Making her fit

Finally, I managed to bring the old lady into my workshop in the north of Berlin. I looked like the black counterpart of Michelin Man when I started her up in the morning – it was just +1 °C and I had more than 50 km in front of me. But Bibendum-like apparel kept me warm and comfy. Guzzi went very well! It was great taking the V7 for a brief spin. In the end, I parked her inside the old cow barn which is my handicraft habitat for more than two years now. She now stands beside the current left-overs of my ongoing MGB GT project.

I immediately took the chance to change some parts. The disassembly of the windshield, all roll bars, the side cases and the rotted California-style handlebar came first. The machine came with another spare handle bar (850 GT – may be) but even that one was too high for my approach. I therefore ordered a very flat classic handle bar at Fehling, named “LN 51”.

Mounting it was no big deal but it appeared that this one is a little too flat for my Guzzi. When turning hard left or right it would touch the tank. Something I really don´t like on a classic bike with a good paint job! So what to do? I could have turned it slightly upwards but this was against my aim to create a flat, horizontal and sleek line. So I decided to cut the steering angle by just a little bit. I am used to superbikish steering angles so the V7 pleases me with a new dimension of turning radius. Hence, a slight cutback is well acceptable.

The V7 has a metal aiming position (frame to the lower fork crown) and this part is the ideal position for a variable steering stop. I drilled a 4 mm hole on each side on the frame, tapped a 2 cm deep thread and put a small SS hexagon socket screw in it. I then took some washers to create a similar steering lock on both sides (1 left, 3 right). Well, this was it, job done! The bar did not touch the tank anymore and I was confident with this fast solution.

The second handle bar issue was its width. The bar was 78 cm in total, a little too wide for the V7 and my personal taste. I therefore measured the maximum space to put the levers on the handle bar and cut off all the rest on the sides – 43 mm each. This diet was a big profit for the handling and the looks. Finally, I drilled a hole into the handle bar to keep it from turning in its mounting points with a long screw. A very short test ride later one showed that the driving position is great and fits me as well as the bike: A very straight and relaxed upper body with enough space for turning and the hands as flat as possible on the handle bar. Awesome, classic!

So the front end was finished – I focused on some other parts. The disassembly of the tank, the seat and the side panels gave me an overview of the bikes state. Conclusion: Not as bad as it might have been. I will have to swap some Bowden cables here and there, but this is no big deal. I also removed some hawk stickers from the white metal parts, cleaned them and mounted the license plate with proper rubber foam on the rear fender.

The bike came with a set of spare rear shock absorbers (Kawasaki W 650?) looking quite stylish. But their lower eyes were too tight to fit the mounting points. I will have to look out for some adequate rubber bushes soon (25 mm outer, 14 mm inner diameter).

Some black paint (Revel model building color) on the cylinder heads plus a home-made “Campione del Mondo” sticker on the fuel tank were my final work. And by the end of the day, Guzzi was complete again. She is recharging now to keep the battery alive.

But there are lots of more things to do till the beginning of next season:

  • Diagnosing the bad biting point of the clutch
  • Repairing and cleaning some electric issues
  • Connecting the turning light functions with the left switch only
  • Fitting a proper filler cap (already ordered in the US)
  • Changing all oils
  • Replacing rotten bolts with SS ones
  • Fitting original passenger foot pegs (NOS anybody?), new grips and mirrors, new ignition cables (red-black fabric, great!), new fuel hoses, original turning lights and an oil temperature indicator
  • More things to come…

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