No Higher Calling – A Custom Moto Guzzi You Can Afford

Not sure what it is about this week, but it seems I’ve been obsessed with the idea of owning a Moto Guzzi.

The V850 Eldorado is a massive looking motorcycle, and the big fenders – along with the iconic look of the classic Guzzi motor – make the machine art on wheels.

While the transversely mounted V-twin engine and those huge fenders make the bike look deceptively massive, a positively stubby 58-inch wheelbase means this Italian touring beast is actually shorter than a Honda 750 from the same era. The Guzzi was svelte as well and weighed in at a nearly anorexic 559 pounds.

One feature I find most beguiling is the stamped and polished instrument panel which features an electric tachometer and a mechanical speedometer. Between those two instruments is the ignition switch and four lovely indicator lights, and they all just have that ineluctable Italian flair.

These bikes also had a mechanical charm which could also be said to be a “flaw,” like the gap between Lauren Hutton’s teeth. The crankshaft runs front-to-back in a transverse position, so the engine torque means the bike wants to spin over on it’s side, but that’s a small price to pay for the comfort and smooth feel you get at speed on a Guzzi. As soon as you apply the throttle these bikes become 550 pounds ballerina; agile and delicate. The Eldorado was all about preventing vibration, and few did it better.

And they were fast.

The Eldorado moved along at 80 mph without complaint and they 94.50 mph and 14 seconds for the quarter mile: more than fast enough to wipe aside the Sportsters of the day.

Want it? Check it out here on EBay…

If you’re interested in these pieces of artistic, and speedy, Italian masterpieces, check with the guys at the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club for the lowdown here at


1974 Moto Guzzi V850 Eldorado Specs




Air cooled, four stroke, transverse 90° V-twin cylinder, OHC, 2 valve per cylinder.


Bore x Stroke83 x 78 mm
Compression Ratio9.2:1


2x 29mm VHB Dell’Orto
Ignition /StartingBattery and coil /
Max Power64 hp @ 6500 rpm
Gear Ratio(1) 11.42(2)7.92(3)5.98 (4) 4.96 (5) 4.28

Front Brakes

8.7in x 1.7in. Drum

Rear Brakes

8.7in x 1.7in.Drum

Front Tyre

4.00 -18

Rear Tyre

4.00 -18
Seat Height31 in.


320 kg

Fuel Capacity

22 Litres
Standing Quarter Mile14. sec / 94 mp/h
Top Speed115 mp/h

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