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‘78 Moto Guzzi Le Mans I – Revival Cycles


Posted on November 3rd, by Andrew in Classic, Racer. 27 comments

It’s hard to deny that Moto Guzzi hold a rather special place in the pantheon of motorcycles. They’re a whole lot cooler and unusual than your average Ducati. They’re definitely more passionate than most BMWs. And there’s little doubt that they can out-sport most Triumphs, even if it is by their looks alone. In what you could call a Lamborghini-esque niche, they seem to occupy that perfect world where collectable, beautiful and unusual intersect. Which makes a custom Guzzi even more of an impressive proposition. And when they’re done as well as the bikes that have been rolling out Austin’s Revival Cycles in recent years, it’s a wonder that the other shops haven’t given up and gone home. Meet their latest and quite probably their greatest, the ‘78 Le Mans Special.

“I bought this bike as someone’s unfinished factory restoration project,” says Revival Cycle’s main resuscitator, Alan Stulberg. “He literally kissed it and bid it farewell when I handed him the cash. It was sort of emotional, but in reality it came to me with everything zip-tied on it to make it look as if it were a functioning bike. It was simply a rolling parts rack with everything finger-tight and I seriously had it back apart in less than an hour.”

“Not many Guzzi lovers come across a factory-clean Le Mans I for a decent price and the purists would be screaming, but I simply couldn’t resist the urge to rip it down and turn it into the custom Le Mans I’d always wanted. After coming up with some basic design parameters, I started de-tabbing and cutting the frame down. We then built a custom aluminum tail and seat pan, a black suede seat with red stitching on the outside edge with a chevron pattern and a hidden RFID sensor under a Revival “R” logo to act as a keyless ignition switch.”

“We cut down and custom-fitted a set of Tarozzi rearsets and relocated the rear master to further clean up the rear ‘triangle’ section. We deleted the center stand, built a custom stainless 2-1 exhaust with a CONE Engineering silencer (the sound is the most amazing Italian goodness I’ve ever heard). We serviced the engine, verified fantastic compression and installed a new DYNA electronic ignition. It all started up on the first try. The Lithium Iron battery buried under the seat is tiny but cranks things up beautifully.”

“The vintage Marzocchi rear shocks were a cool find that simply had to go on this bike. They are upside down because they wouldn’t fit with the factory rear brake caliper, but I strangely prefer them this way. They were revalved and work surprisingly well.

I picked the flat-toned grey color because it resembled the Porsche 356 color that I’ve loved for years. I don’t think most people would paint aluminum. The tail was smooth and ready for polishing, but I decided this color was more what I was after. After that, it was all about the subtle details – the POSH grips, the leather inlay on the tank filler inset, the one-off hand cut leather ‘zip-ties’, the choice to keep the otherwise not-so-subtle Guzzi badge that is made subtle with black paint and maintained to show its heritage.”

 

“The bike is an excellent runner and infinitely faster and better handling than my old T3. It’s a veritable rocket by comparison; she’s a total blast to ride. But not being ones who can leave well-enough alone, we decided to race it in the Barber Vintage Festival this year. We started bu building a full set of alloy bodywork, as you can see. We also put in a stronger clutch, a modern Brembo radial master cylinder, stiffer race-tech fork springs, adjustable air cartridges for fork damping, Icon rear shocks and of course Avon track tires.

On race day Chris managed to start in 14th and got a great hole-shot that helped him finish in 5th place. We were all stunned as he passed modern Japanese sport bikes mixed in with the vintage racers to finish with a winner’s fist pump.”

 

“The future of this bike is likely to include us slapping some tiny headlights down low on the forks and simply riding the hell out of it on the street until we can get it back on the track. We have decided that we’ll also be building a more fitting race engine to make sure Chris doesn’t have to settle for 5th place next time.”





  • http://www.mulemotorcycles.net/ Mule

    Even as much as I like the workmanship of the small aluminum fairing, the last picture looks the best. The rear number plates and belly pan are a wee bit much and the exhaust when visible is a huge plus. Be better with no pipewrap as the flowing exhaust lines look great! Nice job.

    • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

      Then just wait until you see their next build… ;)

    • Lewn

      Agree, the minimalist last picture looks by far the best.

    • Alan Stulberg

      perhaps you guys missed that the racing tins were all mandatory other than the fairing

  • Fantome_NR

    Those aren’t radial brakes.

    • cagivarider

      … but a radial mc as mentioned.

      Kind regards
      Sven

      • Fantome_NR

        Got it.

  • bud

    great bike, I sure looks alot like a buell with the metal fairing parts over the muffer and frontend.

  • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

    Looks like a cool endurance racer to me.

  • Fast2Furious

    Soooooooo much better without the metal work just lose the pipe wrap and it would be one of the nicest Guzzi customs I’ve seen.

  • Lamont

    Monumentally stupid to cut up a LeMans when a plentiful, cheap supply of 850t’s abounds. We will look back at this in a few years the same way we look at idiots who made “convertibles” out of early 70s Ferraris in the 80s.

    • picking a fight

      Monumentally stupid to look at this bike and say it was a poor decision. You’ll look back on this in a few days the same way you look at Paul from a couple of bikes ago.

      • revdub

        Very funny.

    • Guest

      This is not LM1. It is a LM2, slightly more affordable. But anyway – one can have a Tonti frame out of any Guzzi and cut it however he wants, but a round finned LeMans…? I wouldn’t do this…

      • Alan Stulberg

        As I said below…it IS an LM1 with and LM2 tank and as the article states, there are no doubt many screaming purists. Regardless, it’s MY bike and I’ll never sell it and having it my way was simply the goal from the start.

        • http://geokan.tumblr.com/ GeoKan

          Alan you nailed it with that 356 grey, it’s a beauty!
          I wish you a checkered flag next time, full throttle mate ;)

        • Doug Devine

          Alan how many times have you had to clarify about the model of this bike. Wasn’t the first time at Barber 2 years ago.. Ha I’ve personally had the pleasure of meeting Alan and the whole Revival crew and let me tell you, you haven’t seen anything yet. These guys have more vision and drive than anyone else customizing old and new motorcycles. Keep it up guys and hope to see you in Portland this Feburary!!

        • Mgmue mgmu

          OK, not selling … how bout a trade for a mk3?

    • http://www.mulemotorcycles.net/ Mule

      To me, there isn’t a Moto-guzzi on earth that shouldn’t have a saw taken to it…stat! Except the V-8 or one of the replica V-8’s.

  • Steve

    This is the best looking bike I’ve ever seen. The way the tank bulges over the cylinder heads… Dear lord

  • Стефан ‘Dobermann’ Петров

    Very nicely done. One thing tho – looking at the fuel tank cap, I think this is not LM1. It is a LM2, almost the same, but cheaper.

    • Alan Stulberg

      It’s an LM1…..serial numbers and title verify it, but the tank is definitely LM2. Thanks.

      • George Millwood

        I rode a LM3 tricked out to look like a LM1. I felt like a hooligan every time I started it up. I reckon you can do what you like to your own bike, There are lots of museum piece LM1’s in garages or under dustsheets. Better to be out on the road and ridden. Great work, I just love it.

        • Стефан ‘Dobermann’ Петров

          I have LM1 with open Lafranconi’s Riservato – car alarms screaming all around, wherever I go… :)

  • revdub

    Revival is the shop to watch in my opinion. They are creating beautiful bikes with a purpose. Huge respect for what they are doing.

  • Mgmue mgmu

    Awesome bike. Loved it more pre number plates, but its still quite the bike. I read previously a little about the electrics and would love to find an article which delves into that more.

  • Marek Kazmierski

    one thing custom guzzis nail – even balance between front/rear wheel size. all else follows. and in the case of this build, just magnifies the magnificence. both versions, clean and dirty, are alltimer classics.