THE BIKES
GUZZI 750 FEATURES AND STORIES
TECHNICAL
ROAD TESTS
FORUM
WHERE TO GET BITS FOR
THESE BIKES
BUYING A GUZZI 750
750 OLD RACING
GUZZI AND DUCATI MUSEUMS
ITALIAN BIKES SHOWS AND AUTOJUMBLES
POSTERS AND LIERATURE

 

BUYING A GUZZI 750

I wrote this page 5 years ago now, and it was about the S3, not the other 750 models. However, as many parts are the same, much of what is written below refers to the other models. If you are a V7 Sport or 750s owner, I'd be very happy to have experiences in buying these bikes from you and I'll post them here.

I have had few emails from people asking about buying an S3, what to look out for, values etc so this page is made up of some information that I have put together - NB this information is based purely on my own opinions and experiences in owning and running an S3 and I take no responsibility in purchases based on my words, go to a Guzzi restorer or expert before you buy to ask expert advice. Some of this stuff is specific to the S3 (and the other 750s of the period) and a lot of it is specific to Guzzis, and you probably know it anyway...

Let me know if you know any different to what's written below, i.e. if you know suppliers that have stocks of hard to get parts etc. All additions will be posted at the bottom of the page

 

VALUE

Regarding price, it's always difficult to judge because like anything, there has to be someone willing to pay a certain price. I have seen supposedly completely original/restored S3s advertised for sale in the UK for between 3,000 to 3,850, but these were generally dealer prices and a little over the top. It would seem that interest in the S3/S has risen a little in the last few years - everyone knew about the V7 Sport but the other 750s had such a small production run they became a little 'lost' in the Guzzi scheme of things, as they didn't have the magical 'Le Mans' or 'V7 Sport' name. They are pretty rare bikes though and will continue to rise slowly in value. There are a quite a few around in Europe, and less so in the USA and Australia as they were never officially imported to these countries. but people tend to hang onto them as they're so nice to ride. I've never seen one at any bike show either in the UK or here in Italy. If it's really complete, low mileage and original, I'd say start offering at around the equivalent of 2500 UK sterling and see what happens..

THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN BUYING:

BARRELS AND PISTONS

I'd say the most important/potentially expensive problem is the barrels, as they were chrome lined from new - the problem is, it's very hard of course to check out the barrels while they're on the bike! - warm up motor, check for smoke from exhausts, especially white smoke. Blue might just mean rings need replacing. If the bike has been sitting around for a good while and not used, especially if kept in a damp environment, the chrome will start peeling off the barrels.

I'm sure there exists the technology to have them relined, but I ended up having to buy Gilardoni barrels and pistons (nickasil coated) for a V7 Sport, and had to file the push rod tunnels down to accept the T3-type rocker gear/pushrod setup of the S3 - that of the V7 Sport sits at a different angle. You can't get barrels and pistons for the S3 (as far as I know). I've had no problems since, and it was like having a new motor once I replaced the barrels (and shells, timing chain etc etc) - it goes better now after 20,000k than ever before.

SWITCHGEAR

If you want an original original bike, the hardest bit to find in my experience is actually the switchgear. I've never had it on my bike, and have looked out for it , but never seen any in 12 years of looking, because not much of it has survived because it was rubbish! (I have actually found a set but won't put it on the bike!!). It was badly made and difficult to use (it's the same on the Le Mans 1). If the bike has the original switchgear make sure it works perfectly, otherwise its likely to fall apart and cause electrical problems. I've replaced it with Ducati CEV switchgear which works superbly. I have a wiring diagram for this conversion, let me know if you want a copy.

WIRING LOOM/ELECTRICS

Also check the condition of the main wiring loom that passes along the frame from the fusebox to under the right-hand side of the fuel tank and leads up to the back of the headlamp, where it is attached by a big multiplug. This wiring is subject to stress by rubbing and stretching around the headstock area and the plug never stays in well - I've had to drill 2 holes in the back of the headlamp and attach the plug securely with cable ties. I ended up rewiring the main loom as so many wires in this area were broken or almost broken. I'd be riding along at 150kmh, turn the bars slightly, and the power would go, motor dead - not very enjoyable!! - Check that the red charging light on the dash goes out when you rev the bike to 3,000 rpm or above - if not, it needs a new rectifier. -

WHEELS

Check the wheels are original Borrani rims with 'Made in Italy' stamped on them, and not Akronts or some other aftermarket rim. Look for cracks - they can be repaired but it's always better to have a decent set in the first place. Borranis are getting harder to find, in fact I people over here in Italy are actually beginning to hoard them!!

SILENCERS

Check the silencers (if original) are made by Silentium, are black and have the 'shark gill' slashes on the end. If they've had the internals taken out, ask what jets are being used (should be around 150 with K&N filters). Downpipes should be curvy, not angular like T3. If you buy the bike, junk them and buy Lafranconi Competizione pipes, what a difference!

FUEL TAPS

Original fuel taps were square with long skinny lever, not the fatter T3/V50 type.

ENGINE NUMBER

Check it's a genuine S3 750cc motor, rather than a T3/Spada etc motor. Engine number must start VK2, followed by number eg 15133

PARTS AVAILABILITY - HARD TO FIND STUFF

Most parts can be found without much problem due to its similarity to the T3 model. The most difficult parts to find are the S3-750 badges on the side panels, the switchgear (see above) and the front mudguard that is specific to the 750s - the mudguard from the T3 will not fit, it is too wide. Seats are remade and easily available, as are the original shark gill silencers. Rear mudguard and thumbwheels to lower/raide mudguard can be bought from suppliers such as Agostini/Valassi in Mandello. As far as I know, you can't buy fuel tanks new anymore - mines been smashed up and patched up a few times so at leat they are strong!

GENERAL GUZZI STUFF TO CHECK

And then other general things to check on Guzzis, ie is there oil leaking from behind the sump. where the gearbox meets the crankcase, if there is, the crank seal has dried out or needs replacing. Check for clutch wear, is there plenty of adjustment left? Listen for tell tale signs of timing chain rattle - it should give a smooth whining sound when you rev the motor, if it rattles, it's worn out. It should have been replaced after all this time, nice if it has been replaced with gears! Check for over noisy tappets too, maybe they need checking. Check bolts/leaks that keep the oil in the cardan box, the threads can strip. If you ride the bike, feel for UJ vibration through foot begs - if you feel a lot of vibration, it'll probably need replacing soon. Try and ride the bike and get the motor properly warm - it should rev cleanly all the way especially in 4th gear to yellow/redline ie 7,500 rpm, that's where all the power is. It's a short stroke motor that has to be revved lots, not like a T3/Le Mans etc. Check that the gearbox functions well, if not (ie you can't engage smoothly) parts are expensive - it's probably the most complex part of the S3, any 70s Guzzi.

 

ADDITIONS: From another S3 owner, Damian in Australia.

Just a quick couple of notes on the new S3 buying tips page. The S3 was officially imported to Australia. 76 came in. Also about 10 S's. Australia has never been a big market for Guzzi. Here people always bought Ducati's and about 10% of their production came here. On the other hand the USA got a much larger proportion of Guzzis (esp touring) to Ducatis, compared to the size of their market. Even today Guzzi importers only bring in a couple of hundred bikes of all types each year. I believe tanks are available aftermarket. Moto International list the left hand switch in their catalogue. Whether this is correct is unknown. Wessons (Brighton, UK) list several parts I thought unobtainable. I can't't get certain answers from either via email. -Oh and the 70 hp is SAE gross. This test is done without air filters, mufflers alternator etc. It's more a measure of potential horsepowere than real. It was used in the 60 and early 70's to make cars and bikes look more powerful. The S3 has about 53 hp at the rear wheel. A diff can absorb up to 18% of power and gearboxes typically absorb about 3 - 5%. The rest is power lost when the air cleaner, alternator exhaust etc is installed. The early V7 sport was good for a GENUINE 200 kph (125 mph) out of the box. It was among the fastest 750's of it's day. Motorrad magazine put all teh production 750's through a speed trap in about 72. The Guzzi was not only fastest but had by far the most accurate speedo!! The S3 is a little slower, probably good for about 185 km/h stock. This is mainly due to the milder T cam, but also less precise assembly at the factory. Setting the squish bands to 1 mm (40 thou) will improve power a lot apparently. damian.carvolth@optusnet.com.au