I’m a sucker for a Guzzi, especially when Jez from La Busca Motorcycles has built it. And I especially like it when Jez makes my life easier and puts a decent build story together to go with the bike. So I’ll let him tell you all about it.
“Each time I start a Guzzi there’s a design at the back of my mind that I’ve always wanted to build, the machine I’d create for myself. Having built several cafés and roadsters I thought it was time to give this particular itch a scratch and get down to it. Fortunately an ideal donor bike came up in the form of a ’94 Strada 750 with ridiculously low milage. Being a big fan of the mid-block 750 engine, once the deal was done I set to work on the teardown.”
“The design I had in mind was for a functional, rugged looking machine with touches of the early Guzzi machines from the late 20s and 30s, the build would incorporate the developments I’d worked on from my previous Guzzi’s, giving a natural progression towards a very simple, easy machine both in terms of ride and maintenance.”
“Some of the main criteria was for the bike involved decent tank range and luggage carrying capability. With this in mind, a 17 litre fuel tank in a classic tear drop style was fitted along with a solo seat and rear luggage rack. The frame was stripped, strengthened and re-worked to incorporate the rear loop which would carry the rear fender assembly, designed to give maximum protection to the rider, gearbox and engine.”
“Electrics were replaced with a full Moto Gadget system, the clock being set into a large headlight from an old Triumph Thunderbird mounted high to maintain continuity with that early look. Handmade panels with a subliminal 3D effect hide the main electrical components and battery, keeping the weight along the frames tilt axis to maintain steady, accurate handling. The original Motplat ignition was replaced with new electronic ignition from Sachse, which comes with a choice of ignition curves and is a very reliable unit.”
“The bike runs a Pirelli MT23 rear and a CSM front , the square cut trail style tyres help retain the look I was seeking and fit well with the all round feel of the bike, this is a machine designed for taking your time on and so the trade off in grip compared to a more road orientated tyre was deemed acceptable. FAC front forks and Koni rear shocks give a smooth ride suspension wise and keep the bike planted through the bends. De-linked brakes provide a more conventional set up that keeps the visual lines clean, and maintenance easy.”
“The engine and gearbox had done so little mileage wise that only basic servicing was necessary, carbs were re-jetted to suit the La Busca Slinger exhausts that have been developed over several builds. This system give the build a major weight saving and minimal look while adding serious grunt and an awesome exhaust note to the throttle.”
“Overall this build presented many challenges and I can see why I kept it on the back burner for a while…..in some ways it just wasn’t ready to be built until now. Having said that, completion of the bike has given me immense satisfaction, it’s a simple, easy to work on machine designed to travel the miles in a retro-venture fashion.”
I’m finding it very difficult to resist the temptation to hit the eBay in search of a V9 for such a makeover. Stupid London and the impending LEZ situation! But, if you live in a sensible place outside the A406 then do yourself a give Jez a shout, Black Betty is for sale to make way for another project. He’s found another itch to scratch…. this bike building business is more addictive than crystal meth, even for those doing it for a living.
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