8 Feb 2011

My tenth bike was a Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1


A Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk1

There was a gap of a few years between the Norton Commando Fastback and this bike, due to the fact that I undertook moving from England to France and attempting to rebuild a couple of houses that had previously been abandoned wrecks. The first was in the French Alps, the second in South-West France, between Bergerac and Agen. This, plus work and a growing family life, including the birth of my daughter, used up all of my scant finances and most of my energy. So bikes were put on hold until the circumstances changed and made it possible to buy and ride one again.

This was the second new machine that I owned. It was the same powder blue colour as the one in the photograph. The only modification I made was to change the original hard seat for one like that to be seen on this machine, which was much more comfortable and had a higher step-up to the passenger part.This held you much better when accelerating. I also changed the rear shocks, which were not great, to Marzocchis. The braking, which used a very original coupled system on the foot pedal that meant that you couldn't lock the rear brake, was fantastic and the engine was full of torque and pretty solid. Did a couple of hill-climbs with this bike, as well as a lot of long rides. The riding position was pretty ideal for all of that.

I bought it in the UK but rode it mostly in France. I really loved it and it must have been, to date, the machine with which I have covered the greatest number of kilometres, during the years between 1978 and 1981. Think I'll have to get another one some day!