1984 Moto Guzzi V65SP


1984 Moto Guzzi V65SP1984 Moto Guzzi V65SP.
Sometimes we find a cool old bike.
Other times it finds us.
 In the midst of the Corona pandemic a dear  old friend contacted me. A friend of hers wanted this slightly beat up old Guzzi out of the garage. The deal was: take it, look it over, and pay whatever you think is fair. How can you say no to an offer like that? Some work was needed, and my plan was to fix it up a bit and sell it for a profit. The problem was that in fixing it up, I became attached to this quirky example of Italian design. The lower fairing panels had been removed. Once they were reinstalled, the styling statement became clear. The three piece faring with the cylinders jutting through the lowers resembles the Le Mans II and was developed in the famous La Galleria de Vento, the world’s first motorcycle wind tunnel, built in 1950 by Carlo and Giuseppe Guzzi in Mandello de Lario, on the shores of Lake Como.
Looks aside, the ride experience also made me decide to keep this bike. Sure, for a 6 foot tall rider like me, the lowers hit my knees, so I must ride with legs splayed apart somewhat. Still, the character of the engine shines through and the impeccable steering and handling are a joy to experience. Compared to the 850T3 this bike seems incredibly agile, if slightly underpowered. Compared to the V50, this bike feels more muscular and planted. It slots very nicely between the two. With three disc brakes stopping power is abundant, but one must remember to use a heavy right foot, as the foot pedal controls the rear disc and one front disc. Using the front brake handle alone energizes just one front disc and makes the front brake feel inadequate. Once the rider adjusts braking technique and uses both brakes together with extra rear pedal the stopping potential is fully realized. This system was intended to work better for riders who tend to overuse the rear brake.

The motor uses Heron heads: the combustion chambers are cast into the piston crowns and the heads are flat. This design makes for less expensive components and has been developed to give decent horsepower and a nice flat torque spread. It all comes together in this mid-size, user friendly package. The frame has removeable lower rails. The swing arm bolts directly to the rear of the engine case. This makes major service operations interesting, since the engine is not removed from the frame in the normal manner. Instead, the frame is unbolted from the engine/transmission/swing arm/rear wheel assembly and lifted off. The powertrain stays on the bench while the frame and front end are wheeled into a corner of the shop. This construction which utilizes an aluminum swing arm yields a rigid structure that provides sure footed handling. The Euro-sport handlebars give a slightly leaning forward riding posture which works very well with the small handlebar fairing and flat seat to give an all-day comfortable ride. Who needs the weight and expense of a 1,000cc behemoth when 650cc will do very nicely, thanks very much.