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Old 09-18-2012, 12:08 PM   #16
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Maryland ==> originally from Long Island
Oddometer: 365
Hi drhach,

I have a 1980 R100 and acquired a 1970 MG ambassador just a few months ago.

Had the airhead for about 8-years, bought it cheap and worked on it to the point where it is now a reliable and good handling bike. However, I admit that the 1st time I rode the BMW I thought it was a real piece of crap.

But I stuck with it, fixed all the problems and now I really enjoy riding it. Getting the BMW in shape involved a repaint, switch to the '82 forks with brembo brakes, new steering head bearings, alloy top triple clamp, tires, seat, koni shocks, new cables, stainless header pipes and new mufflers. I also put hepco becker bags on it.

I spent more $$ for the MotoGuzzi but previous owner already did a lot of work to it. Still, first ride was disappointing, mostly because of adjustment and fit issues. It also sat for awhile and carbs were a bit gummy and it pinged as timing was too far advanced. The seat foam was also poor and the rear shocks were pretty much done. Simply put, the ride was awful.

Getting the Guzzi up to stuff involved resetting the timing, koni shocks, low rise super bike bars, a new saddleman seat cover/foam kit and various other minor adjustments. I bought new carb kits but the carbs issues cleared up on their own after a couple of hundred miles of riding. I also had to replace the rectifier (with one for a Ford Falcon, $18 ) to get the charging system going.

All of these fixes and relatively minor improvements made a tremendous improvement. It is a great bike now and I have racked up about 1200 miles on it over the last 4-weeks. It feels quite light and handles very well on the back roads. I am especially impressed by how well the dls front drum brake works.

My wife often rides with me and I think the Guzzi does quite well in that regard. I did have to move the passenger pegs forward to give more clearance to the saddle bags (it came with wixoms). I thought the Saddleman seat kit was a big improvement and my wife says she is very comfortable now. Initially, she did not like the bike so this was money well spent!

With the ride and running issues sorted, I made some further improvements, including new stainless header pipes and new crash bars. I recently ordered a new set of replacement mufflers. It is a cool bike and I have been getting lots of compliments on it.

BTW, Guzzi's do have a reputation for good reliability. I am still on the learning curve but it seems fairly easy to work on. I like the borrani alloy rims and stainless spokes. It looks and feels like a quality machine to me.

The point of all of this is that these are old bikes now and you may have to do some work (no matter what you get) before you can get a full appreciation of these machines. Dont be turn off by the 1st ride!

My plan is to keep and enjoy them both. The insurance is cheap and I think a good portion of my money would be returned on sale, whenever that may be.

Here is the Guzzi as bought.

Here is it is today (mufflers are on the way)

Airhead before,

Airhead after,

Not to confuse the issue but boy is this a great bike too!

Check out this guy travelling the world on his Guzzi V7 ... these are tough bikes!
My '81 YZ465 Factory Race Replica

My Vintage Husqvarna/Motocross Restoration Extravaganza Thread
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:25 PM   #17
Guinness fan
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Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Ireland
Oddometer: 351
For me, Guzzi every time,pros: lots of soul, better handling, better sound, Cons: the odd false neutral ... no contest imho of course.

You meet the weirdest people on a Guzzi
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:29 PM   #18
Airhead Wrangler
Adios Mexico
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Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Back in Seattle, FINALLY
Oddometer: 6,607
Obviously, I likes me some airhead, but I have to say I have found myself lusting after 70's Geese quite a bit lately.
R80ST Gets The HPN Treatment
Seattle to TDF on an airhead

Current rides: HPN #834, '93 R100GSPD "red rocket", '73 R75/5 Toaster mongrel, '80 Ducati Pantah 500SL, '92 DR350, '67 Honda SS50, '80 Honda Chaly.
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Old 09-18-2012, 03:33 PM   #19
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Joined: Sep 2010
Location: East 10EC
Oddometer: 66
"It's better to regret something you have done, than something you haven't." - Gibby Haynes
Adventure is when everything goes wrong. That's when the adventure starts.
- Yvon Chouinard
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:06 PM   #20
Be aware
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Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Los Alamitos, CA
Oddometer: 5,695
Originally Posted by Wirespokes View Post
I like this little bit of prose originally written by Chopperman:

Well BMWs are like the Hot German Scientist chick. Glasses, prim, mannered, efficient. She can solve quadratic equations while kicking your ass with kung-fu moves. You have to approach her on her terms and then she will bring you ecstasy in the most efficient manner possible using techniques she learned from an ancient Kama Sutra she discovered on a sabbatical in India.

Guzzis on the other hand, are the art school wild child. long, wind-tossed hair and mischievous winks. She will redecorate your house into a turkish harem while you are away on a business trip and greet you with absinthe tainted kisses. You will go out for pizza with her and wind up somewhere in the Mojave, tequila drunk and shooting cactus with a stolen pistol.

Having owned two airheads and two Tonti Guzzis, I find the above true.

The Guzzis had less vibration than the Boxers once over 3000 rpm.

A Tonti will out handle an airhead, given the same up-grades.
But, some Guzzis use an enclosed cartridge in the forks not cheap but seem to work OK.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:03 AM   #21
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Lisbon, WI
Oddometer: 126
Originally Posted by drhach View Post
Maybe someone who's always wanted ride an airhead will swap me for an hour our two.
Waukegan's a stone's throw from me. OK, maybe several. Happy to let you take the T for a spin.

Still have a few issues to address, so it might not be the best example of the Guzzi experience, but should give you a taste.

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Old 09-19-2012, 09:08 AM   #22
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Joined: Oct 2009
Oddometer: 88
Originally Posted by OldPete View Post
But, some Guzzis use an enclosed cartridge in the forks not cheap but seem to work OK.
the stock cartridges are cheap compared to the $300 FAC dampers (~$45 IIRC). I find the OEM versions perfectly adequate for everything but racing.
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:06 AM   #23
Kurt V
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Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Jefferson City, MO
Oddometer: 235
Originally Posted by FJ_Kevin View Post

I really can't add much to the debate. Just wanted to say your wife is a real cutie!
Kurt V
1993 Ducati 900SS
1976 R75/6
1976 Honda CB400F Original Survivor
1973 Honda CL350
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:12 PM   #24
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: down road awayz
Oddometer: 161

you have to try a guzzi. i do like my bmw, a very good bike, but my moto guzzi
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:04 AM   #25
drhach OP
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Waukegan
Oddometer: 2,601
Originally Posted by LonerDave View Post
Waukegan's a stone's throw from me. OK, maybe several. Happy to let you take the T for a spin.

Still have a few issues to address, so it might not be the best example of the Guzzi experience, but should give you a taste.


Let me know, I can let you ride the R90 if you'd like. I may be free this weekend. I'm putting the finishing touches on my Sportster and also attendeing this:

1976 R90/6
1972 XLCH
2010 Triumph Thunderbird SE
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