Back in the 70’s Moto Guzzi was among the world’s most dynamic motorcycle makers. The company stood for its racing heritage as much as it’s touring pedigree. Back in those times, Moto Guzzi had the likes of already established tourers like the 850 T3 California. To make a further mark in the market, in 1976 Moto Guzzi came out with the stunning race bred Le Mans 850. It was the first ever model in a long line of sporty Guzzi’s and by far the greatest of them all. But a year before that, engineers at Moto Guzzi had taken up a challenge to create their first ever automatic motorcycle and completed it in the form of the Moto Guzzi V1000 I Convert. The basic target of this motorcycle was to make further inroads into the huge U.S. market for the small Italian factory.
Back then, automatic motorcycles were something that were thought to become a mainstream thing in coming years. That said, Moto Guzzi was also inspired by the requirement asked by U.S. Police Officers about a certain capability for their bikes. They wanted their service motorcycles to be able in crawling at walking speeds to support escorting duties. The Police Officers had a legit requirement too, for continuous use of the clutch meant tiring hands as well as posing a risk of overheating of the engine. At the same time, the mighty Honda was also said to be working on an automatic variant of their game changing single cam CB750. But the Moto Guzzi V1000 I Convert had beaten the Honda CB750A Hondamatic by a year when it launched in 1975.
To create the Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert, engineers at the Italian company took the engine from the well received 850 T3 California and proceeded to re-bore it. They stooped only when they had increased both bore and stroke of the engine which meant that the new pushrod-operated V-twin unit capacity was 949cc. Then the most significant new addition was in the form of installation of a torque convertor in place of the standard gearbox. This new torque convertor had a two speed box and was designed by Sachs. This engine was good enough to produce a higher output over the California engine as well. It now made 71bhp at a moderate 6500rpm while the peak torque rating stood got an impressive bump as well. And here is a Trivia, the Convert name for the model came from the torque convertor itself.
To cradle this engine, the folks at Moto Guzzi took services of the company’s traditional tubular steel frame that had been the key element of Moto Guzzi tourers for some time. The bike had the suspension system that had the company’s own front forks while the rear suspension was a pair of preload adjustable shocks. Then there was the use of company’s linked brake system that was also from the 850 T3 California and rest of the high capacity Guzzi’s. In this system, the foot pedal was designed to not only operate the rear disc brake but it also applied one of the front discs. The handlebar levers only operated the remaining disc at the front. All that said, the ‘Convert’ was a bold move for a small Italian bike maker.
Now, one of these classic Moto Guzzi’s have just come up at my favourite classic bike restoration and collector house, Legend Motors. The tiny shop in the niche marketplace of Lille is a place that does some of the most amazing period correct restoration of some of the most iconic classic motorcycle out there. This latest arrival at theirs, is a Moto Guzzi V1000 by Bergman. Bergman did all the restoration and tuning work especially on the engine on this beauty. The engine overhaul included installation of new forged pistons and connecting rods. A much lighter and balanced crankshaft was also fitted while an Ergal flywheel along a new timing gear. Then a high volume oil pump was added to the mix, Bergman then made improvements to rocker lubrication. Double ignition was further added for increased performance while reinforced and ventilated clutch furthered helped in transmission duties.
The rest of the mods done on this stunning machine from the 70’s is a close ratio gearbox and Lafranconi exhausts. Also, this all new stunning paint scheme was carried out by Bruno Potyra. Those among you who are interesting in collecting this marvel, you would have to shell out around EUR 15,000 ($17,500). For more information you can visit LEGEND MOTORS website.