An Italian cafe racer, reborn in the French volcanic mountains…
Reborn in 2008, the modern Moto Guzzi V7 is a retro-styled Italian roadster with Guzzi’s traditional, 744cc transverse “small block” twin — now in its third evolution. It may not be the most powerful bike on the market (64 horsepower at the crank), but the Guzzi oozes with charisma:
“Since its arrival in 2008 the back-to-basics Italian has surely represented what a retro should be: a famous old model reimagined, with plenty of traditional character and old-school charm but served with modern quality, civility and rideability.” —MCN
Enter our new friend Matt Mougel from Mulet Cycle, a “one man army” who operates out of his workshop in Clermont-Ferrand, in the midst of the Chaîne des Puys — 25-mile-long string of volcanic cinder cones, lava domes, and craters in the central highlands of Southern France. He bought this 2018 Moto Guzzi V7III Carbon and rode it stock for a year, but then Covid 19 struck:
“With repeated lockdowns and restrictions, I found myself in my workshop with this bike that only asked me one thing: become a Cafe Racer.”
Matt says he took plenty of inspiration from workshops like Auto Fabrica and Vagabund Moto, but after he took his first step into 3D design and printing, creating his own handlebar switches, he realized the vast possibilities of the technology:
“The internet is full of ideas you can reinterpret for yourself. But the more I learned with 3D design, the more I took my own way!”
The handlebar switches, phone holder, headlight, turn signals, and rear light kit with integrated lighting are upshots of his 3D printing work. The latter is his favorite part of the build:
“Drawing, printing, testing … took me a while. Passing the electrical wires of the turn signals inside the light turned out to be a real challenge. But the end result is so satisfying!”
Although motorcycle customization had only been a hobby for him, Matt is ready to go full-time into bike-building after completing this Guzzi:
“I want to dedicate my life to the motorcycle world with Mulet Cycle! A place where I will continue building bikes, doing more road trips, and speak about the only thing that makes me more than happy: The Motorcycle.”
Below, we get the full story on this beautiful Italian roadster!
Moto Guzzi V7 Custom: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m Matt from France! I leave in Clermont-Ferrand in the middle of the French volcanoes, where roads and trails are everywhere! My passion for motorcycles has been strong since I was a teenager, but I only get my license in 2017. From there, I bought a 1976 Yamaha XS500 that I rode stock for a year. Afterward, I started to customize it my way, and I took a first step into 3D design and printing to make my own handlebar switches. From that moment, I realized that I could do way more for my bikes with those tools and started to think bigger.
Two years later, I bought a Moto Guzzi V7III Carbon for its natural beauty and rode it stock for a year. Then came the well-known Covid 19.… With repeated lockdowns and restrictions, I found myself in my workshop with this bike that only asked me one thing: become a Cafe Racer. From there, I started to design and build different parts for the bike, which took me almost a year to bring them to life. Customizing motorcycles is just a hobby, as my real work is as a video maker for my company in France. But now, I want to dedicate my life to the motorcycle world with Mulet Cycle! A place where I will continue building bikes, doing more road trips, and speak about the only thing that makes me more than happy: The Motorcycle.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
The bike is a Moto Guzzi V7III from 2018.
• Why was this bike built?
I built this bike for my self! I love all kinds of special objects, and putting a bit of myself on a motorcycle that’s already beautiful was proof at the time.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
To be honest, I took a couple ideas from the internet and pulled them together to fit my vision of the bike. I love the work from Auto Fabrica and Vagabund as well as many others. The internet is full of ideas you can reinterpret for yourself. But the more I learned with 3D design, the more I took my own way! It’s a long process, and some of your mistakes can turn into beautiful parts in the future.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
I started with the cockpit where we incorporated a clip-on handlebar to which I grafted my own in-house switches as well as a short-pull throttle grip from Domino.
I also lightened (visually) the triple tree by moving the speedometer to the left side of the frame and creating a part to finish off the front face of the triple tree. I also added a tailor-made phone holder, where, thanks to a Moto Guzzi application and a Bluetooth box connected to the bike, I have access to all the motorcycle’s data in real time on my smartphone.
I have also designed my own headlight as well as some turn signals placed on the fork tubes to bring the ultimate sobriety to the front of my V7.
Once the front end was finished, I tackled the rear part of the bike! I designed a saddle and its rear shell as well as a brake light with integrated turn signals. For the saddlery part, I delegated this to a specialist from Raterce And Co Sellier who did a wonderful job!
The different parts of the rear light and the saddle shell required several tests before reaching my goal! I have also changed the exhausts with some Mistrals to give to the bike the sound it deserves and also integrated Sato Racing rearsets in order to harmonize the position of the pilot on the machine.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
I call it: “Moto Guzzi V7III Racer.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Riding this bike is something special for me! Due to the Italian engine and the vibrations it brings, you can feel the bike in the handlebar. Other than that, it’s not the most powerful motorcycle you will find on the market (52 horsepower), but it’s like no other! You have to push hard to the handlebar to make it turn and it feels like you’re racing the streets — especially with the sound the Mistral exhausts provide.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The rear light kit with integrated turn signals is for sure my masterpiece! Drawing, printing, testing … took me a while. Passing the electrical wires of the turn signals inside the light turned out to be a real challenge. But the end result is so satisfying!
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All photography credits go to Matt Mougel from Mulet Cycle, as I’m a “one man army.”