Motonero have been quietly producing high quality builds out of Bristol in the west of England for the past twenty years, producing custom Guzzis that have set the benchmark for the UK's Guzzi aficionados, but without the kind of fanfare we've come to expect in the modern custom scene. You've probably seen John's bikes without knowing who built them, and if that's the case we hope to start putting things to rights. John's early interest in bikes started with his older brother and his 'greaser' mates, with his first bike a 250cc Triumph Trailblazer bought in '74. Since then, John has built a number of notable Guzzis, but this 2007 all-black build, originally inspired by a photo in a German specialist parts catalogue, is what spawned the 'Motonero' moniker for all of John's subsequent builds and blog. John has been creating cafe racers with alloy tank upgrades, shortened seats, and forks swaps since the '90s "I haven't had a Guzzi in standard form for decades" but this was the first build that involved significant frame modifications and custom-machined components. The frame is from a 1975 Guzzi (John's unsure of the model but the frames from that era were all essentially the same) with a custom aluminium seat base made to John's design by "an employee at Airbus" and upholstered in black marine vinyl. The 850cc engine has been swapped out for an early '90s LeMans 1000S with big valves and 40mm carbs, "...a good combination with a great handling frame with my preferred choice of short headstock and shorter swingarm". Although not as pretty as the earlier round-finned engines the later LeMans 1000 motor (actually a 950cc) does offer an extra 10-15bhp at the rear wheel and a top speed of about 130mph: "I'm not really into top end figures though it's nice to know it's there and that at normal 70-90mph speeds you're not straining the engine." The exhaust is a free-flowing stainless system made by Mistral in Italy: "The silencers are quite heavy but they do have a lovely deep tone". At the front end, John has replaced the original '70s forks with USD Paioli forks from a mid '90s Laverda 'Zane' 650 Kevlar, using the standard yokes with a shortened steering stem. Stopping power is provided by 4-pot Brembo calipers and wavy discs with specially-machined carriers to accept the modern setup. "I've always liked the mixture of modern parts with older styling, and you can't get much more readily-available 'classic style' in the bike world than a Moto Guzzi." The wheel hubs are standard '70s Guzzi T3 items with non-standard 17" (2.50) front and 18" (3.00) rear rims powder-coated black. The tyres, a 'part worn, little used' eBay purchase, are 130/80 Bridgestone BT45 rear and 110/80 Aero Speed front (no, we'd never heard of them before either!) "I always intended for it to handle reasonably well and be relatively comfortable for a 200-300 mile ride. The handling's good but the Paioli yokes have created very little steering lock with the standard LeMans I petrol tank". Small price to pay, we'd say, ...just be careful where you park-up; back-wheel to the curb. We'll be posting more from John and Motonero in the future, meanwhile check the Motonero Blog. Photos are courtesy of Italian Motor Magazine
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