Not a V-Twin: Italian-Restored 1959 Moto Guzzi Galleto in California

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This 1959 Moto Guzzi Galleto is said to have recently arrived from Italy, where it was restored to “concours standards” by a marque specialist. These are interesting bikes, combining characteristics of step-through scooters and more traditional motorcycles, and were designed to provide economical, day-to-day transportation with a bit more comfort and performance than typically offered by earlier postwar designs. Around 70,000 were made between 1950 and 1966, most of which were these final 192cc versions–earlier models displaced 160 and 175cc, all utilizing an OHV air-cooled single. Interesting features include a stamped, welded and riveted monocoque chassis and a single-sided swingarm, while power is transmitted via a 4-speed gearbox and chain drive. Big wheels gave a good ride and handling, and overall this one does look to be in very nice shape. Find it here on Craigslist near San Francisco, California for $7,975.

Not a V-Twin: Italian-Restored 1959 Moto Guzzi Galleto in California

Full-size tires and wheels were key in Moto Guzzi’s aim to mix the better ride and handling characteristics of a motorcycle with the ease and efficiency of a scooter. This design seems to have inspired 1958’s Honda Cub, still in production today, and with more than 100,000,000 made thus far, the most-produced vehicle in history by a huge margin. Compare that to just 70,000 Galletos, which was nonetheless considered a big success for Moto Guzzi. Note the location of the front/rear interchangeable spare tire, which was thought to offer a bit more crash protection in combo with leg fairings.

Not a V-Twin: Italian-Restored 1959 Moto Guzzi Galleto in California

Inside the pressed sheet metal monocoque frame lives a 192cc overhead-valve, air-cooled single backed up by a 4-speed transmission. Up front we find a leading-link fork suspension, while single-sided swinging arm supports the rear. It’s a good looking bike from most angles, and this color suits it well. As claimed by the ad, condition looks excellent, and though we’re no experts on these unusual bikes, finishes do look like they could be factory.

Not a V-Twin: Italian-Restored 1959 Moto Guzzi Galleto in California

The seller sums up this interesting bike in the first line of the ad: “Innovative motorcycle/scooter hybrid with unique design and daring style.”  According to the ad, the bike weighs 236 lbs. and its 7.5 hp single will propel it to a top speed of 50 mph.

Not a V-Twin: Italian-Restored 1959 Moto Guzzi Galleto in California

Here’s a cool factory illustration detailing the Galleto’s unusual construction. Following the conclusion of WW2, affordable transportation was in high demand across Europe.  Lambretta and Piaggio’s Vespa dominated this segment, and Motto Guzzi launched a similar small wheel prototype hoping to get in on the action. Lambretta caught wind of this, and understandably saw it as a threat.

Not a V-Twin: Italian-Restored 1959 Moto Guzzi Galleto in California

As an act of protest, Lambretta promptly countered Guzzi’s prototype by designing one for a small V-twin motorcycle–a domestic segment controlled by Guzzi–the standoff came to an end when it was decided that staying out of each other’s markets would be best for both companies. As a result, Guzzi scrapped the small-wheel project, and instead began work on a large-wheel design that would eventually lead to production of the Galleto.

Not a V-Twin: Italian-Restored 1959 Moto Guzzi Galleto in California

No photos of the engine are provided, but that’s somewhat understandable considering how well concealed it is. The factory image above shows a super-compact engine/gearbox unit, which also happens to be great to look at.

Not a V-Twin: Italian-Restored 1959 Moto Guzzi Galleto in California

Says the seller: “All mechanical items have been refreshed or rebuilt and the Galleto starts easily, idles smoothly and runs strong. Clutch and 4 speed transmission operate without issue. Brakes are smooth and sure, large wheels and well designed suspension provide a fairly supple ride. Both seats are new, all controls are in excellent condition and proper order. Electrics all function as designed.”

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