Miami based Moto Studio have shot another stunning Guzzi across Bike Shed’s bows. We make no secret, or apologies, about our admiration for their work and have always clamoured to feature their creations when possible. For a background on the team behind the bikes check the Bike Shed archive here.
This 1980 Moto Guzzi 1000SP might be the latest to roll off the bench but it was in fact the first to project undertaken by Bruce McQuiston, Moto Studio’s founder, five years ago “this was simply a pet project, an outlet for my sculpture background and motor-head mind set. One day I had been scrolling through my phone when a friend asked about the work in progress photos of the bike. One thing lead to another and Moto Studio was born. The problem was the customer builds went to the front of the line and the Tonti had to wait.”
Last summer there was a slight chink in the workload and Bruce found enough bench time to reignite the ‘Moto Lino’ project (Lino Tonti created the beautifully simple frames that Guzzi used for decades, even today the factory use Tonti derived architecture). During this time a client popped by the workshop and fell in love with old SP, insisting it was finished for him to own and enjoy.
An in vogue MK I Le Mans inspired custom could have been an easy route but Moto Studio bikes are a little more considered. Here the swingarm has been converted to a monoshock setup, cleaning-up the rear visually by burying the majority of the shock between the carbs and polished velocity stacks. The horizontal boneline achieved by using the stock frame would also have resulted in an all too familiar looking bike. Instead Bruce chopped-out the subframe and replaced it with a raised, bolt-on section. The result is a contemporary and classy blend of past and present. A smattering of brass plated fasteners in crucial places add character to the monochrome finish.
The round barrel motor received more than just a simple rebuild too. The heads were ported and polished, then skimmed slightly to increase the compression ratio. Stock 28mm carbs have been replaced by 36mm Dellorto pumpers. The exhaust headers and carbon fibre reverse megas are Moto Studio’s own handiwork. Not a crazy race spec but a useable hike in performance to be enjoyed in the city as well as out on the open road. Charley Cole of Zydeco Racing in New York was called upon for a full gearbox and final drive rebuild, using NOS parts.
Keeping this performance in check is a complete front end from a later Ducati 900 SP. The Showa fully adjustable forks were re-valved by suspension gurus Racetech (if you need info on spring rates and valving for just about any bike, try the Racetech website). Stock 18″ wheels are already good looking and maintain the stance, so these were kept but treated to a fresh powdercoat and new Pirelli Sport Demon tyres.
The gorgeous fuel tank and seat are Moto Studio’s own design, as seen on previous builds. The matt finish looks charcoal from a distance but up close the carbon fibre weave is visible, accented by the aluminium knee and number panels. These aren’t stick-on but moulded into the final layer of carbon. The matching fuel cap and plate is machined from solid. The leather saddle running up and over the tail is another example of thoughtful design being exquisitely executed
As you’d imagine there’s no room on a build of this calibre for shonky electrics, the old loom was binned. A full rewire utilising Motogadget’s system and micro switches is nearly entirely hidden, powered by a lithium battery housed in the tail.
It looks like I’ve missed the boat on getting hold of an affordable 1000SP to work on and I hope Bruce doesn’t regret letting this one go to a new home. Bruce, from where I’m sitting five years was worth the wait, another stunner. Please only sell the next one to a customer from their side of the pond so we can have a closer look.
More effusive bias for Moto Studio’s work on the Bike Shed Archive
Images by Peter Harholdt