Ever since I was introduced to a high school friend of my sister’s Moto Guzzi, of the same vintage as this one, I’ve always had a special fondness for them. When my sister first told me about his bike, I was maybe nine or so, and I thought she was saying “Motor Goosie”. Are you sure, Ruth? That was a new one for me. But when I saw it at a football game, I read its name, and fell in love.
I shot a really fine Guzzi a few years back, but never got around to it, like so many hundreds of other cars and trucks and bikes and trains. Maybe one of these days. But in the meanwhile, I’ll just say that it’s a bit disconcerting to hear a bike that sounds so much like a Harley be so different in almost every way, except of course for the vee twin engine and its distinctive potato-potato idle.
If you’re into bikes, you absolutely have to ride one someday.
The best way I can describe a Guzzi is by calling it a Harley-Davidson that handles like a Ducati. Or (if you’re looking at the the more LeMans inspired side of the line) a Ducati that’s as comfortable cruising as a Harley Davidson.
Amazingly, I’ve yet to own one. Mainly because, in the Richmond area, dealer support was thin (to put it kindly). Now that the local Triumph dealership also carries Guzzi, that may change. Finally getting a chance to drop by the place, with the intention of looking at a new Triumph (remember, I’ve been a year and a half without one, which is something like the first time in 25 years) . . . . . and I spent more time at the Guzzi side of the showroom.
The thing about those old Guzzis (and BMWs too) is how low the entire bike is. it’s almost like the rider is sitting on a balance beam (if you’ll forgive the Olympic reference). These bikes aren’t cruisers in the modern sense; the Italians wouldn’t make a bike on which the rider’s cg would impair handling through curves just so he/she could sit back on a 27″ high seat in a relaxed, foot forward position.
Another big fan here. I spent several weeks debating whether or not to get a used V50 while living in SF in the 90’s. I think I ended up with a Kawasaki GPz550 instead but was sorely tempted…This one is a twin of what I was looking at.
Those were the days when Guzzi had a sudden flowering of modernized models with crisply creased, yet curvaceous bodywork, by grace of their new owner, Alejandro de Tomaso. That V-50 is a lovely little bike.
Oh yeah, a proper oriented v twin. I had a 1969 ex Los Angeles police bike for a while and it was cool although the seat was too low for me to be comfortable. Kinda slow but a decent cruiser. It was a mixup of technology, shaft drive and a belt driven generator. To this day I am not a fan of Magneti Marelli. The switchgear looked as if it was out of the stone age with replaceable contacts that were unobtainable. I still hit our local dealer and drool from time to time. The current Eldorados are sex on two wheels.
I share your fascination with getting a Moto Guzzi some day. Their basic configuration is like a mash-up a BMW and a Harley-Davidson, with fundamental flaws of both corrected — narrower than BMW’s wide flat twin, smoother than HD’s paint-shaker V-twins — and the designs add a dash of Italian style that is unlike either BMW functionalism or HD tradition and chrome. The extra effort that would be required to find a good used example, and to maintain and repair one, has been the only thing that has deterred me so far. One day …
You may be interested to know that the owner of the 1966 Ford F250 that I profiled several weeks ago also owns two Moto Guzzis, including a 1-of-50 special sports model. The two of you may have a lot in common!
Ever read “The Perfect Vehicle” by Melissa Holbrook Pierson? That book put me off Guzzis permanently. They are right up there with Knucklehead Harleys and vertical twin British bikes. Nice to look at, but someone else can deal with it.
I’ve had a couple of Honda CX500s, they share the Guzzi’s rotated V-twin. If you turned the idle way down it would potato-potato just like a Harley, but unlike a Harley it would rev to 9500 rpm.
My first bike was a CX500 – as well as the transverse V-twin, it also had shaft drive like the Goose. I bought it 30 years ago with 53,000 miles on it, and it took me across Europe and back twice. And yes, I was impressed that a pushrod engine could rev to almost 10k.
Very nice Motos ! .
L.A.P.D. rode these for years and they were quite sturdy and reliable , I went to some of the auctions when they sold them off and they were selling for $350 each , good running but all had dead batteries from sitting .
When the Central Automotive Shop closed up it’s ‘ Unit Rebuild ‘ section , a buddy of mine who’d worked there for decades gave me all the factory shop manuals and tools , he said the spare parts had all been tossed in the scrap metal bins as nobody wanted them (I doubt no one wanted them !) .
A few years later I bought a nice clean 1967 ‘Guzzi V7 Sport , it was fine Moto indeed .
The local Dealer was worse than useless , they were rude and only wanted to sell new bikes and parts .
Wait , I owned a Moto Guzzi in the late 70’s and I have to say it was not a quality product by any means. My sharp looking , black, 850T-3FB leaked oil , hated cold mornings, was prone to backfires, and the local dealer was less than I had hoped. Having owned two Honda’s before , I guess I was hoping for something similar, but with shaft drive. Even the switchgear on the Guzzi was unreliable and the printed markings on the switches soon wore off. It’s rare to see a Moto Guzzi , and my experience goes a long way to explaining why. After one year , I sold it and bought a used Honda CB750. I’ll put up with the chain hassle.
Any time I hear of these I’m remind of the Cake song “Rock and Roll Lifestyle” as one of the lines is “and how much did you pay for your bad Moto Guzzi?”