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1975 Moto Guzzi 850T

Posted on October 8, 2012 by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 27 comments

There’s nothing quite like the sight of a super clean Moto Guzzi. To my eyes, when done right, they are the most pulchritudinous of all the motorcycle species. And this one is up there with the best of them. Built by Jason Wonder from Wonder Customs who received world wide recognition for his V-ROD custom a few years ago. “I don’t build show bikes, even though I built the Rev-2 that was in the AMD show in 2009” he says. “I build bikes you can ride”. Jason is a “one man shop” based in Texas and has been building bikes professionally for the past 8 years – not bad for a 27 year old. Jason builds both new and old bikes from vintage Ducati’s and Guzzi’s through to new American V-twins and racers. His Dad was a flat track racer so motorcycles have always been in his blood – and it looks like he’s put a bit of that blood into this ride…

We’ll pass the mic over to Jason to give us the low-down: “The build was for a customer who had seen a really clean little CB750 I had built. By the time he called me, it was already sold though. I had been wanting to do a Guzzi build and after some talking I found he was also passionate about Guzzi’s. My order was to make a super clean, everyday ride. The donor was a 1975 850T which had been completely wrinkle coated black. A complete mess.”

The engine stayed stock with a top end overhaul. The ballistic battery is under the gearbox now in an aluminum cradle and an aluminum piece replaces the old huge battery tray/compartment. Living in California he had to have the full deal to be legal, so gauges and blinkers are there. The front end is stock but has been rebuilt by Jason. Harley caliper on the front with fins to match the rear drum, interestingly looks right at home though. Bars are MSR MX bars with Scott grips, with all new switch housings. The tank is the original only painted in understated two-tone by Strobe.

Jason built the seat and had the leather upholstered by his buddy Eddie. Jason built the rear fender as minimal as possible. Exhaust is stock headpipes into a free flowing h pipe. Rear 14 1/2 inch after market shocks help smooth things out. Stock speedo in a custom aluminum housing. Dual sports Shinko 705 tires keep it rolling. He also ditched the stock harness for a hidden setup under the tank running all the new electrics.

This beautiful Guzzi is now with it’s owner enjoying the twisties in California, and we’re guessing he’s probably very happy that the CB750 he originally had his eyes on was sold before he got there.

As for Jason, he has another Guzzi project on the cards, this time a 1976 v1000 with a sidecar. “I haven’t started this build yet, waiting for a customer with ideas” he says. If you’re interested and have some ideas, get in contact with Mr Wonder.


  • mack-o-matik

    Astonishing work! I really like the open frame, and oh man – that seat is a blast! But WHY!?! a sidemount plate for god’s sake? The symetrical concept is thrown and lost… and thats a complete waste of taste. Do mankind a favour and put that light and the plate in the middle. Please.

  • mtiberio

    Good luck with those shinkos. I bought a set and my Guzzi felt like it was falling into the corners dangerously. no confidence. I put them on the shelf and have since gone with Avon Distanzias…

  • tmcsp

    Great looking bike! Love to two-tone work on the tank, and the seat looks fantastic. Nice to see cool custom that can accommodate two people on it.
    Only qualms is it needs a fork brace / front fender though, I can only imagine how much flex in going through those little stanchions.That and the exhaust needs a second look too. It looks unfinished with those straight pipes. Some nice megaphones would set it off nice.
    Overall a great looking ride-able custom. Cool.

  • Yann

    anybody knows about the tires ?

    • JohnB

      I’ve run Shinko 705s on my XS650 street tracker and MZ enduro for thousands of miles, and like them well enough that I’ll put them on the DL650, too. I’m surprised that mtiberio reported having a bad time with them, below. I’ve read that some sizes in the range are bias ply and some are radials. Mine are radials.

      • mtiberio

        the only size they make that will fit the 2.15″x18″ guzzi rims is the 4.10-18 rear. i bought them as an experiment. they were $50 each. what can I say, I have ridden guzzis since 1979, and roadraced them for the better part of 18 years. they might be great tires on other bikes, but putting the 4.10×18 rear tire on the front of the guzzi made it feel unsafe… YMMV

        • JBB2

          I have approximately 0% of your track experience (Guzzi experience, too, darn it), so your judgment of how they perform closer to the limit is way better than mine. The 120/80-18 on the rear of the XS650 has been good for me as a street tire, with good grip wet or dry and decent life.

          • mtiberio

            what size rim does the xs have on the back?

          • JBB2

            (both Takasago shouldered aluminium rims, 36 spokes):
            Front 1.85X19
            Rear 2.15X18

  • rennie61

    Great bike bit what on earth does ‘pulchritudinous’ mean? Can you be more James Ellroy
    and less Will Self please? Like my bikes I prefer the language to be stripped-down too 🙂

    • Sorry that was my word of the day. Means ‘physical beauty’. Don’t worry, I will go back to my simple vocabulary.

      • rennie61

        No worries, I was always taught to ask what a word means if I don’t know and that was a peach

      • LOL. I put my first post before reading this. And what have I told you about too many words in articles????

  • xsbank

    “Daily driver?” No mufflers, no front fender? Harley caliper? They don’t work on Harleys which weigh as much as this does, don’t think so.
    Except for that, love it; I agree with the comments on that silly license plate thing. That oil leak or whatever the stain is on the right side will get fixed?
    I know, picky picky but it could have been even better! When I used to take latin, pulchritude described girly beauty, but I think it means more than that now.

  • This is a different take on a Guzzi. I like the stripped down look and I like the fact that it’s a rider.

  • revdub

    Absolutely awesome. Very clean . The frame looks great. I really like that open mid-frame.

    • Works as a great place to set your Starbucks…for about half a second.

      • revdub

        Coffee is one option. I was thinking a nice glass of whiskey.

        • arnold

          The holes look perfect for a tasting set at the micro brewery.

          • revdub

            Beers from around the bike.

  • RussellLowe

    I’ve got one of these … A pretty standard one and I’ve always thought that when I customized it I would be going lower and longer. So this is a real eye opener … The sound from those pipes would be brilliant too.

  • itsmefool

    Not really a Guzzi fan myself, but after seeing this example, the things are growing on me. Plus, Jason’s a fellow Texan…

    As for the license plate placement, remember the bike is now in California (that’s a Texas plate shown) and unless the law recently changed, it’s illegal for bikes in the Golden State to display vertical plates. See Vehicle Code Section 5201.

  • pulchritudinous – word of the day. I admit, I had to look it up.

  • The Guzzi feels a bit “pedestrian” compared to its Italian cousins. BUT, her cousins were built for racing while she was built for endurance (standard issue police bike.) With that said, customs seem to better evolve from commuter rather than race bikes IMHO. Don’t get me wrong, I like all flavors. The Guzzi is just a bike that doesn’t have to be 50 years old to look classic.

  • fjtiger

    Amazing build! I dig the cleanliness of it and the shinko’s look right on. I want you to build me a guzzi next….

  • PGearbox

    Pulchritudinous also means comely:)

  • 50merc

    I just sold my 76 850 t3. Gonna miss that bike.