Test: Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans

Test: Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans
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Test: Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans

The Kulltbike from Moto Guzzi

When the V-Zwo starts, four-stroke fans get goose bumps. The Guzzi is a feast for the eyes and ears.

Anyone who wanted an Italo athlete in the early 1970s picked up the Ducati. Exotic fans bought Laverda, Moto Guzzi supplied the tourers. Clear conditions, at least until the Milan Salon in 1975.

At Le Mans, Guzzi presented the thick V-twin-cylinder in a tracksuit. Sportiness was the order of the day, because the Japanese manufacturers were pushing their way to Europe with high-performance machines, and even BMW was making the move with the R 90 S..

D.he Le Mans I was based on the 750 S3 and the 850 T3. A higher compression, larger valves, different carburetors and a sharper camshaft gave the air-cooled twin 71 hp. A narrower handlebar, relocated footrests, perforated brake discs, hump seat, cast wheels, lots of matt black on the frame and exhaust system as well as the partially bright orange painted half-shell cover provided the sporty packaging.


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Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans III

Because a completely new model had to be presented as often as possible in the 1970s, there was soon a Le Mans successor: the Le Mans II, presented at the IFMA in Cologne in 1978. Full angular fairing, some cosmetics, three more horsepower, one another bench – that’s it.

The third Le Mans edition came in 1981. Open intake stacks were now a thing of the past, the exhaust system was also adapted to the more stringent noise regulations, and the engine innards were given a major overhaul. The 76 hp Le Mans III with the angular cylinders and the new half-shell fairing sold well.

In the long run, however, Guzzi had to counteract the competition’s displacement arms race: the Le Mans 1000 presented at the end of 1984. 81 hp were nice, but their unsuccessful design, which emulated the Japanese, marked the beginning of the end of the Le Mans series . The fashionable 16-inch front wheel significantly worsened the super-stable handling. The Le Mans V, which was built from 1988 to the end of 1992, returned to the 18-inch model and the well-known chassis strengths, but time had overtaken Le Mans.

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