Moto Guzzi V50: 1977-1989 Rider Magazine

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Moto Guzzi V35 Imola

Retrospective: Moto Guzzi 1977-1989

Clement Salvadori

22, 2008

(This Retrospective was printed in the July 2008 of Rider Magazine.)

In the mid-1970s Guzzi’s outlook was affected by de Tomaso, an Argentine of Italian who purchased the factory lock, and cylinder barrel.

His marketing took a look at the line of and saw a pleasing array of big twins, 850- to 1,000cc. They that a smaller version had a in the market, and all hands went to to build a half-liter model.

The lead engineer, Lino was in charge, and he essentially downsized the 850 while using the same wet-sump, overhead-valve V-twin, dry clutch, five-speed transmission, drive and electric starting, with a new electronic ignition The 57.3-inch wheelbase of the 850 Le Mans down to 55 inches on the V50, the dry weight from 475 pounds to 336 carburetor size (Dell’Ortos) 36mm to 24mm.

One major change was in the two-valve 32.5mm intake, 27.5mm which now used a Heron as on the Moto Morini engines. had the standard screw adjusters at the arms, but while the big twins slightly angled valves in to the piston, the V50 had the valves going up and down…with the combustion chamber not in the itself but in a dished-out portion of the

Engineers claimed that design improved torque as well as fuel economy, but in the main reason was cost, as the needed only to be planed, not an expensive hemispherical chamber. was paramount in the mind of De Tomaso in this relatively small as it was in redesigns of the bigger twins.

1981 Moto Guzzi V50

The V50’s bore and … was 74 x for a total of 490cc. And the speed needless to say, in comparison to the Le Mans. We do not have reliable ratings for these machines, but 71 at 7,300 rpm for the Le Mans was the official 45 horses at 7,500 rpm for the V50.

The 850 was for over 125 mph, whereas the V50 out at a little over 100.

The frame had detachable lower to facilitate engine removal, the engine now a mildly stressed and the whole drivetrain could be in less than an hour. the swingarm now pivoted directly in the with the right side the driveshaft.

1981 Moto V50 III.

The wheels were 18 in size, and had three discs. The and right front calipers on the brake discs were when using the brake with a proportioning valve out the difference. The left disc’s was responsive to the brake lever.

This linked system was pretty high-tech by the motor­cycle although nobody else to be on that particular bandwagon…at the

While Tonti was building the the white-collar boys were at the potential market. Italy had enacted a new tax law, decreasing for the under 350cc crowd, so new with a bore of 66mm, 50.6mm, were built, horsepower rated at 33.6 at a revvy 8,100 rpm. The two were available at Italian in the early fall of 1977, and officially presented together at the show a few weeks later.

The importer, Berliner Motor showed a distinct lack of

The starter was efficient, though the required a bit of warm-up on a cold The gearbox was several notches up on of the big twins, requiring little to shift. Handling was spiffy, the tall, skinny tires x 18 front, 100/90 x 18 rear), and the once the rider was accustomed to the excellent.

1981 Moto Guzzi V50

Italians being Italians, crew could not resist and in 1979 the V50 II appeared with a dual-point ignition and Nikasil on the cylinder bores. This and silicon lining was becoming popular in European machines, as it cut drastically on cylinder wear. the two-liter sump was increased by 10 for better lubrication.

The next a new variant was shown, the V50 Monza, in honor of the racetrack; a V35 version was the Imola. The Monza had an even sump, 2.5 liters, bigger 34.5mm on the intake, 30.5mm on the and bigger carburetors, now 28mm. The were tilted up a bit to enhance clearance, and a little bikini clip-on bars and slightly primary gears improved top by a couple of miles.

Although this put the rider in a racy crouch…. The fork was a more sophisticated, with teledraulics, and the wheelbase was extended by of an inch.

1981 Moto V50 III.

This model had Joe mildly interested, as did the companion V50 III showed up (as in the photos) almost at the time, virtually identical to the except for slightly lower gearing, lacking only the and a few other cosmetic touches and a more comfortable riding with flat bars. imported a few of both, most of sat in showrooms.

The real trouble was the In 1981 the Monza went for the V50 III for $200 less. The Italian were expensive, with the 500 Montjuic costing $4,300, the 500 Sport going for $3,200. the Japanese 450 twins cost than $2,000, and the 550 and 650 fours under three grand.

Which is why the V50 sold very indeed; how many were imported to the United States is hidden in the dusty Berliner

In Europe the V50 was turned into a dual-purpose Tuttostrada (All-road) and a Custom. Over the years mini-Moto engine was expanded to 650 and 750cc. The V50 III lasted until the Monza until 1989.


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