to make sure the ring and pinion gears were properly aligned. And once I put a hundred miles on it, I took the time to remove, disassemble and inspect the wear pattern, only to find the setup was perfect. What's it like to ride? Compared to the stock '76 BMW R90/6 I had in my garage last week, piloting Loretta is akin to driving around a big-block Nova with a 4.11rear end. This torque-monster engine, light clutch, pumper carbs, slick transmission, and low ratio rear drive is far more sprinter than tourer. Though it is happy to chuff around in top gear at 30mph, it is practically begging you shift down, open the throttle and bask in the glory of its barbaric exhaust yalp, unmuffled intake moan, and (for the time) brutal acceleration. Pure smiles. The other side of riding Loretta is a bit like dating a Supermodel. People stare at you. Folks stop you at the gas station. Going to hardware store invariably means a conversation with an admirer. You do get used to it. I've started the listing at considerably less than I've spent in parts alone, not counting the cost of the original bike.
Frame: Floorboards removed. Lower Frame rails de-tabbed and powder coated a medium flakesilver. Battery relocated to under transmission Rear Brake master Cylinder relocated to right rearset Very trick and expensive crank-mount regulator and rectifier Remainder of electrics relocated to a custom aluminum panunder seat Frame detabbed and powder coated green similar to Guzzi1000SCenter Stand Removed new Guzzi Le Mans 1 style side stand installed new Tarozzi Rear-setsnew Steering Head Bearings Swingarm powder coated a medium flake silver. new Swingarm Bearings new Swingarm Bearing Covers Frame and engine numbers match Fork: Lower sliders have been shaved. The upper portion has been polished while the lower portion has been powder coated gloss black. new 35mm Guzzi Fork Tubesnew Fork Seals NEW Dust Caps new Wirth Progressive Springs NEW custom turned billet aluminum 19mm biasing sleeves NEW Tarozzi Fork Brace New FAC Dampers Lower Triple Clamp has been powder coated gloss BlackUpper Triple Clamp has been shaved and reshaped. The handlebar mounts have been removed. Front handlebar mount holes welded up. Rear holes have become the mounts for the instrument cluster. The whole thing re-shaped to resemble the Guzzi LeMans I triples, then Powder coated gloss black. new Stainless Fasteners throughout Original Front Fender, cut down. Fork tubes raised 19mm through triple clamps Rear Suspension: new YSS emulsion shocks, adjustable for preload and rebound ramping. new, longer YSS shock eyes to maximize rear ride height Front Brake Brakes De-Linked new 14mm Reproduction Brembo “Round Reservoir” Front Master Cylinder Original '70's Brembo F09 calipers, disassembled, stripped, blasted, powder coated, with new seals, new pistons, new bleeder valves. new Front Brake Light Switch Original Guzzi 750S Brake Splitter new Braided Stainless Brake Lines NEW 300mm Floating Stainless brake rotors from HMB Guzzi NEW Brembo Organic pads new Stainless Fasteners throughout Rear Brake Brakes De-Linked new 11mm Brembo Master Cylinder mounted on custom bracket new Brembo F08 caliper new Rear Brake Light Switch new Braided Stainless Brake Lines NEW Stainless Vented rear disc NEW Brembo Brake pads Brake Caliper Bracket detabbed and powder-coated medium flake silver Handlebar and Instruments new Reproduction Guzzi V7Sport “Swan Neck” Clip-ons. new Reproduction Guzzi V7Sport headlight brackets new Headlight Shell new Headlight new Black Anodized Instrument Cluster, with LED indicators for oil, neutral, high beam, and turn signals NEW custom Speedhut 100mm Custom Electronic Speedometer. I kept the original mileage at 88,000. NEW custom transmission-mount electronic speedometer sensor NEW 80mm VEGA White-Face Mechanical Tachometer in the style of Guzzi Lemans III (I dropped this while installing it, and it “works” but not well. The needle moves, but will not move fast enough to accurately reflect quick changes in engine RPM. new bar-end “Hella-style” turn signals new mirrors new Handlebar switch clusters, “Domino.', wired into original style Guzzi multi-pin connectors All wiring very carefully and professionally completed, using solder for all connections and heat shrink tubing. Original lever perches stripped and powder coated. Original Guzzi vintage style levers Original Tommaselli 2C throttle new throttle cables new Clutch Cable new Grips Seat Original pan from a Guzzi V7 Sport. It was cut and welded to fit the long tank, then powder coated. Finally it was sent to Sargent Cycle in Florida to add the upholstery. This “dual seat” was made specifically so I could take my daughter for ice cream. Also there is a single “café” seat that goes with the bike. It is from Radical Guzzi in Germany. I rode it with the single seat for about two years, before practicality won out. It is significantly less comfortable for my 49 year old body with replacement hip. But it looks cool. I've included a photo with this seat sitting on the frame. Fuelnew Aluminum “Endurance” tank for Tonti-framed Guzzi's from Tab II Classics in England. new Monza Style cap new Petcocks new decals are from a Guzzi 1000SVintage Carburetors are Dell Orto PHM 38's with the exceptionally difficult to find “Crank Top” as specified on the Guzzi Le Mans1. Carbs were disassembled, vapor blasted, and all internal parts (with the exception of the slides and the crank levers) were replaced. The acceleration pumps, jets, gaskets, floats, springs, filters, and screws are all new. NEW Aluminum Velocity stacks new Intake flanges new Intake boots Engine The engine was 100% disassembled. All parts were vapor blasted. All New gaskets All fasteners replaced with Stainless Steel versions Crank Reground Cylinders bores checked and honed. These are cast-iron bores, not the chrome bores used son some other models. New Big-End Bearings New Conrod Bolts and nuts new Rings new Circlips new Oil Pump new high PSI Oil Pump Pressure Relief Valve new “Torque” Cam from HMB Guzzi new Cam Bearing Holder new Valves new Valve Seats new Valve Springs and keepers new Cam Chain new Cam Chain Tensioner new “Lemans-style” Crankcase Breather new External oil Lines new Oil Pressure Switch new Sump Extender new External oil Filter new RAM Lightened Flywheel new Starter Transmission Convert Transmission Removed Donor 5 Speed Transmission Sourced Completely Stripped and Vapor-Blasted RAM Performance Clutch new Mainshaft All new Bearings All new gaskets All new Stainless Hardware The transmission was VERY carefully shimmed to get it perfectly within “performance” spec. It shifts better than virtually any vintage Guzzi you will ride. Rear Drive Convert Ring and Pinion Gears Removed Completely Stripped and Vapor-Blasted “Sidecar” special low ratio gears fitted Rear Fender NEW V7 Sport Style Rear Fender new V7 Sport Style Taillight.
The carbs are a matched set of vintage Dell Orto PHF 36's. I mistakenly labeled them at PHM 38's above.
The front brake calipers are Brembo F08, NOT F09. This will be an important distinction to some.
This bike is equipped with electronic ignition. I believe it is a Dyna III system, which was purchased new. What is important to note is how well the ignition is timed. Guzzi flywheel ignition stampings are notoriously vaguely placed. The only proper way is to find TDC for each cylinder via a tool made from a lengthened sparkplug and a degree-wheel. The evening I timed this thing, I was feeling especially obsessive, and I spent two full hours tweaking the timing on each cylinder until it was dean-nuts perfect. I could not have been off by more than a tenth of a degree. I haven't touched it since.
The horns are reproduction Italian units of the kind specified on Guzzi Converts. They were also purchased new, at considerable expense (for horns). This year, they have begun to sound a bit weak, so I will be replacing the horn relay before auction's end.
All other electronic functions and instruments work perfectly-- all switches, all indicator lamps, all lights.
Added the horn relay. Changed all fluids: front brake, rear brake, rear drive, transmission, engine oil, fork oil. Changed engine oil filter. She's ready to go!