1976 Moto Guzzi 850T3


  1976 Moto Guzzi 850T3

The 1970 Ambassador had racked up 97,000 trouble-free miles and was a well-loved part of the RetroTours fleet for several decades. It’s balky gearbox, ponderous avoirdupois, and ‘wooden’ drum brakes were never so bad as to offset its fantastic comfort, stability, and reliability. I would probably have never sold it had it not been for Nick.

    Nick moved to Hawaii with his parents as a teenager. He is an avid motorcyclist rider and collector, and we met when he joined a RetroTour to the Barber Museum years ago. He subsequently joined several other tours and at some point, became enthralled with Moto Guzzis, which he duly began to accumulate. Nick found this clean 850T3 on eBay, then asked me to accept delivery and store the machine until his next trip ‘back east’, when he planned to collect the machine, ride it to the west coast, then ship it across the Pacific to the Big Island.

Several years passed and, as often happens, certain factors changed for Nick.
Long story short, in 2017, Nick flew over and we rode to Seven Springs together, then he sold the machine to me. It has since been on a half-dozen tours and has proven itself to be at least as well liked as the Ambassador. Differences include the 5-speed transmission, less weight, a more compact alternator of greater capacity, sportier suspension, noticeably more spunk from the motor, quicker steering, and the best part of all…brakes that actually work!
         It has brakes, Jim, but not as we know it…not as we know it, Jim.

Ahead of their time perhaps, Guzzi decided to use three Brembo calipers and discs, but with a twist: Integrated Brakes. The brake pedal actuates the rear caliper plus one front caliper, and the diminutive front master cylinder controls just one front caliper. Normal braking is done with the foot pedal; the brake handle is only used to add a bit more force, or to hold the bike stationary on a hill. Many modern bikes now use some form of integrated brake system, but Guzzi was first. Once you adjust your braking habits a bit, you will enjoy this torque-y brute. It retains the essence of Italy.

                            l'Ambasciatore è morto, lunga vita al T3.