Motocicli Audaci builds one daring ex-Police Guzzi…
The Moto Guzzi T5 850 was a favorite of the Italian Polizia, featuring a long-stroke 90-degree V-twin with 68.5 horsepower on tap. More importantly, the broad range of torque was perfect for dicing the cobbled streets of small villages or chasing automotive banditi on the high-speed autostradas:
“The T5 is in many ways the best performer in Guzzi’s stable. No, it’s obviously not the fastest — that privilege belongs to the 133mph Le Mans — but it offers such a broad and utterly manageable spread of torque, enabling it to accomplish so many tasks, that the phrase ‘all-rounder’ might well have been coined for it.” —Motorcycle International, 1987
Enter our friends from Sardinia’s MAAN (Motocicli Audaci) — an “Experimentation Laboratory for Daring Motorcycles.” The workshop includes Nicola Manca (@miciogattillo), founder and organizer of Dust’n Sardinia, as well as Matteo Murgia (@moorcustoms), Stefano Minerba (@treperdieciallottava_ms), and Alessandro Serri (@serrimotorworks):
“We only do projects we like, regardless of the starting budget. If it convinces us (us, not the owner), we do it. If it doesn’t convince us, we don’t do it. We don’t want any restrictions or limitations on our imagination. Motorbikes are just one part of our expressive capacity, so we don’t compromise. If you don’t like what we do, luckily the world is full of very good builders (even more than us) and you can go to them.”
The bike you see here is a 1980 Moto Guzzi T5 850 ex-police bike, which the owner originally wanted the MAAN crew to build into a bobber. However, the bike itself seemed to have other ideas:
“After disassembling it, we put a tail on it and turned all the perspectives upside down. It looked so good to us that we decided it should become an old racing bike, albeit with a modern reinterpretation.”
We’re so glad they made the change, as this is one of the most stunning Guzzis we have ever seen. The team took their design cues from vintage aircraft — specifically, the radial (“star” in most languages) engines common in older prop-driven aircraft:
“The V-engine of the Guzzi immediately made us think of that of old aeroplanes: the star [radial] engine. The 850 cc V-engine of the T5 is a fraction of this engine architecture, so the whole project went to identify elements that would recall aviation and aeroplanes. And we hope we succeeded.”
They kept the Tonti frame intact, raising the seat slightly and making clear aeronautical references with the bodywork. We especially the custom front fairing and GP-inspired Plexiglas wings, built in collaboration with Serri Motorworks:
“The front fairing does not have the housings for the headlights, which, as in the case of aircraft, are located to the side and further back than the nose. Instead, it has transparent Plexiglas wings that light up to function as a position light and indicators, and are coloured orange.”
The suspension was built according to MAAN’s specs by Power Moto di Fabrizio Corda, and the stainless steel exhaust was hand-built in the MAAN workshop, filling the space behind the oil sump. The finished bike is not only an extreme pleasure to look upon, but also to ride:
“The 850 engine has a lot of torque, and combined with the Tonti chassis, it makes for a very stable and enjoyable ride. The much improved suspension and brakes ensure a very sporty ride even in heavy use.”
They nicknamed the bike “MAANdello” for the 100th anniversary of Moto Guzzi, which is, of course, headquartered in Mandello del Lario, Italy. Below, we talk to Nicola Manca for more details on the build, and you’ll find more photos courtesy of one of our favorite photographers, Andrea Caredda (@andrews_diary).
Moto Guzzi T5 850: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
What MAAN (Motocicli Audaci) is, we still don’t know. We don’t know, we imagine you don’t know. We like not giving ourselves a definition, we like not saying where exactly we are, if not in Cagliari, Sardinia, we like it just as much because we love working alone, without pressure. We also love to have the freedom to not work if we don’t feel like it and maybe think about how best to organise one of our events.
What is certain is that Nicola Manca, Matteo Murgia, Stefano Minerba worked on this bike, with the collaboration of Alessandro Serri for the LED part.
Another certainty is that we only do projects we like, regardless of the starting budget. If it convinces us (us, not the owner), we do it. If it doesn’t convince us, we don’t do it. We don’t want any restrictions or limitations on our imagination. Motorbikes are just one part of our expressive capacity, so we don’t compromise. If you don’t like what we do, luckily the world is full of very good builders (even more than us) and you can go to them.
If, on the other hand, you like them, you can entrust a bike to them knowing that you won’t be able to ask anything about how the project will turn out, but you will only see the result once it is finished.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Moto Guzzi T5 850, m.y. 1980, ex Police Bike.
• Why was this bike built?
Customer project. Actually the owner, Lorenzo, wanted us to build a bobber, but again we respected the MAAN rules, according to which nobody can tell us what will happen to their bike. It’s a matter of trust, so once he brought the bike to the workshop, after disassembling it, we put a tail on it and turned all the perspectives upside down. It looked so good to us that we decided it should become an old racing bike, albeit with a modern reinterpretation.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Like any motorbike we build, we first let ourselves be influenced by the suggestions we want our construction to evoke. The V-engine of the Guzzi immediately made us think of that of old aeroplanes: the star [radial] engine. The 850 cc V-engine of the T5 is a fraction of this engine architecture, so the whole project went to identify elements that would recall aviation and aeroplanes. And we hope we succeeded.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The bike was completely disassembled, trying to leave the Tonti frame intact, or rather, enhancing it. All we had to do was build two risers on the seat in such a way as to increase the distance between the tail and the wheel and not touch it if the shock absorbers bottom out.
Inside the compartment we found a space, covered in leather and with courtesy lights, to hold documents or some tools.
The tail and the front fairing have very clean lines, but with clear aeronautical references: the vertical fin recalls the tail rudder and encloses a Plexiglas system with refraction LEDs for the stop and position light. The front fairing does not have the housings for the headlights, which, as in the case of aircraft, are located to the side and further back than the nose.
Instead, it has transparent Plexiglas wings that light up to function as a position light and an arrow, and are coloured orange. For both elements we turned to a company that, after the experience with the Super Cub X, we have reconfirmed this time as well, Serri Motorworks, which has in fact become part of the MAAN team.
The exhaust was built entirely by hand in stainless steel and housed in the lower part, filling the gap between the sump and the shaft, where there is usually space for the center stand (removed).
The suspension was built by Fabrizio Corda Powermoto – Andreani/Ohlins centre, according to our instructions, as well as the front suspension, which is much higher performance than the original one.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Like all MAAN – Motocicli Audaci motorbikes, this one has a name that contains the word “Maan”. In honour of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Moto Guzzi, which are built in Mandello del Lario, we decided to call this bike MAANdello.
• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?
We have no idea, but the important thing about our bikes is not so much the horsepower, but the beauty of using them and above all the fact that they can be used and are not just ornaments or style exercises. The owner often sends us pictures of his rides and of the many people who stop to look at it when it’s parked, and that’s enough to make us proud, even if it only has 10 horses.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The 850 engine has a lot of torque, and combined with the Tonti chassis, it makes for a very stable and enjoyable ride. The much improved suspension and brakes ensure a very sporty ride even in heavy use.
The set-back footpegs and semi handlebars do not make it the most comfortable bike in the world, and after a hundred km, it is necessary to stop and rest a bit. We gave the owner the opportunity to drink a beer every hour of use.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Giving a “futuristic” touch by taking a cue from modern GP bikes, but adding a practical functionality to the wings has given us a lot of satisfaction. Moreover, the choice of keeping them transparent has contributed to not weighing down the line, leaving it clean, as well as the exhaust that fits perfectly into the original shape of the engine, making the bike even more graceful.
• What’s next for MAAN?
After the unexpected worldwide success of the Super Cub X, Honda recently commissioned us to do another job. I can say that it is a Honda Rebel 500 and we have very little time to make it.
If everything goes as we hope, you will see it at Wheels and Waves at the end of June. As with the Cub X, it will be difficult to change the bike but leave it recognisable. So we didn’t want to change the frame or the fuel tank, so you already know what half of the bike will look like. Of course modifying or replacing them would have been much easier and quicker to get a line that we’re excited about, but we never liked easy things so much…
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Photography Credit: Andrea Caredda (@andrews_diary)
Altro che le moto che usa oggi la polizia…
I like the builders philosophy on building the bikes it’s not up to the owner it’s up to the builder the owner don’t like it he can go somewhere else I feel the same way there’s plenty of great builders stick to your guns and your morals and keep the good work up the goosey is cool