By Anthony van Someren - 09 Jan 12
I've been obsessing about Moto Guzzi cafe racer's for a while now. It all started in about 1991 with an old mate of mine, Murph, a gifted Auzzie action-man, who seemed to go everywhere on a stunning blue 850 LeMans - way before cafe racers were on anyone's radar - unless you had a big quiff and rode and old Triton.
It was not unlike this one, but without the fairing (I think)...Murph was quick too, and made the old twin look a lot faster and more agile than they ever really were. He was even quicker on the various Ducatis he blagged and borrowed on various shoots - back in the day when making TV was a respectable business and people would actually give you stuff, hoping it might appear on screen. Anyway, I always loved that bike, and every couple of years I see Murph tearing past on his blue 850 - usually in a bomber jacket and an old white full face lid - and usually on Shepherds Bush roundabout, ripping past couriers and showing them how it's done. ... I was reminded of all this when Christian sent me pics of his lovingly put together build, featured on here a month ago - showing me again just me how purposeful and pretty Guzzi's could be. But things got a lot more serious, when I came across the bashed-up and muscular-looking Davida Guzzi at Rollerburn, in the flesh. What a stunner. It looked like a dirty punk-rock hooker from a scene in a bad Mad Max ripoff. In other words, she was rough, but I'd still want to have ridden her back to mine.
Bashed-up bikes like this are normally left in the car park - but this one stood out like a rediscovered ex-boxer-turned character-actor at a Hollywood movie premiere......It's not that I'm not happy with the Duc. That's staying, but the more work I do on it, the more precious I'm getting about it. With so much of the body work stripped-off, exposing more wiring and Italian chassis parts than Terblanche had ever intended, I hate riding her in the wet, so my thoughts have turned to selling my previously beloved Superduke R and using the funds to get myself a sorted Guzzi as my "hardy winter hack" - but with class... Something I wouldn't mind riding in the rain, and parking on Soho Square on a Saturday night without a lock. ...In theory, anyway. Now it's the turn of Tim and Kev at Spirit to wind me up, this time with drawings of thier take on the new(ish) Guzzi V7, above. I can practically see the build; all CNC milled brackets, with a Co-Built exhaust, black rims and spokes, sporting a MotoGadget clock and deep-painted carbon tail piece... The donor bike isn't so bad as it comes... They even made a posh one just for the likes of us - although it's much too shiny in the flesh. Having seen a few in the streets recenty - and now thier faired old-school version at the Milan show a few months ago, I'm even more determined to get a Guzzi. They just look sooooo right. ...Even in tacky photo shoots, with big shiny mirrors and ridden by wobbly models... So... A piece of cake, Surely? ...Buying an old 1980s or even 1990s donor bike should be easy, ...or so you'd have thought. I imagined I'd need maybe £2000 for a minter and then a couple more Gs to fix it up to a decent standard, somewhere between the style of Christian's build and Davida's bashed-up style, and hey presto: Timeless class in a bulletproof winter bike, complementing my love of V-Twins and cafe racers all in one, and providing a solid, loud, rude, daily city commuter. ...but in reality, they're not cheap, or even easy to find. ...So, would someone please come and buy this Superduke so I can get myself a nice little Guzzi.