We glimpsed this incredible Moto Guzzi V1000 G5 cafe racer at this year’s Handbuilt Show in Austin, Texas. Built by Cliff Fisher of Stasis Motorcycles, the bike has a story as special as the design itself: This was was Cliff’s very first motorcycle, bought for $1600 in 1998, when Guzzis were still relatively rare in the US!
The Moto Guzzi G5 was the first of the 1000 engines, and known to be bulletproof, and there are stories of owners getting 300,000 miles out of these machines. That said, most agree that, despite its charm and durability, the G5 was ugly as sin. Cliff’s vision was of a 70s endurance racer meeting a modern frame, and the reality is beautiful to behold.
We’ll Cliff himself give you the full story.
Moto Guzzi Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words
Never a motorcyclist existed who could not recall the year, make and model of his first bike.
This was mine. I scrimped and pinched to collect the $1,600 it took to ride a 1979 Moto Guzzi G5 V1000 from the Texas barn in which it was living, just outside of Austin in 1998. I didn’t have a license, hadn’t grown up riding dirt, nor did had I taken a motorcycle safety course…but I believed I KNEW how to ride. How different could it be from the bicycles I lived on throughout my life to this point?
Two low-sides, some cheap café customization, a few Ducatis and four years later, my ’79 Guzzi sat mid-conversion in the corner of my garage patiently waiting for a return to the road.
I’ve owned other Guzzi’s during this time, most of which were running, but could never consider letting go of my first one. With ownership has come this unrealistic fanaticism over the brand, which until the recent introduction of the V7 was only shared by a few. Owning a Guzzi made you part of some oddball club, where perhaps 1 of every 20 motorcyclists even recognized the name. Clearly, that is no longer the case, and like I so righteously declared over many 90’s bands, “I was listening to them before them were big,” so it was to own a Guzzi in the States.
This build began as a heavy Tonti-frame w/dual rear shocks, floorboards, heal-toe shifter, and linked brakes. It had been stripped of signals, mirrors, and any other consideration of safety or performance, ran like a scalded ape, but wouldn’t corner or stop when you needed it to.
So, as this project evolved from 2001, my vision for the bike remained…70’s endurance racer meets modern frame, suspension, brakes, electronics, etc. I have literally been gathering parts for 15 years! A modern Spine-frame in France that really showcases the air-cooled round-head engine as a stressed member.
MV Agusta rims on Ebay that reminded me of 70’s Campagnolo or Astralite racing wheels, Sport 1100 tank with gorgeous lines in France, vintage Ducati Pantah racing seat in the UK, Magni fairing, 100mm LeMans III white-faced tach in contrast to the rebuilt original blue-face speedo, and so on…
I designed the rear hub to adapt the rear wheel meant for a single-sided swing arm to the Guzzi’s double sided swing arm, which meant filling the sizable MV hub hole with an alloy lug allowing me to mount the stock Guzzi splines and rear rotor, and create caliper brackets to mount on the rear-drive.
The rear subframe was created by a talented local fabricator to mirror the front engine mount geometry and support all electronics beneath the tank. The lighting is all LED for which alloy bezels were machined, all electrics are run through a Motogadget M-Unit, and Dyna ignition.
The exhaust is a vintage 2-into-1 race unit that tucks beneath the engine and bellows such an awesome note through a Werkes USA stainless GP megaphone.
The paintwork was my design and was applied to the tank about 10yrs ago, before I even knew what fairing and tail section I’d use.
Happily, everything came together beyond my expectations, and received some notable recognition at this year’s Handbuilt Motorcycle show by the CEO of Piaggio North America (parent company of Moto Guzzi, Aprilia & Vespa)!!!
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Follow Cliff Fisher on Instagram: @statismotorcycles