Big, Comfortable & Fast: 1985 Suzuki GS1150E

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This 1985 Suzuki GS1150E looks very nice in photos and has just received new tires, a fresh battery and had the carbs gone through. One of the very fastest street bikes available at the time, they were also quite sophisticated and good-looking, though at 550 pounds they were only OK handlers. Find this one here on Craigslist in Issaquah, Washington for $2,595. Special thanks to BaT reader Joby J. for this submission.

1985 Suzuki GS 1150e Survivor!

Dark, indoor photos don’t do the bike any favors, but closeups seem to confirm the seller’s claim of nicely preserved paint and bodywork. Red over black with white pinstriping is an attractive combination, and we’re always fans of 80s-style graphics–aside from the make and model, those seen here also proclaim FULL FLOATER SUSPENSION. Some black paint can be seen flaking off the cam covers, but overall the high-revving 16 valve four still looks sharp.

1985 Suzuki GS 1150e Survivor!

We’d prefer to see it without the aftermarket fairing, but at least it’s been nicely color-coordinated and should provide an added degree f comfort on long rides. Good for 119 HP at 8,500 RPM, these GS1150E’s were among the quickest un-faired big bikes on the market when introduced in 1984. This one has just under 22k miles from new, and the seller notes recent carb work, new Pirellis and a fresh battery.

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We’d pull the fairing, restore the cam covers and do our best to ruin the new rear tire in an unreasonably short period of time.

One Owner: 1971 BMW R75/5

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This 1971 BMW R75/5 is a claimed 17k mile example on offer by its original owner. Said to be all-original apart from a rather ungainly aftermarket windshield, the bike otherwise looks quite nice in photos. Further claimed to have always been serviced at a BMW dealer, these are comfortable, well-built and engineered bikes that are often difficult to find as nice as this one seems to be. Find it here on Craigslist in Miami, Florida for $4k.

1971 BMW R75/5 For Sale

The bulky, distinctly shaped OEM tank seems to have nice paint and shows no immediately obvious dents or dings. The right rear turn signal has a broken stalk, but these are easy and cheap to source. The big, comfortable saddle looks correct, and though we’d ditch the big windshield and homemade looking luggage rack ASAP, everything else looks good.

1971 BMW R75/5 For Sale

Check out the combination speedo/tach unit. It’s not sporty, but it’s practical and looks cool–a perfect match for the bike’s character. Good for 50 HP and a bit less torque, these boxer twins make a good, distinct sound, and are pretty quiet with stock pipes as this one appears to be fitted with. The gyroscopic effect of the engine’s crank and shaft drive can be a bit disconcerting to those not familiar with this type of layout, but ridden within its limits–and limited clearance–it doesn’t take long to adapt.

1971 BMW R75/5 For Sale

Though not perfect, this one’s low mileage, one-owner history and dealer maintenance make it easy to look past it’s relatively minor and easily correctable faults.

Arturo Magni R.I.P.

Very sad news this morning to hear of the death of Arturo Magni, at the age of 90, and they were 90 years absolutely packed with energy, inspiration, passion and innovation.

Magni was a mechanic, engineer, race team head and incredible technical innovator for MV Agusta for decades. His loyalty to MV Agusta must have been one of the significant factors for the fact that what was really a small manufacturer managed to innovatte and buld startling machines for so long. Then with son Giovanni, Arturo Magni continued to work with MV Agusta engines, build his own frames, and employ his expertise in designing sublime motorcycles using a variety of engines up until he could no longer continue to work.

Our sympathies go to the Magni family, and to MV Agusta too.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer – new at EICMA 2015


After the leaked shots a few weeks ago, we’ve just got hold of the new official Moto Guzzi press shots of the new V9 Bobber (in black) and Roamer (in white). These bikes we assume are currently on the stand at the EICMA show in Milan. These bikes feature a ‘new’ 850 motor, with a 84 x 77mm bore and stroke, a 10.5:1 compression ratio, and aluminium heads, pistons and barrels. Single plate clutch, 6 speed gearbox, ABS, a USB port (first time on a Guzzi?), traction control etc. and claimed performance being 55hp @ 6,250rpm and torque figures are 62 Nm of torque at just 3,000 revs/min.

Styling wise, there seems to be a real mish-mash of elements of the long running Guzzi Nevada, bits of Triumph Bonneveille, and flashes of inspiration from the old Kawasaki Z series of bikes. It’s all firmly aimed at younger buyers who of course Moto Guzzi need to attract, hence the (dare I say it) ‘hipster’ or ‘lifestyle’ style of the photography. If I see another shot of young bearded geezers pushing bikes though, I’ll go insane…
 
The bikes look nice enough, and with Guzzi now (finally) in possession of a thick catalogue of accessories to attract buyers who want to go down the personalisation route, they should sell okay, if the sales success of the V7 and V7 2 bikes is anything to go by.
 

But I still wonder whether that these bikes may be still, for many potential Guzzi buyers, too little, too late. After speaking with Miguel Galluzzi earlier on in the year, I was under the impression (because he gives little away) that Guzzi had something with more capacity and more power up its sleeve to be presented at EICMA this November. 850cc and a very little more power is not a big difference to the V7 models already in the Guzzi range – are these Euro 4 compliant V9 machines destined to replace the V7 bikes in the near future? And though the styling is fresh, it tags on to the hipster/custom/build a bike/lifestyle scene that has been round for a few years now, and seemed like it was on the wane somewhat – so have Guzzi come into the market with these bikes just a bit too late? The fact is still that there are many current Guzzi owners, and potential owners, that are STILL wanting to see a 1000cc engined Moto Guzzi roadster and/or sports bike, and can’t understand why isn’t being made. Answer being, Moto Guzzi need to sell bikes like the V7/V9 to survive, for now.

Hopefully we’ll get to try the V9 at some point soon, and no doubt it looks like it will be a good-handling roadster built and constructed to a high level of finish.

The life of an Italian hill climb racer – Giovanni Burlando

Been ages since we posted, apologies, been busy doing Issue 8.
But – check out this beautiful little film sabout Giovanni Burlando, one of those racers that never made much a name outside of their area of Italy, but whose life and exploits are just as fascinating as Agosotini’s, Rossi’s or any other racer.

Back to Mandello – Moto Guzzi Eldorado and Audace launch

Yeah, you know by now that we’re Guzzi fans, so it’s always a special pleasure to return to Mandello del Lario – there’s just something so romantic about its location, and the way the factory survives from year on year. On this occasion, Moto Guzzi were launching their two latest models to be based around the 1400cc motor and chassis first used in the California, which we reviewed back in Issue 5. In truth, the Eldorado and Audace aren’t really new models because they’re been around for a year now having debuted at bike shows last year, but what did seem new this time round was Piaggio/Moto Guzzi’s determination to actually support their bikes with actual proper products that punters can go out and buy. It’s been years that most people have been saying why don’t Guzzi just get their act together, and do like Harley-Davidson, Triumph etc, and actually, they seem to be on the right road now.

I managed to have a good 20 minute chat in Italian with Miguel Galluzzi, Piaggio’s very well known Head of Design, and he reckons that Moto Guzzi has a 10 year plan, and they are just over half way through that plan. I asked him again, having asked during their press presentation, about whether Guzzi were going to introduce a 1000 cc bike that would have the looks and lines of the best selling V7 range, but with more power. “Everyone wants more power all the time,” he laughed. “The V7 has plenty for what most people want. But yes, we are working on something – you will see something new at the EICMA show this year.” Some German wag journo who overheard reckoned that soon, with Euro directives, the big Guzzis could end up being water cooled – I think unlikely, but we’ll have to see.

The bikes themselves were fun to ride – full feature coming up in Issue 6 – though the stretch to the Audace bars is a bit of a stretch too far for me to be comfortable for long. However, quality, character and inate Guzzi qualities are all there in spades.

Funniest moment of the launch for me was when a fellow journo I’d never met previously accused me of being a ‘hipster’. Ha, funny I thought, considering I’ve looked the same for 30 years, and being a North Londoner, used to avoid Shoreditch like the plague ‘cos it was a shithole. Maybe he was just jealous of my Ramones tee shirt, bought in Tesco. Or couldn’t grow a beard like mine.

Anyway, Guzzi now have a plethora of stuff to buy if you want to spend the money, and there is a huge, very nicely put together catalogue of swag now available to browse through.

Full review of the Eldorado and Audace coming up in Issue 8 of ITALIAN MOTOR.

For sale – 1957 Moto Guzzi Lodola cammy 175 – unrestored, UK registered, runs well!

I need to sell my 1957 Moto Guzzi Lodola 175. It is the overhead camshaft 175 model. It is UK registered and road legal. MOT not required as pre-1960 historic motorcycle, no road tax required for same reason. Looks great, sounds great and being a 175 is eligible for the Moto Giro event in Italy.

I bought it a couple of years ago from a good friend who lives in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy, and is in unrestored ‘barn find’ condition but runs well condition, with lots of patina. You either like this type of condition, or you prefer shiny and restored. My friend was asked to sell it by an acquaintance whose father the bike belonged to. He died years ago, and the bike sat unused in garage. I have a photocopy of the original PI (Pisa) Italian number plate. No other history is known of the bike.

I have done the usual recommission to it – serviced it etc. – changed the oil, oil filters, checked tappets, points, ignition timing etc, lubricated cables, rebuilt the carburettor, added new fuel lines. The front brake has new brake shoes. Oil filter cleaned, oil changed. New rocker cover gasket, new plug etc. New battery. I put on a brand new seat cover which I bought from Italy as the original was sadly beyond use. New inner tubes. Both tyres are Michelins and have plenty of tread. New rear brake switch added as the 175 didn’t have one originally! Wiring checked and repairs made where necessary. New bulbs etc. Gears, clutch, work fine, it brakes ok in a 1950s style. There is a dent in the tank that looks very old, and looks like it has been filled, please see pic. Handles nicely, the forks and shocks are fine and work much better than the ones on my old 235cc Lodola. Speedo doesn’t work, may just be the cable.

I’ve had Lodolas for over 20 years, and they’re robust, fun bikes to ride, and easy to maintain, even when they’re not restored to the hilt like most of them are nowadays. On this bike, Luigi put the tank decals on almost 60 yeara ago, and they’re still there – who am I to remove them??

More pics here: More photos here!
See it start up and run here: 1957 Moto Guzzi 175 startup YouTube clip

It’s up on Ebay currently as an ad withn asking price of £2750 but that is a starting place – I am open to offers! 

Email in the first instance with any other questions and a number to ciao@italianmotormagazine.com – and I’ll get back to you. Happy to facilitate shipping/transport to the rest of the UK or world if required.