With fuel prices in most places over $5 per gallon and Spring right around the corner, I thought it might be a good idea to find a vehicle on our site that is both an iconic classic as well as one that is economical. This led me to search for vehicles having 2 wheels instead of the usual 4.
After going through a number of different ads for classic motorcycles on the ClassicCars.com site, I came across a Pick of the Day that has a storied history, is easy to maintain, and offered for a reasonable price: a 1978 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans Mk 1.
The Moto Guzzi Le Mans, designed by the legendary Guzzi designer Lino Tonti based on a very successful customer-built racing bike, was first shown to the public at the 1975 Milan Motorshow. Tonti saw that BMW had succeeded with the R90S, and what was coming in motorcycling trends both on the track and in the showroom, and thought that the Le Mans would be the ideal design.
When it was reviewed by journalists at the time, the Guzzi was hailed as a masterpiece, with Bike magazine stating that “the Le Mans just looks so goddam beautiful that if I was rich enough, I’d buy two with one to ride and one just to stand in the living room to admire as an object d’art.”
The Phoenix-based dealer advertising this 1978 Le Mans on ClassicCars.com describes it as a perfectly restored example done by David Brown of DB Cycles in Lima, NY. The work was completed in 2016 and the Guzzi currently shows 14,705 miles on the odometer, with just a handful of miles covered since its restoration.
The Le Mans 1 is one of the top first-generation sporting motorcycles of the 1970s and spanned a series of Tonti frame Guzzi Le Mans models that ran all the way up to 1993. The most valuable and desirable of the entire series has always been the Le Mans 1.
What is interesting is that when compared to other competitors in the world of 1970s European superbikes, such as the BMW R90S, the Laverda SFC and Ducati 900SS, the Guzzi is still surprisingly a great value.
I know these bikes quite well, and this bike would be more than welcome at any concours event that features motorcycles as a class, and it could well walk away with a trophy at the end of the day. It really looks that good. I am betting that the asking price of the Guzzi is equal to the cost of the restoration alone.
I have ridden a number of Le Mans 1 bikes and they truly deliver on the promise of their looks; much more engaging than the BMW R90S, with that distinctive Italian sporting feel.
These icons of 1970’s superbikes are not likely to stay inexpensive forever, and the asking price of this #1 condition Moto Guzzi at only $19,800 represents a tremendous deal. Also consider the savings on fuel and service costs you will have with this wonderful bike when compared with that Alfa Romeo or Ferrari you have parked in the garage.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.