Blue Cat Motorcycle

Viva Midwest

Open Tuesday-Friday: 10AM-5PM | Saturday: 11AM-3PM | (651) 645-1172

New life for an old Guzzi

Posted on 04 Jan 2011 in On The Lift | 3 comments


Sometimes an old bike is as much an adventure on the lift as it is on the street. This 1977 Moto Guzzi 859-T3 is definitely one of those. The owner brought it to us after buying it off someone else. Upon closer examination, we’re glad he did. Jeff’s exact words were “death trap” in describing the myriad of things wrong with this cool old italian cruiser. Nothing that couldn’t be sorted out, just lots of critical things out of spec.

There were loose bolts all over. A critical cup washer was missing from the rear wheel, which had the wheel wondering laterally on the axle while ridden. Because of this, the hub had chewed a deep channel in the rear brake caliper. Not. Good. Basic maintenance had been pretty badly neglected as well. The valve lash was so out of spec the intake valve on one cylinder was simply open all the time. No wonder it wasn’t running very well!

With the baseline mechanicals sorted, it was time for a bit of customization. The owner wanted the cheezy cruiser foot boards gone, then lower handlebars and rear sets added. I caught up with Jeff midway through swapping the bars. Guzzi had routed a ton of wiring up through the bars to the hand controls, so swapping out the bars was a lot more complicated than just slipping grips on and off. The foot boards were no picnic either. We couldn’t just saw them off of there. Instead, we sourced replacement lower subframe parts to take the place of the footboard controls and make room for this bike’s brand new rear sets. A tidy solution, if a bit involved.


The end result is a softly cafe’d little italian go machine. The dropped bars and rear set foot controls should make it a lot more comfortable and it definitely looks the business now. But most importantly, this bike is now mechanically safe and sound, running well and ready to ride. Watch for it on the road come spring.