Moto Guzzis are met with almost deafening apathy in this country. Generally, they’re found in three categories: wildly overpriced, ridden like a rented mule or cheap. This 1995 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 seems to fall into the latter group. Avaialble for $4,850 here on the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club classifieds page (scroll down a bit. It was posted on 5/11), the owner notes that he’d consider a trade, and he’d ride it to your door if your door happens to be within reasonable distance of New Milford, Connecticut.
Built in Mandello del Lario and imported here in small numbers between 1995 and 2000, the 1100 Sport fell between the tail end of the original Tonti-framed LeMans and the later V11 Sports, which eventually revived the LeMans nameplate.
These bikes — all Moto Guzzis, in fact — are an acquired taste. But once you get bitten by the Guzzi bug, it’s hard to justify any other kind of motorcycle. You find yourself defending them as if you were defending your choice to drive a 2002 Lincoln Town Car rather than a Lexus. Sure, they’re big, they’re heavy and they’re built on an antique architecture, but one twist of the throttle at idle — when that big 1100cc V-Twin tries to twist itself from under you — and every other motorcycle looks pedestrian in comparison.
They’re not quick to steer, but once you get one rolled over, it’ll hold a line whether you want it to or not. The V-twin offers 90hp, but you’ll mostly be impressed by the big, fat wad of torque down low. The common advice is to find a later, fuel injected Sport 1100 which debuted in 1996, but there’s really nothing wrong with these carbureted bikes, either. The gearbox is — again, like all Moto Guzzis — “agricultural,” and features neutrals all over the place. The design is about as timeless as a modern Italian sportbike can get, but it’s wrapped around an old-school motorcycle. The seat will have you in tears in a hundred miles, so don’t plan on riding it across the country. It’s a great backroad blaster, though.
This example looks just like the kind of bike you’d want to buy if you planned on riding a bit, rather than putting it in a climate controlled garage somewhere. Red’s the color to buy and the finish on this bike looks three feet deep. The exposed V-twin is as clean as you’d expect considering the Guzzi has covered fewer than a thousand miles a year since new. The owner suggests he’s got many more photos to share, which should illuminate some of the details you’d want to know about before buying.
For an Italian motorcycle built in not-so-great numbers, Moto Guzzi 1100 Sports are fairly bulletproof and easy to work on, without the 6,000-mile timing belt intervals of a Ducati. Once you learn its idiosyncracies, you’ll be like a Corvair owner, with 11 Guzzis parked in the garage.