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Moto Guzzi 1000SP – Blitz Motorcycles

Posted on September 23, 2015 by Andrew in Brat. 44 comments


Written by Martin Hodgson.

When Fred and Hugo from Blitz Motorcycles in Paris fielded a call from Jacques in Luxembourg asking them to breathe life into an old Moto Guzzi 1000SP they jumped at the chance to work on a marque they’d not before laid their hands on. But when the machine in question finally arrived they started to have second thoughts, rust had left the foot rests, master cylinder and other assorted pieces literally hanging on by a thread of steel. But with their love of creating industrial-styled flat trackers, a copy of Moto Guzzi’s service manual in their hands and the bike named in honour of a beautiful Italian visitor named Monica they started to craft the Guzzi in their own style, and it’s more than just a set of Firestones.


The metal cancer ridden Guzzi was stripped down to its barebones and the boys hoisted it onto the operating table for extensive surgery. The frame has been modified to accept the new gas tank, surely a first, with the fitting of a Suzuki GT 175 tank, dents and all, to the big Italian chassis. The back-end of the frame also came in for significant modification with a rear hoop added to support the new bespoke black tracker seat. Before these items were finally bolted on the frame and side stand were powder coated in a dark gloss blue. Blitz fabricated the short rear fender in-house and it along with the handlebars, fork legs and wheels are finished in black powder coat that will resist any chipping the street stones of Europe can throw at it.


The thumping 1000 Guzzi V-Twin is an engine like no other, it is unapologetic in being mechanical and will vibrate even at its low 900rpm idle, but it’s this very characteristic that makes it so addictive. This is an engine that leaves the rider totally in control with a level of feedback lost now to modern electronics and ‘refinement’; It has monstrous torque, it’ll rev to 8k and close the throttle and it engine brakes like a GP bike. But the version brought to the Blitz boys was dead, so a full rebuild including new pistons, rings and gaskets was undertaken finishing the heads and covers in black. The carbs are new PHB 36 Dell’Orto units breathing through custom aluminium filters and the twin stainless exhausts retain the industrial look in matte grey ceramic coating. Moto Guzzi didn’t exactly spend big on electrics using pre-war technology so the charging system has been replaced and spark is now vastly improved with an upgrade to CDI ignition.

If there is a theme to the Blitz builds it is that they like their tracker bars a little higher than most, enabling the rider to wrestle their beast from a riding position more like a Motocrosser. The Guzzi is no different and the stark white grips are a unique contrast to the dark palette of the remainder of the build. A vintage look, yellow lensed, headlight gives a totally different feel to the soft touring style of the factory item. The small bates taillight lets other motorists know just when the rider has grabbed a handful of brake courtesy of the new master cylinder and the brakes have been upgraded with new calipers front and rear. The vintage industrial theme continues with the engine breather attached to the frame with a leather strap from L’Anguille and fuel levels monitored by a sight tube.


Mean and lean

Of course some modern technology is used to bring the Guzzi into the 21st century with the only instrumentation needed coming in the form of the multifunction Motogadget speedo. While ensuring Jacques is never stranded is a new Lithium-Ion battery mounted in a hand fabricated box under the seat. This mix of old and new proved the perfect combination straight out of the box with the initial test ride by Jacques a 300km ride from Blitz Motorcycles to a meeting with his daughter in Brussels. And what better way to cover the diverse roads of Europe than on a Blitz tracker that is just as comfortable touring as it is ripping up old cobbled back streets. It’s deliberately unrefined in its refinement, it makes the most of the great Guzzi engine and another old wrecker has been given a new life thanks to a few months at Blitz motorcycles rehabilitation centre.

  • John Wanninger


    This bike is too cool to drop the ball on the such a ghetto tank…

  • Casey Braaksma

    I like the 1/2″ of suspension travel in the front

  • Стефан ‘Dobermann’ Петров

    Messy wires, no front suspension travel, low quality seat, ugly tires, Suzuki emblem on an Italian bike…

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      Methinks the correct term should they’re trying to be ‘ ironic ‘ instead of ‘ different ‘ . As in hipster ironic . Which we all know isn’t ironic in the slightest

  • revdub

    I’m sure the tank will become the main talking point on this, but the work on the rear section is worth mentioning. This looks real good. I really dig the headlight and clean handlebars too.

    • Clean handlebars? What about that ridiculous and dangerous throttle cable??

      • And I think the headlight is a Walmart $3.99 special. But at least the grips offer some contrast to the all black motif.

      • revdub

        The things I mentioned were the positive things I could find to say. The things I left unsaid, well, everyone else has pretty well covered it.

  • If it’s powdercoated “to resist chipping”, then why the careless use of a dented Suzuki tank with badges on?

    “and it engine brakes like a GP bike”. I would think GP bikes have very little engine braking. Could be wrong though.

    Can’t make out what that clear plastic tubing on the left side of the tank is.

    ” This is an engine that leaves the rider totally in control…” Meaning what?

    “While ensuring Jacques is never stranded is a new Lithium-Ion battery…” poor syntax and really, NEVER?

    “And what better way to cover the diverse roads of Europe than on a Blitz tracker…” Not THIS Blitz tracker, surely!

    Ok, I could go on and on but the bike has little to recommend it and the writing is just full of nonsense.

    Not up to Pipeburns’ usual standards.

    • martin hodgson

      I don’t normally debate things much on the net but…
      1.Probably because while a tank can be removed and repainted very easily, frames etc are not so easy.

      2. GP bikes have an enormous amount of engine braking and it is a huge part of engine development. You don’t stop a 330km/h missile with brakes alone. In fact the engine braking is so powerful the teams use the electronic package to inject fuel at zero throttle when the speed sensor detects the rear wheel is locking to open the exhaust valves and avoid a rear wheel locking from the engine braking. The clutch package is also used in a similar way, something Ducati have struggled with at times. This is very well known…

      3. I’ve had a quality L-Ion battery for three years and never been stranded once, in fact unless you get a dud (Rare) and can’t wire a bike properly you shouldn’t be running flat in 2015! and Artistic license.

      4. Well Jacques was clearly stoked and he was the one writing the cheque! It would also be easy to say a Panigale etc In Parisian traffic… I’ll take this Guzzi any day!

      If there was one Motorcycle that was perfect for everyone’s taste then we wouldn’t have so many marques with so many models and so many builders making so many different variations of custom creations. Sure, we can poke holes in anything, I’m guessing Monica Bellucci has looked less than stunning once in her life. But personally I’d prefer to come at things with an open mind, see the positive in things and appreciate the hard work and skill involved.

      Blitz have a style which they do well, so well that people from other countries jump on the phone and offer good money for them to do their thing to a range of machines. You might not love it, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

      When I see a bike, even one that doesn’t blow the wind up my skirt, I can still find elements that inspire me to get back down into the workshop and get creative trying to do the things that make me happy and for that I am grateful to every single builder who puts their balls on the line and offers up their creations for the world to see.


      • revdub

        Perfectly said.

      • Well thanks for setting me straight on the GP bike issue.

        What I failed to make clear is that poor Jaques is likely to be stranded by a lot of things, and the battery ain’t gonna be of any help.

        That bike just does nothing for me at all. C’est la vie.

        • Hardley T Whipsnade III

          On the last point you and I are on the same page . And in response to Mr RevSome I’d say ;

          I’m sorry but I must of missed something . Since when did poor workmanship , junkyard aesthetics and substandard engineering become a ‘ style ‘ ?

          As for the rest all I’ll say is methinks the ‘ claims ‘ outweigh reality when it comes to this bike including the ‘ engine braking ‘ by a long shot .

          • Hardley T Whipsnade III

            Meant in response to Mr Hodgeson

      • Exactly.

      • It’s obvious you love this bike, but I consider every Blitz build I’ve seen on the net to be like fingernails dragging across a chalkboard. Arrrgggg! While your skirt is waving in the wind from this one, consider the contrast to the XV1000 you wrote about. That bike was F-ing incredible!! This is the antithesis of that build. That said, the junk bike custom scene seems to be extremely popular. If you went to a salvage yard and called it a bike show, that might be a real money maker. But I agree about the inspiration from seeing a nice bike and wanting to get back into the shop. I think that drives lots of people. Great article on the XV1000 too.

        • stu

          2 or 3 years back the brothers Del Prado were often seen on this and other sites. These seemingly nice chaps received some decent feedback for their tidy brand of H-D chops and, quite reasonably, they posted their thanks for the plaudits. Later builds however, met with “one-trick ponies”, “what have F1 paint-jobs and rigid iron heads got in common?” (the hateful “I don’t get it…”), and “is that all you’ve got?” type comments. Understandably the guys stopped posting back. What they didn’t do is publicly analyse their decision-making process ad infinitum, or comment disparagingly on the work of other professionals. As the sporting maxim has it, they did their talking on the pitch. It simply does not sit well with me when someone who makes a living in a relatively subjective field (and whose opinion is so widely admired) should comment on others who also have to make ends meet.They do, after all, have their own web sites. I understand that some people will miss the point and carry on about freedom of speech (if only that were real, sigh!), but I submit this here Mule, in the hope that, away from the incoherent yammering of our “old” chum, I might finally say what I tried to say in the first place (in another place -that’s a very English joke, sorry). Having got that off my chest I shall now retire from the field.

          • Troll alert!

          • stu

            That’s not what “troll” means Dick. And still with the name-calling? Tragic.

          • lemieuxmc

            It would be pretty impressive if it was put together by a 15 year old kid whose uncle had a towing company and let him mess around out in the back with the junk bikes that had been towed in (and he spent less than $200 all up).

      • Playskool

        To give you my thoughts on your 4 points:

        1- “The frame has been modified to accept the new gas tank”, so probably too late to change the tank unless you modify the frame one more time and as you said it yourself “frames etc are not so easy”…

        2- I agree with the GP bike engine braking power. But you don’t stop a 240kg italian motorcycle (neither a GP bike) with engine brake alone. Anyway I cannot imagine riding this thing fast enough to need any brake at all… If I my memory serves, I read somewhere that RSD, arguably one of the most talented rider around, crashed with one of their previous build at 20Km/h…

        3- Let’s hope they did the wiring properly (when you see all the wires around you can seriously question it).

        4- I take the panigale for sure. I bet you too 😉

  • Jim Stuart

    I for one love the Magatu inspired “derelicte” theme. If you close your eyes as a group tell me you all can’t envision Zoolander and Hasel on the runway aboard their matching Guzzi’s. Genius I tell yah…pure genius!

  • Playskool

    On the positive side:
    1- Nice exhaust sytem
    2- Beautiful rear fender
    3- The seat looks comfortable (even if it’s flat)
    4- You can take a passenger (not sure if it a good or a bad point if the bike cannot be ridden properly)

    On the negative side:
    1- Useless big front tire (probably messing big-time with the handling,
    knowing how thin were the original tires and how well this bike was
    originaly moving in the corners).
    2- Firestone are possibly the worst
    choice when you know how wet and slippery are the Belgian/Luxembourg
    roads (if you combine it to point number 1 it gets even better).
    3- 3.7cm travel when you got a cheesy 35mm thick fork, that’s some serious engineering.
    What is the point in putting “new calipers” if you are going to use the
    same original Brembo P08 with old rotors when customer-praised aftermarket
    floating rotors are available everywhere?
    5- Cables and wires (purposely?) left hanging in dangerous situations.
    6- Why sourcing a dented 125cc Suzuki tank on a repainted/powder-coated/varnished 1000cc vintage italian bike?
    Yellow fog light instead of a proper headlight… (Also Hoping for the
    owner that the turn signals are so well hidden that I cannot see them).
    8- “new pistons, rings and gaskets” seems like strict minimum work when you are rebuilding a non functioning engine…

    Total 4-8= -4

    For me it’s a big fail…

  • Guzzto

    This makes me sad 🙁

  • I see the peanut gallery is really on form today. More peanuts, guys?

    • blackbird

      Yeah, it’s so crazy how everyone here knows exactly how to build a motorcycle the one and only true way. You know, the way in which anything different than exactly what they would do is completely and totally insane… and so well spoken about it to boot. Finally, Blitz has been exposed as total frauds!!!!!!

    • Gregg The Baker

      Peanut gallery?! Don’t put in a comment section for ‘insignificant opinions’ then!
      Or we can all fuck off and then nobody voices any opinion whatsoever?

      It’s an iconic bike yes, but it’s a half cocked build. looks as though it’s been thrown together over two weekends by picking random ‘cool shit’ they liked from a Roland Sands catalogue.

      “Yeeeah, cause’ Firestones are cool as fuck..”

  • grover

    this thing looks amateur as hell…

  • James

    I’m sorry, the tank sticks out like a pair of dogs bollocks.. It’s always going to be a talking point, it just looks half arsed.

    It’s a poor shed build at best.

  • Jim

    “The frame has been modified to accept the new gas tank, surely a first, with the fitting of a Suzuki GT 175 tank, dents and all, to the big Italian chassis”

    Probably is the first time, theres a reason for that….

  • Bultaco Metralla

    I love a good rat bike and can appreciate what Blitz are trying to do. I seem to remember defending them on a previous occasion somewhere on the net. Sometimes, however, the magic doesn’t happen.

    • This is not meant as a criticism of your comment, but please explain to me what they “Are trying to do”. They (He) powdercoats the frame, rebuilds/tidies up the motor and exhaust, so far so good, then goes full reverse with the tank, seat and tires. I realize the scruff-bike craze is gaining momentum and like the cafe craze has neared it’s peak and I anxiously await the next movement. But is the goal to use entirely used parts, salvage a bike and get it on the road again, make a nice bike start de-evolving or…..? Half the bikes I see in Southern California are rode hard , beat to shit, dry chains dragging low, and then put away wet. Bikes from 20-40 years ago in that condition or building a bike to appear that way somehow have gained hero status. Anyway, paraphrase the genre if that’s possible. Cheers!

      • Bultaco Metralla

        My apologies for being so laggard in reply but I have been working. What I think they are trying to do is to create something that it is beautiful because it is ugly.
        When I lived in France, I encountered the expression “jolie laide” which denoted someone who is unconventionally beautiful. That is they have an asymmetric face, pockmarked skin or some such. Although I have never met the guys from Blitz I assumed that this was the inspiration for what they were trying to do. As well as various art movements over the years that have done much the same thing.
        Some twenty odd years ago, in my part of Australia, we had a brief craze for taking fully faired bikes which had been ‘written off’ in a crash for the expense of repairing the cosmetics and rebuilding them to be perfectly roadworthy but to hell with the cosmetics. I kinda liked that dedication to go not show ethic as it echoed my impecunious youth.
        Does any of that help?.

  • guvnor67


  • stu

    It’s 5 hours now since I posted denouncing the divine right of Mules; where are all the howls of derision and cries of shame? We’re obviously not on bikeexif ho ho! Anyway, I promised I’d push off so I’ll be as good as my word this time.

    • guvnor67

      Thank goodness we’re not on bikeexif, because at least with the good souls at Pipeburn we can still speak out thoughts out loud, whereas that other site has shut me out a few times. Sadly.

      • stu

        Me too. I started a post with “Bloody Hell” and was refused “approval”. As if I would ever seek the approval of anyone who demanded it! Not bloody likely.

        • guvnor67

          I thought I’d clicked onto some communist run site or an Orwellian nightmare, thank god the retreat back to Pipeburn and the kool bikes and souls it attracts is easy!

  • Rene van der Meer

    Blitz Motorcycles rock!

  • zefrenchy

    These hipster’s bikes are a shame.

  • Mo Denaro