Basic Guzzi info, anyone?
I have been riding and wrenching on bike for 39 years, but I have never owned a Moto Guzzi and I think it is time to start looking for one! I am doing my homework and reading all I can about them, but was wondering if any of you folks could point me toward certain models and years that are known to be good ones.
Also, if you could help me out with critical things to look for in a used Guzzi, tht would be great. I am aware of all the usual items common to all bikes, but not versed in Guzzi mechanical history (yet).
For reference, I am not a racer and am looking for a basic simple bike (kind of like an Italian version of my '73 R75/5). I am heavy, weighing in at 250 with gear so prolly need to be looking at fairly strong pullers, engine wise.
As for cost, willing to spend up to $4K or so.
Thanks for your time and help! Like I say, I have been reading a lot, but that isn't is good as your "real world" advice!
Are you looking for newer bikes or older bikes??
The newer cruisers like the EV:
Or the classic Eldorado:
Or an early Tonti Frame Guzzi:
Good power, neutral handling, very well made. I had a /5 and my Quota is just like that, only prettier and just as reliable.
Out of my sphere (enjoyed the bikes in the day, but BMs more practical at time). Famous book "Guzziology" best first step, possibly.
The T-3 and follow models are great engines and are hung in the Tonti frame, a very stable ride, various models used the Tonti and the latest Touring rigs still use an updated version of it.
I am not saying the Loops framed rigs (Ambos and Eldos) are not cool and all that rather I put a few miles on my Guzzis and have come to prefer the engine with a filter.
Models include the 850 T-3, SP 1000, V1000 G-5, California models since about the late 70's, early 80's. All of these are very strong engines, trannys and running gear.
These can be found for under the 4K that you have set for a target...
If the PO of a Guzzi that you are looking at is a wrench of any degree then you can ask questions about the maintenance and glean from that the amount of love that it has seen. They are really fairly simple to work on needing only valve adjustments, oil changes and good upkeep to be a very reliable ride.
If you find one that has been neglected then there are other points to look for... Has the front engine bolt ever been out of the mount...? Was it lubricated when it was...? They can be a bear to get out if not, lots of heat up there and they just become one with the mount lugs in the engine and frame.
Front end components can be less than great in the T-3 through SP series however, the FAC dampers are a good upgrade and Progressive springs, depending on your riding style. Shocks are also a personal preference thing so you may want to dial those in to your riding style.
The dual point ignitions are very reliable as well, Dyna III still makes an electronic trigger for the big block Guzzi along with hot coils if you like.
If some one has let the engine lug in a Guzzi then drive train takes it hard, or can I guess I should say. While the engine has bags of torque and can pull a house off the foundation, they prefer to be revved into the sweet spot where they make the best power. You do not need to be a slave to the tach but you will learn to let it spin up into a spot where you will enjoy the ride better than lugging it. The trans, final drive and u-joint will last longer too.
Whenever you change a rear tire, grease the splines at the final drive. Change the oil on schedule, do the valve once in a bit, ride it... Have fun.
Let us know what you find and we can pick it apart with you...
The last of the loop frames had a single disc brake up front and that would be my choice.
The loop frame engines have 36# flywheels and this causes them to wind up slow, be slow shifting, be very smooth at idle, be very controllable on loose surfaces or climbing steep inclines at slow speeds, get good gas mileage, have great mid-range torque(for their displacement), be very gentle on all drive componts down stream (clutch splines, u-joint, gearbox).
I put alot of miles on a '79 MG 1000SP. Loved it and its heavy but somewhat lighter flywheel.
BUY GUZZIOLOGY and read about the rear wheel cush drive. Mine was frozen to the rim. This helped cause damage to the clutch splines.
Guzziology is a great book once you have a Guzzi, in the shopping/thunking stage I recommend Greg Fields' "Moto Guzzi Big Twins" to get a feel for the history and lineage of Moto Guzzi.
Holy freakin' shite!!! I just checked Amazon and the CHEAPEST copy of "Big Twins" is $55, damn near $200 for the expensive one. Three months ago it was on the clearance rack for cheap.
I need another beer....
Geese can be great bikes.
Once you dial one in...
Some of them take thousands of mile to do that.
You can split the older big engine bikes by frames
Loop, Tonti, V11(AKA DR. John) and Spine (like the quota)
Loops are the classic old cop bike crusier frames
Tonti is the classic sporting frame (but it's also now the crusier frame)
And the others are the newer bikes.
Generally the newer bikes work a little better as bases (squared off heads v round heads)
The 850T3 and it's kin is guzzi's answer to BMW
The ride on a goose it's pretty close to that of a BMW
A little shaft jack, twist the throttle and the bike twists
Most guzzi throttles are stiff. And the trannys
have often been called agricultural
Lots of false neutrals if your not carefull.
The "wiring","switches" and air-boxes leave lots to be desired
But for style and cool factor guzzi's are great
There's a shirt out there in guzzi land that reads
You meet the weirdest people on a guzzi.
And it's true.
Get a late Loop. Deeper spline on transmission hub, Bosch electrics, disc brake, as well as the option for going with the tried and true Dyna ignition.
I'm on my second Guzzi...a '70 Ambo(doesn't have the above-mentioned features). It's slow as F#@$. It shifts like a pig, the front brake sucks a$$. It is, far and away, the most pleasurable bike I own...and I got a couple of airheads, a duck, and a 950ADV.
My wife has made it clear that when she leaves me, she gets the Guzzi.
You have to watch some of the old ones. Guzzi put chrome bores in a lot of their bikes in the 70's. Those bores are now flaking and pitting and need to be replace. Many have already but when I was looking for mine, I found 3 that had not be replaced yet. So you are looking at 800+ for that job if you do it yourself, new nikasil jugs etc. Plus I've heard that the replacement jugs are hard to come by right now, stock seems to be low. Not that they are becoming obsolete, just hard to get right now.
The 850 jugs may not be obsolete but they are not available. All suppliers are sold out. Only Cycle Garden is selling the 1000cc big bore kits that I know of, tho you can many times resleeve the cylinders - if - you can get pistons!
Is that in Oregon? If so.....Guzziology and a great bunch of Mechanics.
Before I became a Guzzi owner I read all I could on this forum.
Thanks everyone for all your great information!!!! :clap I have been reading so much that it's all kind of a blur, but in time I will get all the information properly filed in my brain. That's why hearing form you guys is so helpful!
Yeah, the Willamette (rhymes with damn it) valley is in Western Oregon. Right now we are having one hell of a storm, and the waves on the Pacific have been measured at 70 feet. Roads closed and power out throughout the area.
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