This is the story sent into me by Kevin O' Brien, told in his own unique manner of his quest to build, ride and continually develop the V7 Sport that HE wanted.....
read, enjoy and be inspired...thanks Kevin!
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.......My friend Clement Braun had me come over to his house to help him with the construction of a shed. We were getting pieces of wood out of his garage workshop when I noticed a front wheel with the rest of the bike covered by a tarp. I asked Clem to show me the bike and he replied that I was looking for a Le Mans 1 and to not bother him about the bike under the tarp. I told Clem yes I was looking for a Lama's but would he show me the bike under the tarp!! He locked up the garage and it was 6 or so long months till I saw the 'bike under the tarp'.I could not get the idea of the bike out of my mind so I started to bug Clem to just show me the bike. He had many excuses - I don't have the keys for it, I don't remember where the title is, it's not a Le Mans, etc, etc. Finally after about 6 months he opened the door and let me remove the tarp. What I saw was a 1972 burgundy with chrome frame, 36mm Mikuni vm roundslide carbs, in dusty but complete condition. Clem had seen a guy broken down with the bike and had stopped to help. They couldn't get the bike to run but Clem told the guy that if he ever wanted to sell Clem would buy it. Two weeks later Clem's phone rang and it was the guy proposing a deal. Clem bought the bike and rode it for around a month with his bride Cindy on the back. Clem is a bigger than large guy (actually bigger than gargantuan) and Cindy is large so it became apparent quickly that the little v7sport was overloaded and the bike was relegated to the garage under a tarp for 10 years, till 1994 when I discovered it. Clem didn't want to sell but I was driven, I had to have this bike.

........I joined MGNOC and started to receive the club mag. I learned that there were no chromed framed bikes!!! Some of the Telaio Rosso bikes had chromoly frames and the burgundy bikes came with silver or black frames - but no chrome frames. Clem had no records of whom he had bought the bike from 10 years ealier so I couldn't contact the person. I purchased the bike from Clem in May of 1994 with no keys or title. With the bike now in my possesion I contacted a locksmith who had no problems cutting keys for the ignition and toolboxes. I dropped the oil from the motor, trans and rear and installed fresh lubricants. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I purchased a battery. Before running the bike I squirted light oil in the combustion chambers and rolled the bike slowly down the incline of my drive to get the oil pressure up. The bike fired right up with no noise or smoke and settled into a ragged idle. I started running it up and down the street enjoying the fact that I had rescued this Italian beauty from the garage where it had sat unused for 10 years. The title that I applied for arrived and I ventured out on public streets for short jaunts.The bike was powerful (my other bikes: a R69S from 1967 seemed anemic - and my 1990 CBR1000 was a rocketship) but the brakes were lacking. Reading the club mag became important to me. I learned of others who had to rebuild their V7 Sports because of the chrome flaking off the bores after sitting for a long period. I went to the basement and dropped the oil. It was only in for 50 or so miles but as I emptied the oil into the recycle bin I saw the dreaded metallic sheen. Figuring it can't be that bad, I just put in new oil and rode another 50 miles with more metallic particles in the drained oil. I contacted Manfred Hecht of Raceco fame and he advised me that I would need a complete rebuild as the chrome had been pushed through the motor countless times and these motors are without oil filters so there would be damage to many internal parts in the 100 miles that I had run the bike. He also said that if I wanted I could just run it as it was but that over time its performance would deteriorate, maybe quickly, maybe slowly but it would deteriorate. I arranged to bring the bike to Manfred's garage and to discuss a rebuild of the bike.

.......At Manfreds I was quickly overwhelmed by the bikes and the cleanliness and Manfred. He came across as a no bullshit guy who would do things his way with no compromises. There was a replica of a Dr John racer, 3 or 4 Lemans, some Triumphs and a work area you could eat off, with 2 hungry dobermans lurking in case things got ugly, and a small revolver on the bench for that extra grunt - if needed.Getting past the hungry dobermans and the gun on the table, I requested that Manfred undertake rebuilding the engine of my V7 Sport. He asked if the bike would be raced and I replied no, only ridden hard on the street. He said nos crankshafts were nla and that he had had no success with regrinds. I was perplexed as this left us no options?? I told him I would try and source a nos crank in Europe. He said "good luck!" Over the next 60 days I spent hours and $$$$ on the phone to Europe with little success. I sourced pistons and liners in nikasil from Esher in Germany but no crank. Finally I started corrosponding with a guy in Italy who put me onto a shop in the Italian Alps that had a nos crank. The price was 1,000,000 lira !!! In dollars that was about $1000. Figuring $850 for the pistons and liners I was already $1850 into the rebuild and Manfred hadn't even touched the motor!! When the pistons and liners and the nos crank arrived I brought the bike and parts to Manfred's shop under the bridge in Brooklyn. I arrived 15 minutes before my scheduled arrival and rang the bell. Nobody came to the door but an upstairs window opened and Manfred stuck his head out. He said nothing, just looked and then closed the window. Exactly 15 minutes later the door opened and Manfred said to bring the bike into the shop. I left everything with him and went home awaiting his call that my bike was ready to be picked up. Six weeks went by when I received a call from Manfred. The bike was done and I should bring a Brinks truck with his payment around when I was ready to pick up the bike. Saturday I picked up the bike and paid Manfred in cash. He told me to ride it gently at first and then harder and to make sure I changed the oil and brought it to him in a coupla weeks to have the heads retourqued. Once home I started riding the bike. It felt as it had when I bought it but was much stronger with excellent tourqe in the midrange and a real kick in the ass at high rpm. I was very happy but now poor. On November 22 I decided to have lunch with my son and ride the Palisades up to Bear Mountain Park. At lunch my son and I discussed the rebuild and ate sandwiches. After lunch I put on my Aerostitch suit and my Kevin Swantz replica helmet and off I headed south on Rt 9. As I rounded the curve at the armory I twisted my wrist and things happened. First the rear wheel jumped to the left and then my right clip on started rubbing on the tarmac as I had lowsided and was now separated from the bike and sliding on my hip and wrist as I watched the bike slam into the guardrail, spin around, slam into the guardrail again and careen off into the woods - still running. I stopped sliding and looked up face to face with a Nissan bumper and a wide-eyed woman who stopped just in time. I asked her to call the cops and ran after the bike now 40 or so yards into the woods. When I got to the bike the keys were gone but it was still running.

........I got out my Leatherman tool and disconnected the negative from the battery which stopped the bike. The police arrived and I was told by the unsympathetic cop how lucky I was and how many others had been killed on the same curve. The cop and I walked back trying to find a cause and he came up with the following. A garbage truck leaking some slippery liquid had gone by shortly before me and when I hit the gas I overcame the rear wheels traction capability and down I went. A flatbed took the bike and me home where I looked over the remains. Front forks -trash, front wheel - trash, seat - mangled and torn, exhaust pipes and mufflers - trash, rear wheel - mangled trash, gas tank - dented, scratched but salvageable, right clip-on and switches - broken and crushed, shifter and brake pedal - trashed. I continued to take inventory of the damaged parts but had to stop because it became depressing. Later my son arrived home and asked how was my ride. I replied that I had crashed. He laughed and said stop fooling. I said go downstairs and look at the bike. From downstairs I heard him exclaim - "Holy Shit !!!" He ran upstairs and asked if I was ok and said he was amazed I was, as the bike was totally destroyed. The Aerostitch and the Aria helmet had done their job and I believe I would have been hurt if not for them. I told my son that the major parts of the bike - the engine, trans, rear, frame and some other parts were ok and that I would now undertake a total rebuild. My wife hearing this, got on the phone with the people with the nets and threatened to have me institutionalized!!Part 3: After disassembling the bike I set in on finding the parts I needed to complete the rebuild and resto of my V7 Sport..I contacted many painters as the tank needed work and settled on a guy from the south - Cycle Colors. He told me that the dents and scratches would be taken care of and that he would paint the tank anyway in the colour I wanted for $250. I shipped the tank off to him. The wheels presented different problems. The rims were so badly damaged that repairing them was not an option. The spokes were trash and the ends of the spokes had been pulled through the hub holes. After many,many phone calls I hooked up with the Moto Guzzi club rep from Oregon. He had some parts to trade and we made a deal. He got the old crank and the controls and the complete front wheel and damaged sliders and I got - dual disc front brakes, sliders, fender stays and a Borriani record front wheel complete. I viewed this as a steal. The only thing I was giving up was the crank as everything else was damaged. I shipped the parts to him and in return I got the parts I asked for. The rims I needed were the original to V7 Sport Borrani rims that have the word CROSS on them. Record rims are ok as replacements but the only ones that came on V7 Sports were CROSS. I contacted Eish Enterprises from Ohio and Joe Eish stated that he thought he had a CROSS rear rim in his treasure trove of parts. Joe found it and we consumated a deal. When the rim arrived I was suprised to see that it was nos and perfect. Thanks Joe!! Off to Buchanans in California went the hub and rim. The seatcover also was a challenge. Corbin in California didn't want to just recover my seat they wanted to make a whole new seat and charge me accordingly. Not gonna happen.... My original pan was in good condition with no rust and the foam was scuffed but intact, all I needed was a cover. Lynn Crowley the V7 Sport guru steered me to Eric Hijtness who runs a high end auto restoration business in California. He had redone a V7 Sport (seen else where on this site - Adam) and made covers that were exact  copies of the original right down to the Moto Guzzi stenciled on the rear. I also purchased parts from Stein Dinse in Germany and Agostini's in Italy. Parts arrived and replaced damaged parts but I heard nothing from the painter... I called him and was informed that his employee after taking the dents out of the tank had removed the paint before getting the right color. As they were perplexed, I agreed to send them the toolboxes which were original so they could repaint the tank the correct color. Another month went by and nothing. I called and was told by the owner of another screwup and the need for the correct color code before painting would happen. Again I went to Lynn Crowley, who told me that the correct color for the v7sport in burgundy is DBU 42-40 called Blue-Red poly. I gave this info to the painter and told him to use the color coat 4 times then apply the decals and then to clear coat over it all 3 times. More weeks went by and I again heard nothing. I called the painter and was informed that I now owed him $650. The additional money was for painting the toolboxes. I baulked at paying and was told I would not get the painted parts till I paid up. Phone calls deteriorated into screaming matches that ended with one of us hanging up in frustration on the other. After 2 weeks of this cooler heads prevailed and we struck a compromise - $ 450 to him and the painted parts to me. Neither was happy but an end was reached. The parts arrived and I was amazed at the painting.It was great and 7 years later is still in perfect condition.

..... Monday I received a phone call from a Bob Marinelli from Palo Alto Ca. He asked if I was the KJ OBrien who posted on the v7sport register and did I still own VK32241. He informed me that he was the owner who had chromed the frame way back in 1974. He purchased the bike used from King Motorcycles in Brooklyn NY in Sept of 1973 and after a year had clutch problems. With the motor and trans out he had the frame nickel plated and on the platers advice, chromeplated over the nickel. He removed the build plate when this was done and still to this day has it in an envelope with the other pertinent info from the bike's history. He sold the bike in 1985 to Clement Braun for $500 and I purchased it from Clement in 1994 for $1000. Bob was able to tell me the name of the first owner, Mark Evans, who purchased the bike in March of 1973 and 2 months later sold it back to King. Bob getting in touch with me was made possible by the Internet and all the wonderful info on the web. This completes the history of vk32241 from day 1 till now. One of the things I didnt mention is that I had the clutch replaced over the last winter. The 2mm hub was totally trashed and this led to the clutch acting as an on/off switch. The way to remedy it is to upgrade to the 4mm clutch hub when you put in new discs. At the same time I replaced the starter ring gear as it was also trashed with missing and gnarley teeth. As the parts start arriving I see theres so much more I need to do this restoration. I have the front wheel and the sliders but what about the fork springs and the cartridges? Then there's the master cylinder and the calipers. And the front brake switch and the hoses. It gets pretty complicated and when you think you have it all other parts are needed, like the brake line splitter. It goes on and on like this but after 16 or so months of phone calls and ordering parts things come together and the bike looks absolutely gorgeous. I have toyed with the idea of putting a fairing on the bike and the first attempt is with a Le Mans I bikini fairing ordered from Agostini's in Italy. I sent the fairing to my friend Jose of ID Design and had the fairing and my Davida helmet painted in DBU-42-40 and silver leaf that Jose applied by hand and clearcoated over. Once the fairing was on the bike it looked perfect. Like it belonged there. The only problem was it did nothing to block or deflect the air. I kept it this way for about 6 months and then decided that I needed more protection and looked for an alternative. I contacted Evan Wilcox in Arizona to make me a hand beaten aluminium fairing like that of a Ducati 900 SS from the mid 70's. I ordered it before X-mas in 1997 and it arrived in October of 1998. This baby is beautiful and not the piece you see on every other bike. A truly unique piece. Evan also made a mount for the V7sport and it's made of iron and prone to rust and heavy.

.......My friend Bill came from Michigan to see us and we went out for a ride. Me on the LAPD Eldo and him on the V7sport. Bill drag races a Harley and is quite competitive on a national circuit. When I finally caught up with him he was all smiles and commented that I had started a conversion from American Iron to the v7sport. Bill loved the engine and the brakes and didn't want to swap to the Eldo. On the ride back to my house with Bill in the lead I saw the headlight drop and him pull over quickly to the side of the road. The fairing mount had broken and the fairing had dropped onto the front fender and wheel. No damage was done but for pucker factor it was quite high. I made a new mount of ss and aluminium that won't rust and is lightweight and much tricker than Evans design.  It even removes the whole fairing with 2 nuts and a pin. As you can see from this story it never ends and you try and keep getting better-sometimes out of necessity sometimes just for change. The front disks I acquired with the parts swap were original Guzzi parts but for change I decided to get cast iron drilled Ducati parts. I installed these on the bike, rebuilt the master cylinder and the calipers with parts from TAW in Colorado and the brakes got even better. Next changes were to the wires, coils, plugs, and carbs. I contacted Nology and bought their wires and plugs. From Dyna I purchased green coils and electronic ignition and for the carbs - Mikuni 36mm Smoothbore Flatslide carbs with Malossi straightshot manifolds and aluminium bell mouths and Magura 1/4 turn throttle. These carbs were set up for a larger displacement bike and I had to get smaller jets, needle jets and pilot jets before they would run right. By that I mean -- start up, idle, pull to 7300 redline without hesitation and have no hiccups while getting 38-43 mpg and running up in the 120-130 mph range. For mufflers I purchased 1.25" ss straight pipes, 26" long and had the ends swaged to fit the Guzzi header pipes. I retained the original x-over and the sound is gorgeous - not irritating at idle but very throaty upon acceleration.I can go on but it gets boring.The bike is done. It's unique and well put together and you will not see another like it. Thanks for taking an interest!!...............KO