My Motorcycling Life chapter 5 by George Smith

April 30th, 2020

My Motorcycling Life Chapter Five by George Smith

Chapter four ended after having an enjoyable summer riding the Ariel Golden Arrow and thinking about adding a Moto Guzzi. No hurry, spent time looking at various bikes when I noticed on eBay a 1994 Moto Guzzi Nevada 750cc  failed restoration showing no bids. Later model than I was looking for, less than the 25 years for VMCC runs but contacted seller and made offer. After some negotiation price agreed £700 including delivery. No risk as worth more in spare parts.

Bike arrived and next day a quick check over.

Good bits:

Frame powder coated, new seat, new alli rims with SS spokes, new brake discs, new Keihan SS exhaust system worth more than I paid for bike.

Bad bits:

Bike had been put together all wrong and would require complete check over

Two heavy duty wires connected to starter indicating attempted to start! Is this when previous owner gave up?

My son David came for a visit to see my latest project and mentioned that He was thinking of getting his Moto Guzzi back on the road after a fifteen year rest and would I check it over for him. I agreed providing my name went on insurance and  I could borrow it any time.

He forgot to mention that it would arrive in back of a van in several large lumps and boxes. Needed bit more than a check over. Put Nevada away for now.

The bike had been dismantled for work to engine and had been ignored, left in garage, while riding all sorts of Japanese bikes.

Good thing I enjoyed jigsaw puzzles. Less than 1000 had been manufactured and I knew that spares would be hard to come by. Luckily David had bought a wiring loom when bike was dismantled and I would have to research any common Guzzi parts. Found out that bike was based on MK4 Le Mans engine and frame with mainly styling changes.

No workshop manual for this model but with some careful guesswork using similar manuals and a copy of Dave Richardson’s Guzziology (a must for any Moto Guzzi owner) I pieced it all together. There was only one part missing that was unique, the left side clip on handlebar. This was a problem and Dave suggested using generic pair. Not happy with that as everything else was original. After searching for a month lucky break. Harpers in USA had a new one in their spares department. This could possibly be the only one in the world and Dave was happy to pay more than the price of a pair of Tomaselli clip ons to keep it authentic. Slowly all came together, new head bearings, wheel bearings and lots of odds and ends.

Apart from touching up frame paintwork here and there, paint and metal work all in good condition.

 Some head scratching over electrics, what goes where, and setting ignition timing before it fired up, got there in the end. During restoration took lots of photos and put on memory stick. Added my re-build notes and memory stick to presentation pack,  gave to Dave.

Third year back on the road now and he tells me he enjoys riding it more now than first time around.

His view of the VMCC, like many others, has been a lot of old blokes riding ancient British machines. Told him things have changed and he would be welcome at Essex section. I think you will be seeing him when we get back on the road. 

Time to have a look at my Nevada project. To be continued.