Category: Moto Guzzi

Out of service

After a full season of around town and out of town riding on my Guzzi, I broke down last weekend and put it up on stands.  She wasn’t starting as cleanly as she had in the past (but still starting every time), and every time I’d go over a sizable crack in the pavement, a loud “CRACK!”  followed by a bone-shocking hit through the bars.  Fuel residue and stains coating the Dell Orto carbs, told me that the rubber seals and gaskets made before Jimmy Carter was in office we’re now officially past their prime.

Simple jackstands.  No fancy supports required.

Simple jackstands. No fancy supports required.

All in all for being over 30 years old, with close to 70,000 miles on the clock, the bike is in fantastic shape.  Some of the electrical connectors needed to be cleaned and coated liberally with dielectric grease.  A few of the rubber vent tubes had cracked and dried out.  The valves (after a summer of heavy use) didn’t move an inch.

I took a deep breath, and opened my manual to the section labeled “Points Ignition: Checking & Adjusting“.  I hadn’t touched points in a long, long time.  With trepidation, I removed the ignition rotor cover and peered at the maze of wires lurking underneath.  Only there wasn’t anything that looked like a points system.  In fact, it looked ridiculously simple.  So simple, I could swear it looked like an electronic ignition system, rather than the points system described in the workshop manual.

Because it is electronic ignition!

Because it is electronic ignition!

Some smart devil before me spent the loot to rid the machine of the infernal points system.  One less worry!

While I was cleaning up, my buddy Chris mentioned: “Hey, is that a crack in the header?”.  I looked closer and realized there was a hairline crack almost 3/4 of the way around the left-hand header pipe!  That cylinder has been running awfully rich, and I had initially thought the cause was loose gaskets and rich jetting.  But it very well be an exhaust leak.  I’m going to have to pull out the welder and see if I can fix it up.

Header crack

Header crack

I should have some parts coming in pretty soon, and I hope I can get it back on the road by next weekend.  While this weeks weather hasn’t been the best, we only get a few weeks of this spring air, and I’d like to be moving through it whenever possible.

Getting Old

Teetering on the edge of 30, I’ve finally started noticing the little things.  My cell phone has more processing power than my first “gaming” computer, dirt bikes now come standard with fuel injection, and I ruin a perfectly good sport motorcycle with standard handlebars, rather than racing clip-on’s.

The LSL conversion kit is a bit pricey, but worthwhile in my opinion.  The bolt-on metal template for drilling the triple-tree was a real nice bonus too.  I was pretty nervous about marking and measuring the triple-tree for the clamps.  Made drilling the holes a snap.

I managed to get the bars test-mounted on the V11 after de burring the holes I milled in the triple tree.  Looks pretty good, and a test seat on the bike tells me that I’ll be riding in relative comfort from here on out.  Still have some work to do with the brake and clutch hoses;  I’ll have to get creative with those.

I still can’t shake the feeling that I’ve just butchered a fine Italian sportbike.  Like putting ape-hangars on a Ducati, or painting “No Fear” logos onto a Ferrari.  I almost expect to get laughed at by all the trendy cafe racer kids in town when I take a test ride.

Bars Mounted

Finally got the bars mounted on the V11 Sport.  As it turns out, the part that I was most worried about (drilling the top triple-clamp) was the easiest part of the whole operation.

The biggest part of the job, was finding creative ways to route the throttle cable, clutch cable and the front brake cables for adequate clearance.  I essentially had to disassemble the entire headlight/gauge cluster housing.  I had to remove the top triple clamp at least 4 times to re-route cables.  Trial-and-error took place for about 2 hours until I finally found the best way.  I also found that the stock bar-ends and napolean bar-end mirrors would not fit into the new handlebars.  I could make it fit by machining out the ID of the new bars;  maybe some other time.  I’m ready to ride now.

The Test Ride

Things are immediately better.  Its still a fairly sporty “attack” position, however I no longer feel it in my wrists, and my back doesn’t feel like I just lifted a refrigerator up a flight of stairs.  I think the biggest single gain in this modification has to be turning.  Before I really had to fight with the bike to turn in, whereas the wide leverage the handlebars now mean effortless turning;  it almost turns itself.

In one simple modification, I was able to combine everything I loved about my old Ducati M900 and everything I love about my V11 Sport into one nice package.  Money well spent. For those law-abiding citizens out there who might notice my lack of mirrors, don’t fret.  Nate at the Bike Shack put in a order for a set of CRG “Lane-split” mirrors, and even let me borrow one of his personal bike to keep me semi-legal until they came in.