We were just leaving the Ace Cafe on Italian Bike Sunday when this rumbling Guzzi rolled-in. A stunning ’79 Mark II Guzzi LeMans, stripped-down to the bare bones, and fettled to an extreme level of detail. Most of us appreciate the cafe concept that less is more, but this LeMan cafe racer really is epitome of bare-bones biking, with nothing on the bike that doesn’t need to be there, and everything that is present is pristine and high quality.
Nick’s been putting this bike together for a couple of years, and all his hard work has paid off. Alongside the 1970s Ducati 900ss the Moto Guzzi leMans says everything you need to say about cafe racers, old, new or retro-restored, in steel, oil and alu: Purposeful, Pretty and Brutal, all in one.
Nick is essentially a Londoner, albeit relocated a little up the A1, and as a child of the late 60s has been riding bikes since he passed his test back in 1980, and even back then showed superb taste in bikes, owning a 900ss Darmah and a Mk 1 LeMans which he took him to the races at the Isle of Man, and beyond.
The influence for this build came from the new cafe/custom scene, reigniting his passion for these old Italian beauties, and of course that infamous David poster (which we have all lusted after). The bike was built, in true Bike Shed style, by Nick himself, in a lockup garage with no lights or power.
The tank came from the infamous John’s Tank shop and the rest is just Nick’s hard labour and attention to detail. As an ex-dispatch rider he clearly knows how to keep a bike on the road under duress.
Been there, done that, got the T-shirt (and the bike)
Unsurprisingly the bike was a top 12 finalist in the BGBT Carole Nash custom bike competition and stars as “April” in the CN Calendar. But it wasn’t built for show – this bike was built to be ridden, and Nick has enjoyed every turn of the wheel over 1300 miles so far. We also look forward to seeing the bike on a track day sometime soon – as you know, we’re big fans of taking cafe racers home to the race track.
Meanwhile, Nick, if you ever get bored of this bike and want to build another, I think I may just know of someone who might take this one off your hands…