Back to Basics – Guzzi V11 Cafe Racer

Moto Guzzi V11 Cafe Racer

In this super tech world we live in there seems to be a revolution happening in auto enthusiast circles. Rather than opting for vehicles packed with risk suppressing sensors and performance honing gadgets, many of us are opting for old school mechanics. We’re buying motorcycles that run on carbs, use cables for control and give you a physical workout when you ride them hard. There’s something visceral about a motorcycle that responds according to how much pressure you apply to it and it’s great to knowing that if something goes wrong you might actually be able to fix it yourself. Today’s build is the product of this train of thought. Omar Biagi is a 35 year old “Italian guy” and when he went searching for a donor bike electronics were the last thing on his mind.

Retro Headwear – Nexx XG100 helmet

Nexx XG100 Motorcycle Helmets

Over the past few years there’s been a huge increase in demand for retro styled helmets. Thankfully helmet manufacturers have switched on to this fact and they’ve been answering our needs with some rather great looking lids. Chad Hodge nailed it with his design, which Bell went on to produce as their ‘Bullitt’ and American brand Biltwell did equally well with their full faced ‘Gringo’. One other company that’s also stepped up to the plate is Portugal based Nexx Helmets with their retro styled XG100.

No Reserve: 1990 Honda GB500 Tourist Trophy

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This 1990 Honda GB500 Tourist Trophy is a nicely preserved example of Honda’s tribute to the Isle of Man TT and has just 3,361 miles on the odometer. Imported to the US officially for just two years, these aircooled singles sold in limited numbers and predicted the rise of retro-styled bikes on the market today. This example remains factory-correct, has always been stored in a heated garage, and recently had its carburetor rebuilt. The bike comes with a clean Indiana title in the seller’s name.


These large bore singles were meant to resemble Manx Norton and other single cylinder race bikes from the 1960s. The engine is derived from the 600cc unit used in the XL600 dirt bike, and appears largely similar, though with polished cases and a street bike-appropriate exhaust. The side panels on the GB500 were metal, rather than plastic as often used on bikes of this period.


Honda dubbed the paintwork Black-Green, and from most angles appears black. Up close the green and metallic elements of the paint can be seen. Gold pinstriping and silver lettering show well, with no wear-through in the areas around the tank or the rider’s knees.


Seat vinyl appears to be in good condition, and while the rear clamshell on the seat is removable the area beneath is too heavily sloped for 2-up riding. The seller collects cars and bikes and previously sold his 1952 BMW R68 on BaT last year.


Instruments consist of a speedo and tach with a quintet of warning lights; four in the tach face and a side stand warning light below the speedometer. Metal, plastic and glass components all show well. 3,361 miles are shown on the 5-place odometer, and per the seller the bike has only been ridden about 25 miles in the eight years they’ve owned it.


The engine is a 498cc single with split exhaust ports and four valves, and was good for a claimed 33 horsepower and similar torque when new. The seller’s mechanic recently rebuilt the round-slide carburetor and states the bike rode well on his test ride.

75cc Desmo Single: Two Mile 1958 Capriolo TV 75

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This 1958 Capriolo TV 75 (frame 32435) looks remarkably well-preserved, and comes with a great story. According to the seller, the bike was disliked by its original owner, and ended up stored in the back of a shop for decades, accumulating less than two total miles over the past 58 years. It hasn’t been started in some time, but is said to have good compression and spark. Find it here on eBay in Brooklyn, New York with a $5,695 BIN.

Other Makes Capriolo | eBay

Italy turned out some very pretty bikes in the 50’s and 60’s, and this Capriolo (soon renamed Aeromere the same year this bike was made) is no exception. Greenish-blue is an interesting and uncommon color for a bike of this heritage, and it complements the shapely steel nicely. Everything from the hand controls down to the Pirelli tires are factory original, and an OEM solo seat will also be included. There’s a gentle patina throughout, and a small ding can be seen on the fuel tank.

Other Makes Capriolo | eBay

The 75cc motor employs a desmodromic system, which replaced conventional valve springs with a lever mechanism towards the goal of avoiding valve float at high RPM’s. The 75 was the smallest motor in the marque’s lineup, but still managed to push nearly 7 HP. It’s an attractive, interesting little single, with nice castings and unusually intricate internals for such small displacement.

Other Makes Capriolo | eBay

According to the seller, the blueprints seen below are of the 75cc motor, and were photographed straight out of the original drawings owned by the same man who sold these bikes new under the Cosmopolitan Motors distributorship.


A very cool find, with an interesting design history and good looks to boot. Get it running and rack up the miles.

Bucking Bronco lives on!…as CB73

This build comes to us from Bernie Blackwell in Melbourne, Australia. He tells you about it in his own words. This 1973 Honda 750.4 cylinder completed its early life in the early 1980’s racing at weekends as a Hillclimber in country Victoria. Rumour has its name as the Bucking Bronco! Discovered in a Leongatha farmshed in early […]

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1966 BMW R50/2 and Duna Sidecar

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This 1966 BMW R50/2 motorcycle is a numbers-matching bike designed from the factory for sidecar use with sidecar mounting points built into the frame and an Earles fork. The seller purchased the BMW approximately 10 years ago and rode it for several years before sourcing a compatible Duna sidecar. He sent the sidecar to Wayne Carini’s F40 Motorsports for restoration and had it painted to match the BMW. Shortly after the restoration was completed the seller was involved in a serious accident on another motorcycle and hasn’t ridden since. The motorcycle and sidecar combo were never ridden, and four years later the seller has opted to sell so the next owner can enjoy them.

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The bike was restored prior to the seller’s purchase and remains in excellent cosmetic condition. The black paint is very nice with only minor patina and the dual Pagusa solo seats provide a great look. The chrome is in good shape with some minor wear around the speedometer trim ring.


The sidecar is a Hungarian built Duna model from the early 1960s. The bodywork is aluminum for light weight and features distinctive “rocket-nose” styling. The bodywork and seat was restored to a high standard and remains in as-restored condition, having been in indoor storage since the work was done. While the sidecar is currently mounted to the bike the seller recommends it be taken to an expert before riding, as careful alignment is needed to keep the bike and sidecar stable.


The 500 CC BMW flat twin is original to the bike, with matching numbers on the motor casing, frame, and data plate. The fuel tank is believed to be original as well. While the bike hasn’t been ridden in the past four years the seller runs it on a regular basis to prevent the fuel system from deteriorating due to lack of use.


The bike shows 40k miles on the odometer, though there is no way to verify that the mileage is correct.

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The bike is sold with a bill of sale and the Connecticut registration, as the state doesn’t issue titles for vehicles more than 20 years old. The sidecar is attached but not set up or aligned for road use. The bike runs well but the combo will need some adjustment to be safe and usable.

First Automatic Scooter: Restored 1949 Salsbury Model 85

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This 1949 Salsbury Model 85 scooter is a rare example of a model first conceived during the Great Depression. Utilizing a patented CVT transmission, gas and brake pedals, and fantastic Art Deco styling, the Model 85 was introduced as an inexpensive alternative to car ownership and is often cited as the first automatic-equipped scooter. This one has been both cosmetically and mechanically restored, with work including an electric start conversion–the original kick and rope start options were retained as well. Find it here on eBay in Anamosa, Iowa with reserve not met.

Other Makes Model 85 | eBay

The styling is just fantastic, with long, low, sweeping lines and beautiful detailing everywhere. Red and black works really nicely here, offset with just enough gold lettering. All chrome and trim pieces look to have been refreshed as well–check out the lines on that front fender guard. The black leather seat appears to have been reupholstered, and is neatly integrated into the rear bodywork.

Other Makes Model 85 | eBay

Good for about 6.5 HP, the four-stroke, 250cc single is mated to a sophisticated (for the time) CVT, and much like a car for which it was meant to replace, controls are by foot pedals.

Other Makes Model 85 | eBay

We’d like to imagine it as the most elegant pit bike at the Monterey Historics, but it would also likely be just as welcome on the concours lawn.

Veloce e Verde: 1977 Laverda Jarama

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This 1977 Laverda Jarama is a good-looking example of an Italian touring model not often seen in the US. The seller says that it underwent a recent restoration, but also notes that paint was left untouched for originality’s sake. It’s further said to run very well, and mechanicals sound to be sorted and road-ready. Find it here on eBay in Miami, Florida with reserve not met.


The classic yet distinctive design looks great under original green paint, and while there are a few minor dings and dents present, they don’t detract much from the bike’s overall appearance. Stripped down for restoration, the frame was sandblasted before being resprayed in black. Many chrome parts were re-plated, and the forks were also rebuilt and received new seals.

Not a Lambo:

Cockpit fixtures all appear to be in good shape, with clear instrumentation, complete switchgear and bright, shiny trim. Jota cafe-style bars aren’t original-spec for this bike, but they do look excellent.

Not a Lambo:

The shot below reveals the big triple’s polished aluminum cam covers, and though it’s been run for a bit over 8k miles, the motor still looks tidy and well-kept. Recently, the carbs were stripped, cleaned, and rebuilt, while the brake system received new pistons and seals. Apart from some minor-looking surface corrosion in a few small areas, almost every component presents very well.

Not a Lambo:

These powerful touring bikes make great alternatives to more popular BMW’s and Hondas of the same vintage, and that triple should sound amazing revving out through the gears.

Road & Trail: 1989 Honda Transalp XL600V

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This 1989 Honda Transalp XL600V (VIN JH2PD0613KM200411) is a first year US model in nice, rideable condition with a hair under 10k miles. Built to capitalize on Honda’s 80’s Paris-to-Dakar victories, these versatile bikes can be viewed as pioneers for the popular multipurpose machines of today, and this one should offer a similar riding experience for a fraction of the cost. Find it here on eBay in Corona, California with a $4,500 BIN. Special thanks to BaT reader Larry G. for this submission.

Honda Other | eBay

Says the seller: “Only Modifications are the Exhaust guard and windshield. Does show some wear from use but not bad. Some mild scratches and 1 crack in the fairing. Also some slight corrosion in some areas like the forks. Runs and rides excellent, Newer tires with 85-90% tread.”

Honda Other | eBay

The bike looks sharp from a few feet back, but closer inspection reveals a handful of scrapes, chips and even a decent-sized crack on the fairings. None of these flaws appear to stem from abuse however, but were more likely picked during the kind of mixed road and trail riding these machines were designed for. Corrosion likewise is very mild and doesn’t look like anything to worry about–at least what can be seen without the fairings removed.

Honda Other | eBay

The two-piece, wind-deflecting shield and exhaust guards are both worthwhile upgrades, and only enhance the bike’s tool-like, Swiss Army knife style. Power comes from a liquid-cooled, 52 degree, six-valve V-twin good for about 55 HP on stock Mikuni carbs. Weighing in at 450 pounds, these bikes aren’t particularly quick, but have ample torque and will easily move out of their own way for safe use in modern traffic.

Honda Other | eBay

At about half the going rate of the average new multipurpose Beemer, this one could prove to be very useful for the right buyer. Bring some heated grips and a pair of hard saddlebags.