While every brand has its share of fanatics, it’s the Italian marques that seem to inspire the most passion. Some people fawn over their race-bred Ducatis, some battle mercurial Laverdas while the remainder squirrel away in their sheds, tinkering at old Moto Guzzis. While not strictly a Guzzi fanatic, Johannesburg-based professional photographer Kevin Rudham will no doubt have Italian fans nodding in appreciation at his re-born 1980 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk II. Impressively, he completed nearly all the work himself. ‘It took two years,’ Kevin says, ‘and I outsourced only the powder coating and electroplating, but the rest I did myself, including the paint job with a borrowed compressor and a cheap Chinese touch up gun.’
Getting your custom motorcycle on Pipeburn isn’t too difficult. All you need to do is provide good quality, clear photographs and a few hundred words about yourself and the bike. This will get edited into something a little more readable for you, our appreciative audience. The details from bike builders vary. Sometimes we get beautifully poetic prose, sometimes we get a surfeit of detail about the minutiae of the build. And other times we get a few lonely lines of broken English with only the most basic details, leaving us struggling to make up the word count. That’s what we got when we were sent photos of Santiago Choppers’ 2000 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport. Thankfully, in this case, the pictures really are worth a thousand words.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
When Moto Guzzi released the 1995 1100 Sport the global press first fell in love with the idea of a true Guzzi sports bike and then just as quickly turned to frowns when it was announced the dry weight would be an obese 230kg. That sort of weight and “sport” just don’t fit, but some 20 years after its release experts of crafting Italian classics, Moto Studio of Miami Florida asked themselves a simple question. “How do you make a Moto Guzzi into a sport bike?” The answer is to shed as much weight as possible, increase horse power as much as one can while still running pump gas and dial in some serious suspension bits.
What’s the most common item to be modded first on a custom bike, would you say? The seat? The rubber? Maybe the ‘bars? Now consider what the most unlikely first thing to sink your teeth into might be. Actually, don’t bother, because Peter Boggia and the crew at Brooklyn’s Moto Borgotaro already have it figured out. It’s the tacho. And while the rest of us would be wrestling with greasy engines and skinned knuckles, Peter got all Swiss watchmaker on this Guzzi LeMans and followed the look right on through to the rest of this rather sweet-looking bike.
Words by Martin Hodgson.
Moto Guzzi is one of Continental Europe’s classic brands and even more so when you think of Café Racers, making it one of the perfect manufacturers to choose when deciding what bike to base a custom build. But then you go and pick one of their heaviest bikes, all covered in plastic, weighing a gargantuan 500lbs and with an enormously long wheelbase. It seems you like a challenge, one that the boys of Emporio Elaborazioni Meccaniche in Rome were more than up for!
Written by Ian Lee.
When a builder is passionate about the bike he is working on, you can see it in his work. Axel from Kaffeemaschine has almost reached a state of oneness with Moto Guzzi’s. This stunning build is one in a long line of Guzzi’s that were lucky enough to have received his touch. Given the name ‘Machine 14’, the bike has the stance and smooth lines of a classic cafe racer. When it comes to aesthetics, Axel usually chooses less is more. Built up from a stock Le Mans 3 donor bike, this is very much the machine you would find parked up outside the local Kaffeehaus – just after it clocked the Ton.
Written by Martin Hodgson
Building a custom motorcycle that does one thing well is an achievement in of itself, building a custom motorcycle that is capable of being three different bikes is exceptional, from a first time builder it is a Herculean effort. This Guzzi is an automotive piece of sculpture, built for breaking records on the salt flats and registered for the road, it’s three bikes in one and it completes each task with flawless perfection.
Some people are just destined to build bespoke motorcycles. Bruce McQuiston, owner of Moto Studio in Miami is one of those people. He has a background as a sculptor, race car driver and race car engineer – culminating in a perfect combination to build performance bikes that look great. After Bruce retired from car racing he discovered a love of motorbikes. His desire to build a bike for himself eventually morphed into building bikes for friends and then customers. McQuiston’s choice of motorcycles are classic Ducati’s and Moto Guzzi’s. “I admire many builders from around the world that work with other manufacturers,” explains McQuiston, “but for me, the bike needs to start with a soul.” So his latest build is this stunning 1995 Moto Guzzi 1100 called “Loca Moto” – and yes, this Italian has soul.
‘Trailer Queen’. We’ve all heard the phrase before. It implies that a bike has been customised to the point where it just can’t be ridden. Hell, if you believe some of the more mainstream motorcycle writers you’d think that just about any kind of personalisation or customisation somehow renders a bike freakishly unsuitable for anything bar a once-yearly wobble around the block. But in our minds, that’s the opposite of the truth. The fact is that the manufacturers are forced to make hundreds of ‘one size fits all’ decisions on every bike they make. Be it for budget, new rider or even regulatory considerations, there’s no way a mass-produced bike can be perfect for you unless you make it perfect yourself. And we’re pretty sure that this latest build from Spain’s Maccomotors is a perfect case-in-point.
There’s not many bike builders that would buy a brand new Moto Guzzi Griso just to cut it into pieces. But then there’s not many customizers that are as passionate about Guzzi’s as Stefan Bronold from Radical Guzzi. When it comes to building bikes, he really wants to put the “racer“ back into café racers. Everything on the bike is there for a reason and helps to achieve Stefan’s favourite word… performance.