Posted by: Jessie | May 8, 2010

My Short-Lived Guzzi Romance


1984 Moto Guzzi v65 sp

So I met the Moto Guzzi V65 sp on Tuesday at Bike Night.  Robb said it was for sale, and he let me sit on it.  It was a little tall, but not too tall.  It was light, and well balanced.  It was easy to put on its center stand.  He offered to let me test ride it, but I did not think that was a good idea since I had already indulged in a couple of beers.  I took Robb’s contact info and went home.

The next day I was still thinking about that Moto Guzzi V65 sp.  Such a good looking bike.  It was in perfect condition.  Just my size.  A classic bike.  Not too fast, not too flashy, but very cool.  I tried to research it on the internet, but I could find very little information about that bike.  There is only one other one like it in the country for sale right now, and it’s not in very good condition.  This Moto Guzzi V65 sp was beginning to look like a rare collectors bike.  I was falling in love with the idea of owning a Moto Guzzi.  I never thought I would own one.  I thought they were all too big and heavy for me.  Not this one.

I sent Robb an email.  He agreed to bring it by Len’s on Saturday so I could test ride it.  Whoo-Hoo!  That night I met up with the guys from Len’s shop at the Mayday.  They all like Moto Guzzis.  They had all seen that bike.  I think Dave had even worked on it.  They all said it was a very nice bike.  They said the master cylinder needed some work.  They said Robb was a super nice guy.  Len encouraged me to let him test ride my Honda, because Robb had said he was looking for a project bike.

The days before this test ride were building in excitement kinda like the days before going on a first date with a guy who is not only good looking, but interesting and romantic too.  You know…  thinking about it…  talking about it… making plans… getting feedback from friends…

Finally the day arrived for the test ride.  I got up early to get ready.  I made coffee to be sure I was awake and alert.  I chose my gear carefully for the weather.  I had planned to ask for some extra time for the test ride so I could take it out on Miami River Road and try it out on some of the turns.  Bummer that there aren’t any curvy roads closer into town. 

Eric got up to start the Honda.  Apparently it had not had enough time on the battery tender this winter, he had some difficulty getting it started.  I put some Lucas fuel system cleaner in the gas tank hoping that would clean out the carbs.  Unfortunately it did not have much gas in it.  Bummer.  I should have filled the tank before I parked the bike.  My poor Honda.  It’s not getting the TLC it needs.  It is spending too much time sitting.  Not enough time running.  Eric suggested that I give it a good run before I take it over to Len’s.  Then he went back inside.  I had a difficult time getting the bike out of the garage, around the other bikes, the air compressor, and all the other things in the way.  Double bummer.  Now I was leaving much later then I had meant to.  I did not want to go straight to Len’s without warming the bike up, letting it run a bit and (hopefully) putting a bit of charge on the battery.  So I hopped on 74 and ran out to North Bend Road and back.  I felt a little embarrassed to be offering it for a test ride without spending a little time with it first to make sure it is running well.

By the time I got to Len’s I was 20 minutes late for my date with Guzzi V65 sp.  Robb didn’t seem to mind though.  He introduced us properly.  He explained to me that the parts for the rear master cylinder had finally come in, so if I bought the bike he would give me the parts.  He said the front suspension needed a little work.  He explained how this model of bike had the front and rear brakes linked for maximum breaking power, so be careful.  He gave me a tour of the controls, and off I went.

It took us a few blocks to build rapport.  Guzzi was taller then I remembered.  His tach and speedo were in opposite positions then on my other bikes.  The speedo was not very accurate.  At first I thought it was in kilometers.  Then I realized it was in both miles and kilometers, and that it was just reading very fast.  I had a hard time finding the break lever with my right foot, and when I finally did the bike stopped right away.  Great breaks.  Guzzi was very easy to ride.  The throttle was not as touchy as on my BMW.  Every time I slowed down my knees would bump the lower fairing.  Ouch.  I guess I could take the lower fairing off, but that would detract from the rare beauty of the bike.  What a shame to do that.

I rode out 74 to Rybolt Rd. then to Miami River Rd.  I turned around at Blue Rock and came back.  I was sad to come back, but I did not want to keep the bike too long.  I liked the way it handled.  Light weight, well balanced, responsive steering.  This bike fit me, but my knees were getting bruised.  And the seat was terribly uncomfortable.  As I passed a police car I realized I had no idea how fast I was going.  The speedo said 50, but I did not get a ticket, even though I was in a 35 mph zone.  I got on 74 and started to head back towards home.  I flew over a frost heave and the bike wobbled oddly.  My first thought was “That’s ok.  It will right itself.  Just stay light on the bars.”  It stopped wobbling after a bit.  Then it wobbled again as I went over the second frost heave.  I thought “That’s just odd.”  After the third one I started to think that there might be something wrong with the bike.  Then I remembered what Rob had said about the suspension.  I wanted a bike that was strong and steady like Clint Eastwood, not one that shimmied like Pam Anderson.

Oh.  It was then that I realized what a relationship with this bike would involve.  This strong handsome classic rare collector’s bike needed someone who could give it all the love and attention it not only deserved, but needed.  Someone who could tend to the seals in the rear master cylinder.  Someone who fix up the front suspension and replace the fork seals.  Someone who would be willing to hunt down a working speedometer and install it.  Someone who could adjust their riding style so as not to get their knees bruised.  Someone who would keep it clean and not let the battery run down.  This bike needed constant love and attention.  All the things I could not do for my Honda, because although I admire motorcycles and I like riding them, I do not like working on them.  I realized that even though I had a bit of a crush on Guzzi V65 sp, we were just not a good match.  Even though he is a wonderful bike, I am just not ready to commit to that type of relationship. 

I sorrowfully brought Mr. Guzzi V65 sp back to his owner.  I did not make an offer on it.  I was experiencing the let-down one has after going on a date with someone wonderful and then realizing that you do not have a future together.  Robb seemed disappointed too.  He wants the bike to go to a good home.  It doesn’t fit him either, he hits his knees on the plastics too.  He loves the bike, and likes working on it, but it’s uncomfortable for him to ride.  He is just too tall for it.  He seemed a bit interested in my Honda, but he said he is moving.  I suspect he won’t be buying another bike until after he sells his handsome Guzzi.

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Responses

  1. Hi Jessie, I bought a V65SP and I’m starting to work on it. If you have some good pictures to share with me it would be very helpful for the restoration of my bike. I don’t have any good picture of the bike with that specific colour.

    Thanks!

    Franco

  2. Just came across this randomly. I owned a V65SP for years and years, I have to say I’ve never found anything to match it. It was perfect for size, power and handling… for me at least. I don’t like getting over 100mph anyway! I loved that thing. Too bad they can’t last forever.

  3. why cant they last forever ?


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