Friday, 27 September 2013

Shocking stuff

Hagons, a proud British company with fantastic origins, what with Alf Hagon being the scourge of speedway, grass and sprint tracks from the 1950s onwards, have sent us a set of their twin shocks to test out on the Guzzi 750. The Guzzi has worn Koni (now called Ikons I believe) shocks ever since I've owned the bike and over 20 years or more have always done what is required of them, whether it's just me, two-up, scraching, touring and crashing too, but I have always wondered what something different may feel like. A revelation maybe? Or a disappointment? I've heard from other Guzzi owners that know what they're talking about that Hagons are a vast improvement over the Konis.

The Hagons shocks feel quality, and they look very much like the S3's originals with black body and chrome spring. There's a 3 postition pre-load adjustment and 10 position damping too, probably too much for my purposes, but it'll be interesting to see what the possibilities are.

Anyway, I'll fit them, and we'll report back, and there'll be a review on our product page in the mag in Issue 6 soon. Hagons Shocks can be found here:

Friday, 20 September 2013

Cog on - MV 175 project bike

If you're ad the mag regularly, you might remember that we had ambitiously set out on a couple of project bikes, one of which being a 1957 MV Agusta 175 AB model, in unrestored (read bad, no terrible) condition. If you're wondering what happened to it - well, it is still in the boxes we stripped it down into in the last issue, and that's because it has taken almost a year of searching to find these fine original and correct but weird plasticky NOS cogs to replace the knackered ones that came out of the motor (see bottom pic).

Someone in the MV design department in 1957 thought it'd be fun to experiment with a type of fibrous new-fangled (at the time) plastic for these gears, instead of the metal most other manufacturers employed. Didn't they realise that 50 years later, some poor bastard (i.e. me) would be trying to make this bike relive its glory days?

Anyway, I've managed to source a new oil pump with gear attached, and the other gear which goes, er, somewhere... Hopefully it'll all make sense once I've replaced the bearings, got the crank fixed, etc. etc. Please don't hold your breath.

Friday, 13 September 2013

New in the ITALIAN MOTOR store: repro vintage Italian road tax discs and holders

More excellent stuff to spend your hard earned cash on. If you're as obsessed as we are about the details of Italian motorcycles, especially unrestored ones, you'll love these repro vintage road tax discs and holders that we've sourced from Italy. Any year (within limits) and a choice of colours, we age them to make them look as authentic as your Italian bike. The artwork for the tax discs is, apart from a couple of small details, faithful to the original artwork. Printed on heavyweight 167gm paper, the disc is then trimmed to its 65cm diameter. Every year has its own colour or design, and you'll receive the relevant one for the year. These are for exhibition purposes only!

The tax disc holders are brand new reproductions of what were commonly used in Italy in the '50s and '60s, and feature a removable clear plastic cover and on the rear, a fantastic embossed St Christopher emblem to keep you safe as you ride. Made in durable plastic, the holder measures 66mm in diameter and 90mm at its widest point to include the mounting tab. The mounting hole is for an M6 bolt but there's plenty of material to file out for an M8 bolt. Can't guarantee that they're water proof.

£14.99 + Airmail or 1st Class UK postage shipped to wherever you are in the world, choice of colours, state what year tax disc you want and for what category of motorcycle.

For a more detailed description and lots more details and to buy online, visit the ITALIAN MOTOR store here: repro vintage Italian tax discs

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Mike Hailwood v Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, Monza 1971 - photo book back in stock in our store

We've had a fresh delivery of this fascinating photo book from Italy (now they're open again after August) but we've only got FIVE copies to sell, so be quick.

Cost is £30.00 inc. Airmail shipping to wherever you are in the world (1st Class post in the UK).

More info here, and even more details or you can buy from our online store HERE

Monday, 9 September 2013

Guzzi visits Norton

After far, far too long of not being able to ride my Guzzi 750, I managed to finally sort it out on Saturday morning, having woken inexplicably bolt upright at 5.30am and not being able to get back to sleep. Inspired and energetic (for half an hour at least..), I found the cause of the bike's lack of charging, a broken alternator brush holder (see pic below). Swapped it with one from another bike, hey presto, sorted, though the battery was pretty flat. Anyway, after a brief carb balance (I'd rebuilt them earlier this year), and then breaking down outside my house again, managed to jump start it, then threw caution to the wind and thrashed it over to the Norton OC Oxford branch café racer meet that they do every year at a nice little old fashioned boozer in the middle of nowhere on the other side of Oxord. There was a very eclectic mix of Nortons and other bikes present, including a great rat BSA twin alloy tank thing, and a beautifully engineered and very shiny Norvin. There was also one of the new Nortons, built at Donington, lovely motor but the rest a bit contrived for my taste. Was hoping to see John W of Motonero, but he'd gone, not surprising as I'd earlier sent him a text saying the bike wasn't working. The nice chaps at the Norton O.C. also gave me a certificate for turning up. Luckily the Guzzi started again. Thrashed home, and bike ran beautifully apart from a weird little cough here and there. 

Then, Sunday, decided to go along to my local Guzzi club meet just for an excuse for another ride, got soaked on the journey there (but it's good to ride in the rain again, otherwise you forget how to ride in it, or would never go out). Worth it to see an old guy who lives 500 yards across the pub where the bikes meet ride his 1972 V7 Sport helmetless across the road to show us. He bought it direct from the factory in 1972 when he was working in Geneva, and has recently got it back on the road. It's heavily modified for him, with additions and changes here and there, but great to see someone own a bike so long and still enjoy it. And no, it's not a genuine 'TELIO Rosso', as the guy in the hat on the right kept calling it.

Anyway, brilliant to be back out on the bike, just as one of the best summers we've had for years is coming to its end..

Friday, 6 September 2013

Rumba Chillen

I've managed to sort out my 'office' so that I can actually get to my vinyl collection AND my turntable at the same time for the first time in years, and I've had so much pleasure from just delving into records (round and black with grooves in) that I've collected since I was a teenager, scratches, jumps and all.

One of my favourites is this collection released by Charly/Sun Records, called 'Rumble Chillen', with all the artists produced by the legendary Sam Phillips, and for which I paid a then princely £5.99 for sometime back in the 1980s - but it's aged well - would a download last as long?

 It's full of finger-tapping, foot-stomping rockabilly/blues tracks that sound so fresh again, and if you're a guitarist like me, the huge variety of guitar sounds, styles and sounds mixed up with hypnotic, almost primitive rhythms, is amazing. I was never a hardcore rockin' geezer like my brother but hung around some of the clubs with him (and a few girls..) enough to really enjoy the music, booze and the style.

Best track is still 'Rhumba Chillen' by Albert Williams, followed closely by 'Terra Mae' by Doctor Ross. And the scratches inflicted on this particular piece of vinyl over many years only make it sound better. Get a copy if you can.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Machine Moto Guzzi Le Mans 3 - finished

Matt has finished his Moto Guzzi Le Mans 3, and it's fantastic. Understated, neat lines, neat paintwork. Matt has an eye that few other possess for building this type of motorcycle. Hope to get it in the mag at some point.

We're happy to be featuring his Ducati 750 in the upcoming Issue 6, soon..

Check out Matt's blog here: