Prototype 1: Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

Vienna’s Horizontal Moto builds one sleek middleweight Guzzi…

The Moto Guzzi V50 was a half-liter model developed in the mid-1970s. The company was in dire straits at the time and needed a model that could do battle with the Japanese middleweights cornering the market. Famed designer Lino Tonti scaled down the big 850 Le Mans to create the V50, which was 139 pounds lighter and featured a 490cc, 45-bhp version of the company’s beloved 90-degree V-twin. While the V50 was no powerhouse, it was a lighter, more agile Guzzi than the riding public had ever experienced:

“The European motoring press loved both the standard V50 and the Monza, which received rave reviews for its handling, judged clearly superior to any of the Japanese competitors in its class. Importantly, that included Honda’s CX500, which the Monza was frequently compared to as both bikes were small-displacement, shaft-driven V-twins, although the Honda was water-cooled.” –Motorcycle Classics

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

Today, the once-maligned Honda CX500 has become a darling of the modern customs scene, serving as the donor for builds of every scale and stripe, while the Moto Guzzi V50 is a rare sight.

Enter Paul Führmann of Vienna’s newest workshop, Horizontal Moto. Says Paul of the name:

“Horizontal Moto is all about the straight line from the headlight to the tip of the tail, which is reflected in my motorcycles. The focus is on classic Italian V2 engines from Moto Guzzi and their long, beautifully simple frames from the 1970s and 80s — bikes which have been fascinating me for years due to their sound and design.”

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

Interestingly enough, Paul’s main focus is on the larger Guzzis, but this ’82 V50 found its way to him, and he was curious how things would go with the smaller frame. The result is the “Prototyp 1” — German for “Prototype 1” — a retro-style cafe racer that absolutely nails the Horizontal Moto focus on minimalist machines with sleek, straight lines from head to tail. Says Paul:

“We decided to reuse the original fuel tank while modifying the surrounding parts, which made it possible to gain that authentic and sharp look.”

Given the short wheelbase and light weight, the “Prototyp 1” is a surprisingly sporty and agile Guzzi on the road, says Paul. Below, we get the full details on the build and more photos from the media pros at Jelly Bean.

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer: Builder Interview

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

My name is Paul and at the beginning of 2021 I established Horizontal Moto in the heart of Vienna, Austria. Horizontal Moto is all about the straight line from the headlight to the tip of the tail, which is reflected in my motorcycles.

The focus is on classic Italian V2 engines from Moto Guzzi and their long, beautifully simple frames from the 1970s and 80s — bikes which have been fascinating me for years due to their sound and design.

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?

Moto Guzzi V50, 1982.

• Why was this bike built?

This bike actually found me – and I was curious how one of the smaller Guzzis could be modified in order to comply with Horizontal Moto’s focus, which is actually driven by the larger Tonti frames.

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

In line with the intention to reduce the bike to its absolute minimum while keeping its classic character, this V50 build resulted in a very retro cafe racer appearance. We decided to reuse the original fuel tank while modifying the surrounding parts, which made it possible to gain that authentic and sharp look.

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

• What custom work was done to the bike?

The V50 came to us in good condition overall; nonetheless we mechanically overhauled the engine and gearbox at first. After the frame was cleaned from obsolete parts, shortened, and lacquered, the rebuild began. Starting with completely minimized electrical wiring, instruments, and controls, we managed to make the electronic components of the bike completely disappear.

The seat is made of superb suede leather and custom-built by Ledernardo, Vienna. Various custom CNC parts round off the slim and lean design of the bike, while 4.00 tires underpin the retro look.

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

To give the bike more sporty and agile handling and appearance, we installed slightly longer rear shock absorbers.

At Horizontal Moto we care that our bikes are suitable for riding on an every day basis, so a lot of effort and time during the building process was dedicated to making sure all adjustments fit that purpose.

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

• Does the bike have a nickname?

Yeah, it’s Prototyp 1.

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?

As the bike is quite light, it is very agile and sporty, which is quite surprising considering it was originally built in 1982.

Moto Guzzi V50 Cafe Racer

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

Indeed, the CNC parts and their design were particularly special.

Follow the Builder

Web: Horizontal-moto.com
Instagram: @horizontal_moto_wien
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Horizontal-moto
Photographer: @jellybean.at | www.jellybean.at
Graphic design: @momoistgeil

2 Comments

  1. Brian Nilles

    THAT is a good one Horizontal. Nice work.

    I think import might make it too expensive, but if you’re looking for a buyer in the US…. please contact me.

    Brian Nilles

  2. hondasaki900

    Nice. Now put some side covers on it.

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