I have owned a couple of European bikes, well…a little more than a couple and have loved them all. Maybe not all. But one that I have not had parked in my barn is a Moto Guzzi. I have ridden Moto Guzzi’s and throughly loved the feeling of that motor rocking size to side at a stop, the locomotive like pull from a stop(actually throughout the whole power band) and actually how easy they ride.
Years back I rode a Guzzi 850 LeMans and loved it. It did everything I thought an older Italian motorcycle would do. Compared to my CB750F this thing was almost slow, but after a full day of riding I realized that speed isn’t everything. Wait a minute was I nuts?!? I loved going fast, I also owned a Kawasaki H2 750…damn fast. But, the ability to go through corners at speed with complete confidence, mid way through the turn you just eased the throttle open and that locomotive of an engine just pulled you out and you were ready for the next turn.
However I bought a Ducati Darmah. I don’t regret the decision at all. But I still want a Guzzi LeMans.
The LeMans started in 1976 as an 850 which is a good motor, a little bikini fairing, low bars kind of a Sportbike but with only 53 HP there was no way it was going to compete with the Japanese. Actually Guzzi was competing with Ducati and Laverda. And it held it’s own…sort of. The original LeMans sold rather well, then Moto Guzzi decided to change it.
The LeMans was bumped up to 1000cc but for some reason or another it got…slower. Ah, we here in the States can thank our ever thoughtful EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for that. The V7 Sport had more HP and was quicker, but the LeMans was still popular.
After a couple of years the LeMans actually morphed into more of Sports Tourer than a Sportbike. Guzzi changed the fairing and other bits and pieces and it seemed to wear it’s Sport Tourer suit quite well. The suspension is firm, it has kind of ‘medium’ steering (not too heavy not too light…just stable as can be), the clutch however is a bit heavy, Oh well…put on your big boy pants and get used to it. But, the big Guzzi has as much torque as a Santa Fe locomotive and boy does that make riding one fun!
Early model Moto Guzzi LeMans’ had a bit of a bad reputation for a rather poor fit and finish. They would rust easily, frame paint would peel, let’s just say they didn’t age all that well (there are few Hollywood actresses that fit in that category as well). Oh well.
I found a real sweetheart of of one this morning on ebay. It has been restored and looks beautiful. The seller says the bike is Concours ready…OK. If you’re going to show it ride it to the show…no trailers, this bike deserves better. It is a real beauty and would be a great traveler. Click on the pics below for more info and pictures. Oh and here is another cool thing about this bike, there were less than 400 produced, I wonder how many are still being ridden?