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Are Guzzi's any good? #222775
11/09/08 10:35 pm
11/09/08 10:35 pm
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
andrewinpopayan Offline OP
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andrewinpopayan  Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
Just a general question, especially the earlier 850 le mans, one has popped up on fleabay and was thinking about it as a second machine.


99% of carb problems are electrical.

1959 3TA

BMW R1150 Oilhead
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Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: andrewinpopayan] #222799
11/10/08 12:31 am
11/10/08 12:31 am
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,959
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
GrandPaul Offline
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GrandPaul  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,959
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
I don't know about the LeMans, but I like my 74 Eldorado for sidecar duty.



GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: andrewinpopayan] #222809
11/10/08 2:13 am
11/10/08 2:13 am
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Jim Hultman Offline
BritBike Forum member
Jim Hultman  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Originally Posted By: andrewinpopayan
Just a general question, especially the earlier 850 le mans, one has popped up on fleabay and was thinking about it as a second machine.


As a rule, I consider Guzzi's a just a step above the spawn of the devil, but they are just so D**m cute and Irresistible!!

The big difference between common classic Guzzis is the Loop frame version and the Tonti frame version. Loop frames are the old Ambassador and Eldorado models, and the Tonti's started with the V7 Sport in the early 70's. LeMans models are Tontis, patterened somewhat after the Sport.

The big difference is the frame and the change to an alternator rather than the old belt driven generator found on the Eldo and Ambo models.

They actually are rather cool bikes. Chrome bores make rebuilds a bit spendy, and the chrome lined cylinders do fail, too often if you ask me. Electrics are not as bad as some Italian bikes, like Ducati, as they use some Bosch components. But the wiring can still be a challenge. Certainly not as simple as a Brit bike. Switch quality is somewhat famously poor, and many have been converted to Japanese switches.

I think the LeMans series is the best and most affordable Guzzi right now, and I've seen them go for reasonsable money. The V7 Sport is the big bucks bike, and the old Loop frames are gaining a pretty big following as classics. God help me, but when I have my next momentary lapse of reason, I suspect I would probably buy a LeMans.

Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Jim Hultman] #222811
11/10/08 1:43 am
11/10/08 1:43 am
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,777
Central Virginia
Lannis Offline

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Lannis  Offline

Life member
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,777
Central Virginia
Good solid bikes are Guzzis, the Tonti-framed Lemans is a good combination of fast, good-handling, and old-fashioned simple to work on. The motors can go hundreds of thousands of miles. Clutch replacement is a bugger (automotive type clutch, bike has to come to pieces to replace it) but normal maintenance is a breeze, valve adjustment is faster than a Triumph or BSA, don't even have to take the tank off.

I've had four, got two, my SP (sort of like the Lemans but softer tuning) is a keeper. Out riding it tonight in the moonlight and frost, it's confidence-inspiring.

Lannis


I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is really going to be upset.
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Lannis] #222816
11/10/08 2:03 am
11/10/08 2:03 am
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 85
queensburry ny usa
pillgrimm13 Offline
BritBike Forum member
pillgrimm13  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 85
queensburry ny usa
ive been thinking of buying a guzzi also and have talked to a number of guzzi owners. all of which love their bikes and of all of them the only problem they mention is they tend to shake at certain rpms but they say they are almost as solid as an old honda and i think they are almost as cool as a brit bike.


1975 Triumph T160 Trident
1969 BSA A65t Thunderbolt
1978 Honda CB750 basketcase
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: pillgrimm13] #222826
11/10/08 3:19 am
11/10/08 3:19 am
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Jim Hultman Offline
BritBike Forum member
Jim Hultman  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Originally Posted By: pillgrimm13
....they are almost as solid as an old honda.....


Not sure where that comparison came from. Guzzis are about as far from japanese as you can get. If I were asked to compare Guzzi's to other bikes, I would say they are a cross between a BMW and a Ducati. Much easier to maintain than the Duck and less expensive than the Beemer. But in the end, I would never consider them as reliable as the Beemer. They are, after all, Italian.

The LeMans could be compared to a similar vintage R90S Beemer, or perhaps a Ducati GT. I guess it depends on what you plan to do with it. If you want to go long, the Beemer would be better. For pure performance and solid handling, the Duck would get the nod. For a little of both, the LeMans would be perfect.

Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Jim Hultman] #222892
11/10/08 6:56 pm
11/10/08 6:56 pm
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 85
queensburry ny usa
pillgrimm13 Offline
BritBike Forum member
pillgrimm13  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 85
queensburry ny usa
i was refering to their reliability not their character style or ride.


1975 Triumph T160 Trident
1969 BSA A65t Thunderbolt
1978 Honda CB750 basketcase
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: pillgrimm13] #222910
11/10/08 6:59 pm
11/10/08 6:59 pm
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
andrewinpopayan Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
andrewinpopayan  Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
As none of you are in the UK I feel a bit safer knowing that you aren't going to be bidding against me. It's this one here Item number: 330284734375

It seems to have had a few tweaks and goodies added, it LOOKS tidy (although I'd prefer it in fire engine red)and I'd maybe stretch to crazy It will be the second ride to my 3TA hack-a-day machine.

Chrome bores doesn't sound good, I thought they might have been pressed in iron liners (rebore-able). Goes without saying the clutch would be a major job. Do these bikes need lots of special tools or will a standard Triumph hammer fit?

Last edited by andrewinpopayan; 11/10/08 7:30 pm.

99% of carb problems are electrical.

1959 3TA

BMW R1150 Oilhead
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: andrewinpopayan] #222948
11/10/08 10:28 pm
11/10/08 10:28 pm
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Jim Hultman Offline
BritBike Forum member
Jim Hultman  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Originally Posted By: andrewinpopayan
Chrome bores doesn't sound good, I thought they might have been pressed in iron liners (rebore-able).....will a standard Triumph hammer fit?

Nice bike! I really like the work that's been done on it.

I've never been real fond of the chrome bore either. I've had two of them fail and I've sleeved both of them. The chrome just peels away from the aluminum. Sleeving is an option if you correct the piston clearances to allow for the different expansion rates.

I'm sure there's a Guzzi forum somewhere that will advise you on the best options, as these bikes are still raced and loved, at least on this side of the pond. I'd bet the newer versions are either a different process, such as the BMW nikasil, or a better chrome process. The newest Guzzi I own is a 1973, so my stuff is pretty old.

If the chrome would hold up, it is, IMHO, a better system than iron liners. Tighter clearances and reduced wear. I think the next one I do I'll just bite the bullet and buy new cylinders and pistons.

Tools and fittings are pure metric, which I really like, because I can get nuts and bolts at the local fastener shop. No, the old Triumph hammer won't work! grin

Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Jim Hultman] #222950
11/10/08 10:46 pm
11/10/08 10:46 pm
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
andrewinpopayan Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
andrewinpopayan  Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
Quote:
No, the old Triumph hammer won't work!


There again neither will the clutch center puller or the camwheel puller, Do these bikes need much in the way of factory tools ? ( usually made of platinum plated unobtainium). I heard Ducs need a lot of tooling.


99% of carb problems are electrical.

1959 3TA

BMW R1150 Oilhead
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: andrewinpopayan] #222968
11/11/08 2:31 am
11/11/08 2:31 am
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Jim Hultman Offline
BritBike Forum member
Jim Hultman  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Originally Posted By: andrewinpopayan
Do these bikes need much in the way of factory tools ? ( usually made of platinum plated unobtainium). I heard Ducs need a lot of tooling.


Yeah, I've got a whole tool drawer dedicated to Ducati tools. But then many can be gotten around, if you're clever. Unfortuately, Guzzi's are about the same. One really fun one is the swing arm pivots. Threaded rods with two little holes on the end. Who thinks up this stuff? mad I had to make a tool for that one, and there are others.

But all in all, they can be worked on and I wouldn't let the tool question stop you from getting one. However, if you happen to have a friend who works in a Guzzi shop, you might consider buying him a beer the next time you see him!
beerchug

Last edited by Jim Hultman; 11/11/08 1:47 am.
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Jim Hultman] #222969
11/11/08 1:46 am
11/11/08 1:46 am
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Jim Hultman Offline
BritBike Forum member
Jim Hultman  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Originally Posted By: Jim Hultman
....I'd bet the newer versions are either a different process, such as the BMW nikasil, or a better chrome process. The newest Guzzi I own is a 1973, so my stuff is pretty old.

Just took a quick look at the website where I buy my Guzzi parts, and sure 'nuff, the new cylinder/piston kits are something called "Gilnisil". They compare it to the Nikasil on BMWs. A complete engine set would run about $750US. Not that bad, at least compared to the BMW parts which I'm pretty sure would be well over $1,000US.

Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Jim Hultman] #222992
11/11/08 5:47 am
11/11/08 5:47 am
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 53
Northern Illinois
D
Dave Swanson Offline
BritBike Forum member
Dave Swanson  Offline
BritBike Forum member
D
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 53
Northern Illinois
Guzzi's make great bikes once you pitch the chrome cylinders and put a Nikasil set in. Here is my 73 V7 Sport.



Dave Swanson
1955 T110
1962 TR6SS
1964 Lightning Rocket
1967 Bonneville
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Dave Swanson] #223022
11/11/08 2:39 pm
11/11/08 2:39 pm
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,777
Central Virginia
Lannis Offline

Life member
Lannis  Offline

Life member
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,777
Central Virginia
I got teed off at both of mine this morning. 24 degF and neither one of them would start despite having hot new batteries just off the charger. About 10 half-hearted turns each, then nothing.

I don't believe that either of mine have had the "Starter Circuit Modification" that everyone makes to their Guzzis to keep this from happening. For some reason, they all have a very convoluted starter circuit with extra relays that no one knows why they're there; it's an Italian thing, you wouldn't-a understand.

Sounds a lot like Britbikes, eh? Weird-Joseph electrics and a pain until they're sorted, then excellent.

Lannis


I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is really going to be upset.
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Lannis] #223141
11/12/08 10:49 am
11/12/08 10:49 am
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,542
Kent UK
Blapper Offline
BritBike Forum member
Blapper  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,542
Kent UK
Hey Dave, that is a sweeeet Guzzi bigt Nice front brake too - is it standard? 2 or 4 LS?

Blapper redwine

Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Blapper] #223154
11/12/08 12:25 pm
11/12/08 12:25 pm
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 53
Northern Illinois
D
Dave Swanson Offline
BritBike Forum member
Dave Swanson  Offline
BritBike Forum member
D
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 53
Northern Illinois
Blap, yes, it's the stock 4LS setup. Thanks, it's a sweet road machine.


Dave Swanson
1955 T110
1962 TR6SS
1964 Lightning Rocket
1967 Bonneville
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Dave Swanson] #223191
11/12/08 4:46 pm
11/12/08 4:46 pm
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,542
Kent UK
Blapper Offline
BritBike Forum member
Blapper  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,542
Kent UK
OH, yeah. Nice indeed.

Have you thought of putting one of Gunks screens on it? It looks like a bike that will go long distances at speed and Gunk (of this forum) posted plans for a little screen that would be the biz on your Guzzi and keep the flies outta ya teeth!

Mm-mm!

Blapper (who likes that bike) redwine

Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Blapper] #223780
11/16/08 1:39 pm
11/16/08 1:39 pm
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
andrewinpopayan Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
andrewinpopayan  Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
Ahh well everyone, in the the end the price went up to silly money and I dropped out at 3300, in a way I'm glad I did because really local to me I found a 2002 BMW R1150 RS for 2250, so now time to develop my "look down the nose" attitude at everything else laugh AND probably sell it in a couple of years for more than I paid for it. It was cheap because it has "high mileage" but seems to run sweet without rattles or smoke.


D Going to keep my 3TA, spend a bit of time polishing up and coddling her.


Last edited by andrewinpopayan; 11/16/08 12:48 pm.

99% of carb problems are electrical.

1959 3TA

BMW R1150 Oilhead
Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: andrewinpopayan] #223796
11/16/08 2:46 pm
11/16/08 2:46 pm
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Jim Hultman Offline
BritBike Forum member
Jim Hultman  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,429
Minnesota, US
Originally Posted By: andrewinpopayan
...now time to develop my "look down the nose" attitude at everything else laugh AND probably sell it in a couple of years for more than I paid for it. It was cheap because it has "high mileage" but seems to run sweet without rattles or smoke.

Nice buy on a great bike! Actually, you might be pleasantly surprised. Beemer riders are almost as weird as Britbike riders. Remember, this is the original "1,000 mile day" crowd. You might like them. They typically don't know as much about their bikes as the Britbiker, but that's only because they don't have to rebuild them as often.

The "high mileage" is probably not a problem if the bike has been maintained. Most of my Beemer miles have been on the older air heads, but the oil heads should be easily six figure bikes as well. Enjoy!!
bigt

Re: Are Guzzi's any good? [Re: Jim Hultman] #223832
11/16/08 8:42 pm
11/16/08 8:42 pm
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
andrewinpopayan Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
andrewinpopayan  Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 804
Halifax, Butt end of Europe
Yes Jim, exactly what my friend said about the motors, 80.000 miles and they are just run in. This one is aircooled but takes oil fills thru a plug in the head, has fuel injection, ABS, lots of fairy lights, LCD display, heated grips etc. Heated grips? you mean I wasted money on my comfy gloves approved for LPG handling? Hydraulic clutch? I tell you Jim my wrists are used to pumping a REAL MANS clutch, my 7 year old daughter can pull the beemer clutch in.

A 700 watt alternator (58 amps) shocked What will I do with all that power? Will miss the kickstart ;-)

Friend says the only job he has ever done on a beemer was to replace the rear wheel bearings (a big ball bearing and a taper roller)

My bikes are used to go from garage sales to autojumbles, not really beemer territory, maybe I should get a bumper sticker that states "My other bike is a Triumph".

Last edited by andrewinpopayan; 11/16/08 8:47 pm.

99% of carb problems are electrical.

1959 3TA

BMW R1150 Oilhead

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