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‘75 Moto Guzzi 850T – Revival Cycles

Posted on December 2, 2013 by Andrew in Café Racer, Classic. 20 comments

Imagine, if you will, a manufactured object that represents the perfect mix of Japanese and Italian culture. What do you think that would look like? As an obvious starting point, both nations are formidable engineers and industrial designers, so you’d have to expect something that was built to within an inch of it’s life. Both countries are totally and utterly obsessed with food, so you’d assume that the object would show a love for the finer things in life. And both have a high appreciation of aesthetics, so you’d think the thing would look a million dollars. No coincidence, then, that today’s bike is exactly that; a killer Italianese mash-up that takes the best from both it’s parents. Meet Revival’s ‘75 850T Yama-Guzuki named ‘Beto’.

“This is a 1975 850t chosen specifically because it was the only Guzzi that came with the twin-leading rear drum brake” says Alan Stulberg, Revival’s chief resucitator. “This made it the least desirable 850 model at the time it was made, but the best for the Guzzi parts stash I had in the shop to build what is ostensibly my personal dream bike; specifically the authentic OEM Yamaha TZ front dual twin-leading shoe or four-leading shoe drum brake that I’d been dying to put on something a little different. The brake inspired the entire build.”

“A long-time friend who is loyal to Revival commissioned the build and trusted our hair-brained scheme with the drum brake,so off we went. We found a donor 850T in Tennessee that was in pieces, but with a title. We immediately decided to add an inverted 2007 Suzuki GSXR front fork set-up to the drum brake, fully knowing this illogical combination would be ludicrous to most, but utterly simple in its intention to combine the best brake of the period this bike was made during and some of the finest suspension technology of modern machines. This challenge alone was a complicated one. Using the factory Suzuki large-diameter front axle was a problem that required us to machine the factory Yamaha hub to fit and sourcing of super thin diameter bearings to accommodate it all safely.”

“We then heavily gusseted the frame, removed the lower frame rail, gusseted the rear swingarm and added an Ohlins rear shock and spring. Then we completed shaved and cut open the rear Guzzi twin-leading drum to match the front TZ drum.

We then decided that a handmade one-off integrated unibody alloy tank, seat and tail would lead the style cues and the rest just sort of followed from there. The aluminum handmade pieces are all over this bike and include the headlight cowl, the headlight brackets, front brake linkage, footpegs, shifter, brake pedal, intake manifolds and exhaust. They were all hand-formed from scratch and machined in-house using our equipment. So much love went into this bike and it’s been great to be able to say that only the powder-coating and leather seat was made elsewhere, the rest is all us.

“This bike was not only build to look good, it was built to perform. We recently took it to Jay Leno’s Garage and after Jay rode it he exclaimed that it was by far the best handling and road-going Guzzi he’d ever ridden. It stops on a dime and it carves corners with the best of them. It’s been ridden over a thousand miles now and it’s ready for many more.

Here’s a not-so-simple list of mods that we can remember for the 850t. As mentioned there’s the Yamaha TZ racing 4LS front brake and the Inverted GSXR Forks. There’s some fully custom one-off CNC triples. POSH grips, widened hubs and Custom 18″ alloy wheels. There’s an LED alloy headlight with hand-formed headlight fairing and brackets. We’ve also got a Motogadget M-unit and M-lock which replacing all relays and fuses, one-off gullwing style alloy clip-ons, an integrated gas tank, seat and tail and a dropped & lower frame rail.”

“There’s one-off pegs, shifter and braking system, a one-off stainless exhaust with CNC-machined header clamps, and (you guessed it) a one-off CNC-machined cut alloy frame tie-plate. All cables and the wiring was handmade and there’s a hidden LED taillight system. We also polished and smoothed everything. Oh, and the handmade seat by Ginger at New Church Moto.”

  • Keiththeoutfitter

    Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the ‘one-off braking system’ have an upside-down brake pedal, and is the bolt on the rear brake actuating arm not snugged down? Otherwise, a fine looking machine.

    • Alan Stulberg

      Keith….photos can be tricky. What you are looking at perhaps is the shifter on the left side that is notched specifically for upward toe shifting grip. The brake pedal is on the right side and works normally. The brake actuating arm is definitely snugged down and been holding for well over 500 miles now. Thanks for the positive remarks regardless.

  • B. J. Parker

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Fantome_NR

    would like to see shots of the right side of the bike…

  • arnold

    Look, if it was me I wouldn’t be presenting a sub par anything to Mr Leno. His deserved reputation in the transportation/collection/rebuilding/making it run field may not be the top, but it beats a whole bunch. Besides, even though cut for public consumption, I get a sense he really is a gear head, and retiring from the nightly public stage with some sort of grace.

    That being said, what the heck does he know. this is a FANtastic build.ald.

    • Alan Stulberg

      I’m confused….did someone say something disparaging Leno or are you saying this is a sub-par machine? Also…I’ve worked WITH Leno directly on bikes and cars in his shop and he definitely knows his stuff and has full knowledge of the inner workings of all of his machines. He gets his hands dirty every day in that garage. To say he’s technical would be a huge understatement. It’s obvious when you spend time with him that he works in television and LIVES for machines.

      • arnold

        No confusion, to you or me. Just a slight dig that sat with you wrong, my apologies.

        • Craig Gore

          Your comment is causing confusion because it makes no sense.

  • revdub

    You guys are kicking some serious ass. Another massively beautiful bike. The metalwork is stellar.

  • Ignore the strangely low Facebook likes on this bike. Obviously a glitch on their side as it was through the roof last night. Damn you Zuckerberg!

    • We just realised that the FB link was broken. Damn. We’ve reposted it to make sure that Alan and the Revival boys get the attention their build deserves. Thanks!

  • RHC

    Did I see this at the Harvest Classic? This bike needs only one comment….WOW!
    When I win the Lotto I’ll bring you my 2008 Guzzi 1200 Sport and leave a blank check.
    Call me when you’re done.

  • P. Cossette

    Good god the craftsmanship on those handmade parts is astounding. Also did you just come up with “built to within an inch of it’s life”?

  • Steve

    A really nice fabrication job..a really like the swing arm job and mating that to an ohlins is a nice touch. The pipe plumbing is nicely done….. If only Moto Guzzi would make something like this . Gone are the days of hand built…. But I suppose that is the very thing that inspires fabricators to build these tasty one off bikes. Nice job.

  • mtiberio

    updraft carbs?

  • I could look at the brake drums all day – in fact, they could be hung on the wall as art. Beautiful body work as well. I’m always impressed with hand crafted alloy tins. Totally cool.

  • Sideroad

    They said on Jay leno’s show that it is in the $50-$60k price. Beautifull bike, but bloody hell that price is nuts.

  • Marriedtodanger

    This bike is named beto, because that is the owners name. He is a friend of mine and this thing is $$$$$$$$$. The guy raced the Baka 1000 and is a overall badass.

  • Just sayin

    Looks gay

  • I definitely “Get” the drum brakes. Very nice and I can understand where they could be the center pieces to build a bike around. Very nice!