Matteucci Garage Guzzi O2
By Ross Sharp - 25 Dec 14
When was the last time you had a proper cappuccino? I'm not talking one of those 3 pint paper cups of luke warm, slightly beige milk with a stupid shaped dusting of brown stuff on top. Or indeed a frothy mess of burnt bitterness tempered by the syrupy sweetness from an entire sugar beat plantation. Diminutive in size, perfect in it's effect, a proper cappuccino needs to be experienced by all at least once; preferably served by a lifelong purveyor of caffeine in some unpronounceable Italian hilltop village. Whilst listening to the pinking and crackling of your motorcycle as it cools down. Marco Matteucci is a man that appreciates form and function don't necessarily require an abundance of cubic capacity or cavalli di potenza to be enjoyable. By day he is a photographer and graphic designer but for the last 16 months has been on a motorcycle building adventure, creating machines that he wants to ride and taking each project as a step into the unknown. O2, as in oxygen not the big tent in London, was the inspiration for this bike. He is an arty type, so bare with me. This latest masterpiece began life as Tonti framed Moto Guzzi V35 TT from 1985. The traditional V-twin in this case is just 349cc, but with short gear ratios driving the shaft drive transmission this 'Guzzi packs small punches of aural pleasure, perfect for winding up to that sinewy mountain road. The reduced bulk of course results in nimble behaviour not matched by the more portly members of the family so Marco decided that a degree of off-road capability was called for. We are not talking dune-bashing the Dakar here but anyone who's been to Italy can attest that the unpaved white roads are to a foreigner, one of the country's finest assets. Starting with the frame, Marco removed the entire back portion leaving the rear end looking like a machine from some decades earlier. The shock linkage is handmade and stealthy to match the svelte proportions of the rest of the bike. The wafer-like mudguards are also one-offs with lightweight brackets. The handlebars didn't escape the bespoke obsession either, they're hand-bent. Rather than plonk any old fuel tank on top, this one was fabricated using traditional panel beating methods with a two-tone paint job to accentuate the knee scallops. The sumptuous looking leather saddle gives a period appearance and doubles as an excellent hiding place for the less aesthetically pleasing wiring and battery. And yes, it is of course hand crafted using fine Italian hide. The tail light is incorporated into the seat, form and function married neatly. One thing about older bikes that is often overlooked is the brakes. How is that men have walked on the moon, we have used the internet for decades but yet it is only recently that brakes have been joined the 21st century. The 320mm disc and 4-pot caliper fitted here is nothing ground breaking (not intended) but certainly makes the decent back into town a less hair-raising experience. And, installed here looks as if it should have been a factory fit. Black powdered wheels and elegantly sized knobblies add a whiff of mean to the baby blue colour scheme. The engine has been stripped, cleaned and lovingly detailed; the usual cone filters proved a little too mass market so Marco machined his own aluminium trumpets with mesh ends. The exhaust is short and sweet in both looks and sound, letting the little pistons make the most of their endeavours. It would seem a shame to get this gorgeous bike dirty but if I was living in Italy again I would certainly head to my favourite hilltop, to sip a proper cappuccino and share the visual and audio enjoyment with the other bikers who have never heard of Starbucks. To keep an eye on Marco's next project head over to his website or for detailed pictures of the build try Facebook.