Some things look better naked. Stripped back with just the bare essentials on show. The trend for hiding everything, replacing lights with microscopic LEDs and banishing batteries and wires to ever tighter crevices has pushed builders to come up with increasingly creative solutions, but sometimes less isn’t necessarily more.
Some of us live in a nostalgic dreamworld, gazing back through rose tinted spectacles to a time where riders tucked behind proper fairings, the race track ahead illuminated by the amber glow of bulbous headlights. Back then it was functionality and speed that ruled the day. The Bol d’Or or Suzuka 8hrs in the 1970s must have been special to witness. Luckily, I’m not as old as some of the vari-focal sporting grandads in the Bike Shed so have to use Google and picture books to reminisce but there is something unique about those good old days.
John & Nico from Paris based outfit 4H10 are also spritely young chaps with a shared penchant for endurance racers from yesteryear. That said, the romance of urging a classic engine to fire-up is easily dampened by obstinate components that sought retirement a long time ago. Undeterred, their usual fare is a classic donor or well used basket case given the style treatment to suit the new wave scene. But this project led them down a different path. What to do you do with a new Moto Guzzi V7 with a meagre 50hp wheezing from its angular engine?
The guys took a trip to the fantastic Moto Guzzi museum in Mandello del Lario, up in the Italian Lakes. If you’re an Italian motorcycle fan then this a must-see on the factory trail, along with the Ducati factory in Bologna. Anyway, John & Nico came away from the tour inspired and got to work.
The fairing is from a 250cc bike that was kicking about the workshop. It’s been fairly heavily modified to fit and mounted using a fabricated framework, with holes cut allowing the ‘Guzzi’s heads to poke out. Being one of the last air cooled twins from a main manufacturer, a decent amount of fresh air is required to keep the motor within its operating temperature window. But never mind that, it looks the business. Engines should be seen, and heard, especially when this handsome and iconic.
Further cutting was needed to allow the exhaust to pass down the right hand side of the bike, again allowing more of the functional mechanicals to be on show. Ironically it was a customised Arrow stainless system from a V7 Scrambler that suited the build, with the single muffler mounted up-high on the tail, perfect for maintaining corner speed and removing concern for expensive metalwork dragging along the asphalt. Arrow not only produce quality pipes, but loud ones too, and the motor should have an extra couple of horsepower to compliment the speedy looks.
Nothing quite says seventies endurance like S.E.V. Marchal headlamps, especially with amber lenses, so the guys did the right thing and bolted a pair ahead of the fairing. This instantly wipes years off the box-fresh donor and screams racer.
Back in the day, a slightly curvier and more substantial tail was the preferred choice so John and Nico fabricated an aluminium unit with stop lights hidden behind a mesh grille. The seat is of course bespoke to this build and again echoes racers of old.
We love a fairing in the ‘Shed and are pleased to see them making a comeback. John & Nico have succeeded in not only building a great looking bike but have done so on a limited budget, saying “The other point was to create a custom motorycle at a non-crazy price. Bikes at 20k Euros are great but you can have a good looking bike at a much more affordable price”. Frankly, we think they are right on the money.
For more about the guys at 4H10 check out their pages on Bike Shed, or their comprehensive website, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Keep an eye out, this bike could be yours….after a road trip this summer the guys might be persuaded to part with their latest mistress.
Photos by David Marvier