In 1901 Dr Duncan McDougal, by way of measuring bodies at the moment of death, proposed that the human soul weighed just 21 grams. I disagree with Dr McDougal’s theory. I’m sure mine weighs far more as it would go some way to explaining why I look like a burst sausage in my leathers. Thankfully, for Philippe Carzo, the science and poetry of the theory inspired him to get in the workshop. With Guzzi Le Mans of all marks becoming rarer and more expensive the relatively unloved G5 provided the perfect base. Big bore engine, Tonti frame and sporting triple discs, it’s difficult to ask for a more splendid starting point for a custom machine. However, Paolo Martin’s original design is very ‘of it’s time’ and Philippe wanted a more classic Café look. A man of many talents, Philippe is a physiotherapist by day, but for 20 years now, has honed his fabrication skills. Be it panel beating, bronze welding, or moulding carbon fibre, Philippe has sought out and learnt from masters in each field, eager to learn their craft. This means he has been able to work on every aspect of the bike himself, bar the upholstery. The hand beaten, long and low tank is testament to his handiwork. The thumping 1000cc engine had been rebuilt by the previous owner, providing more than adequate propulsion. While the gasses pumped out through the hand-made exhausts ‘sing like a Stradivarius’ according to Philippe! A shortend and looped rear frame hides under the alloy seat cowl contrasting with the reddish-brown leatherwork, and captured by the lens of Arnaud Viac. A Harley Davidson 48 headlight and Tarozzi rearsets are the few parts not crafted by Philippe, and add a dash of modern. Hooked up to handmade linkages, the rearset foot controls stretch you out along the bike. A new loom was made, providing a reliable source of sparks and ensuring no Italian electrickery would call time on riding. Laser cut badges adorn the tank reminding Philippe of the soulful inspiration. Purposely left imperfect, the frame has been left uncoated and bears the wear and tear of the bike’s life. It ties nicely to the raw metalwork, the bike is far away from a show queen and makes me to want to hop on and head for the Route Napolean. It’s been Philippe’s daily rider for 2 years now and he always enjoys being asked how old the bike is. The Guzzi’s timeless looks are now far away from the late 70’s refugee it once was. Keep an eye out for Philippe’s next bike, an XT600 with a handbuilt aluminium frame. Can’t wait to see that! https://www.facebook.com/21grammesmotor?fref=ts
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