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Discussion Starter #1
I've always been attracted to the big V twin Guzzies and am thinking of adding one to the garage. I'm pretty familiar with Bonnies and their ways having owned a T140D for a few years, but know nothing of Guzzies. I've ordered Greg Field's 'Moto Guzzie Big Twins' as bedtime reading to try to decide if one might be for me.

Le mans looks nice, but it seems early one are best and don't come cheap.

Not sure if the newer ones (like the Griso) would have the character of earlier Guzzies (a bit like old Bonnies compared to the smoother, faster,more reliable but more bland modern bike).

Anyone on here kept Bonnies and Guzzies and can say how they compare; reliability, character, rideability, parts price and availability etc?
 

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I have a 72 tiger and a 75 850 t
The triumph is like a high maintenance sport bike and the guzzi i bulletproof tourer
Parts are both easy to get and expensive
 

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There's not much to compare. I had a Mark I LeMans for several years. It would go as fast as you want for as long as you want - unlike a Triumph. Shifting in the first couple of gears was clunky, acceleration was nothing special and the throttle pull was tiring but once it was up to speed it really covered ground. They are reliable and easy to do regular maintenance on although on mine the sump had to come off to change the oil filter, a process that involved removing many screws.

I only sold mine because I preferred my bevel Ducati 900SS.

Bruce
 

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:) I've had a LeMans, a Cali, a V11 Sport, a 1200 Griso, and a Falcone. They have bombproof mechanicals, dodgy electrics, mediocre finish (especially on earlier models) and are easy peasy to work on. They are a completely different kettle of fish when compared to any other bike, let alone a Triumph. Before you get one, you must take one for a spin as they are not everybody's cup of tea. If the Guzzi bug bites however, then you will be hooked! I am currently without one, but am always on the lookout. I'd love another LeMans!
 

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I had several T140s 25-30 years ago, and several Guzzis over the past 10 years (all 'old' ones - a T3 and a G5 mainly). I have no experience with 'modern' Guzzis, though people into them say they are faster and smoother than the old round-fin models.

In my experience, as others in this thread have said, Guzzis are bombproof, will hold a steady speed anywhere within their range (up to 100+mph, maybe more if you can hang on) all day and end up un-fussed without any oil leaks or anything having fallen off or worn out. Unlike a T140, sad to say.

But in the T140/TR7's favour, they are extremely light and small compared to a Guzzi, accelerate like the clappers (even a Le Mans would be hard pushed to keep up with a well sorted T140 up to 100mph - but would then leave it behind and cruise off into the distance!)

In my opinion, one of each would be ideal. In fact, I'm going to do just that - I've got my TR7 on the road and I love it, but I have to acknowledge the inescapable fact that it would be foolhardy to embark on a 4000 mile journey on it. On a Guzzi of the same age I'd have no such qualms, in fact I did just that' all round France & Spain in 2007 on my T3.

But despite my high esteem for Guzzis, whenever I went for a ride I'd find myself thinking: "This is almost as nice as my old Triumphs..." - until it finally dawned on me that I should just get another old Triumph! Glad I did!
 

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I might add that everyone enjoys commenting on the triumph because "they used to have one of those" etc. etc.

The Guzzi get just as many spectators but they "ask what is it? What year? I have never seen one of those before" When it fires up they are blown away at the cool factor.

If you want an around towner and casual rider get the triumph, if you want reliable daily driver or touring bike get and old Guzzi.

I have both and they are opposite ends of the spectrum. I ride the Guzzi way more just because it is a push button away.
 

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I have a Guzzi 850T3, but it hasn't seen the light of day for a long time.

It is a very different bike to the T140, bigger and (much) heavier. The engine is very low revving and the bike is geared higher, e.g. 4000revs = 80mph.

The 'engineering' is (dare I say it?) better than the Triumph, in that castings have wider mating faces although there are a lot of nuts and bolts holding it together. Details are nice, e.g. the wiring from the switchgear runs through the handlebars.

The width of the cylinders isnt an issue in practical terms, the width of the petrol tank forces your knees wider apart anyway. That isnt a bad thing as the petrol capacity is large, it will easily do 200m between fill-ups.

It has an interesting engine, there is a side to side shake at idle, but once it is revving the vibrations smooth out, and it is a comfortable ride - I could easily imagine long distance touring on one, but for London commuting it was the 'wrong' bike.

Handling is very stable, it feels like it is on rails.

The linked brakes are another interesting concept, the brake lever operates one of the front discs, the other front disc is operated in conjunction with the rear disc by the foot brake pedal. It works particularly well on wet roads, and once I had got used to it, I liked the system.

My bike is the same model as dl. allens, but is nowhere as tidy. It does still have the original paintwork (metallic brown with gold pinstripe).

If you're interested, I will sell the thing - drop me a p.m. or e-mail 'dave(dot)forty(at)virginmedia(dot)com. I am near Watford.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys. I'm beinning to get the picture. I have a Suzuki Freewind as well as my Triumph for longer faster rides, and it might make sense to sell the Freewind and replace it with a Guzzi as it seems the Guzzi would do the Freewind's job but with more character. Lovely looking bike, dl.allen.

Keep 'em coming!
 

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it seems the Guzzi would do the Freewind's job but with more character.
That sums it up very well I think!

You can get several different styles of old Guzzi (by which I mean the round fin 850 and 1000 models). Anything from the Le Mans MkI & MkII (the only 'proper' Le Mans models in my controversial opinion!), to the V1000 Convert, with the faired Spada tourer, the G5 tourer, the T3 California LAPD style bike, and the basic T3 (which is the best looking of the lot in my controversial opinion - except for the Le Mans of course). *Edit: Just looked at dl.allen's 850T photo - you'll see what I mean if you look at that! - The T3 looks very similar but has disc rear brake and a few minor cosmetic differences.

One of the benefits of Guzzi ownership is that underneath the superficially different appearances of the various models, they are all essentially the same bike, and its an easy job to tailor any model to the style of any other. They are still easy to get most parts for, and the quality of the new parts seems generally higher than for T140s. A few parts are hard to find and/or very expensive, eg: oversize pistons for the iron-lined 1000 models (Guzzi never made any oversizes because by the time any were needed - they tend to not need reboring until they've done 100,000 miles - they'd switched to Nigusil bores). And there are various upgrades that can be made very easily to older models (pre '78) to improve them a lot, eg: later clutch centre bosses, spring-loaded timing chain tensioners, deep sumps with spin-on external oil filters).

There are several Guzzi breakers around, including some who charge far too much (reboot) and others whose prices are a lot fairer (Gutsibits, for example). Plenty of stuff comes up on ebay too.

If you get one, I'd recommend 'Guzziology' by Dave Richardson - this has a huge amount of information, among which you'll find plenty relevant to whatever model you get. These crop up on ebay usually for about £70 (!), but may still be available direct from Dave Richardson (in Seattle).
 

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When I was using my T3 I got parts from Spares GB in Colliers Wood, Wessons - who were in Brighton but I think have now moved, and Motorworks in Bradford.

I understood that the earlier 'round barrel' / 'large block' engined bikes were more desirable, and that the later 'small block' 650s / 750s (Nevada / Targa?) were less good.

External oil filter sounds better than undoing a huge number of bolts to take the sump off when an oil filter change was required.
 

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:( IIRC I had to undo 17 allen bolts to get the sump off my LeMans. My Griso, and all the 8v models have a proper external oil filter, and the job is easy. I like the newer small block models and recently took a new V7 classic for a spin. It was lovely, albeit a tad underpowered. I know a couple of people who have them, and they've had zero issues. The new Guzzi's are certainly better built than the old ones. My old LeMans, bought new, spent a large part of its early life at the dealers having warranty work done, mainly due to the truly crappy finish on the frame, wheels and bodywork. Oh, and the engine paint fell off as well. It was still a great bike though! I fitted a gear drive for the cams, and had some light tuning done, and it went really well. On the dyno it showed 80bhp, and I once saw 140 on the clock! Heady stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
MGV what's your opinion of the Griso? If I went for a 'modern' Guzzi that one looks nice. Do Guzzis usually have belt driven cams?

Do those new Guzzis (such as Griso) have the character of the older ones? And do they sound as good? ;-)
 

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:confused: Belt driven cams? No, the older bikes have a chain driven camshaft and long pushrods. The 8v engines have two chain driven "high" camshafts and very short pushrods. The older bikes are agricultural and crude, and the later ones are more sophisticated, and are much faster. My Griso was rated at 110bhp! One thing they all have in common is "character". Oh, and weight. Guzzi's are heavy. The older ones are very easy to work on, whilst the newer ones aren't. Take your pick!
 

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I had a 750 Ambassador years ago that was a former LAPD bike. I have to echo Dave40's comment that it handles like it is on rails. One of the most rigid chassis I had ever ridden until the advent of modern sport bikes and their peripheral frames.

Engine is like a 2 cylinder Chevy V8. You could not ask for an easier engine to work on.

You get a little torquing to the side when you rev it due to crank in line with direction of the bike. And like any vintage shaft drive the climbing of the rear end. But it is something you soon forget about.

I've looked for a replacement for my old 750. Most are too expensive for their condition. Nice ones are really pricey. Thought about a T3 or similar. Missed a few because I dragged my feet. One of these days I'll get another.

I know where there is an original LeMans for sale and a later model LeMans. I almost bought one from a friend a couple years ago, but the sport riding position was just not something I wanted for the road.

There is something sexy about those two jugs poking out from under the tank. Much sexier IMHO than a BMW boxer. I've tried to like Beemers, but they are all tractors to me as soon as I get on one.

For the right price, I don't think you'll regret getting a Guzzi. And you can always get out from under it probably for what you paid for it... maybe more.

regards,
Rob
 

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That bike looks nice. 16 inch wheels were a trend for sport bikes back then. Honda Interceptors had them, too. Waynesboro is in VA, right. I did some training in Wayneboro many years ago.

regards,
Rob
 

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Moto-Guzzi is a nice make, I had an 850T briefly, very original trim, nice...sold in haste and would like another one. Plenty of character too.
 
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