A 105-hp T5 from Hardcore Division…
Lino Tonti was an Italian motorcycle engineer best known for designing the Moto Guzzi Tonti frame in 1971 — a chassis that would remain in production until the early 1990s.
“Tonti’s frame incorporated triangulated straight tubes, and thanks to the relocated generator it had a lower backbone. The lower frame rails were removable to allow easy engine access…. With one of the Monza record-setting V7 engines in the frame, Tonti told upper management that factory rider Gazzola was able to shave six seconds off his previous lap time.” —Motorcycle Classics
As it turned out, the whole six-second claim was a lie aimed at getting the Guzzi bigwigs to green-light production of the new chassis, but Tonti wasn’t afraid of going to extreme measures to bring his visions to reality:
“Tonti crashed and broke his leg during testing. Unwilling to give up his role in testing the motorcycle he was creating, Tonti had doctors set his leg in a riding position, carrying his crutches with him on the machine.”
Now that’s dedication! Recently, we heard from Sicilian-born builder Dario Di Mauro (@rustyvmotors), who has always had a love affair with Italian design of this era:
“I have always been attracted by the beauty of the lines and the richness of the stylistic details of the 60s / 70s motorcycles, which in my opinion reach their maximum expression in the Italian productions of that period (Le Ducati Desmo by Fabio Taglioni, the V7 of Carlo Guzzi and Giulio Cesare Carcano…).”
Recently, he got hold of a 1986 T5 Tonti frame and decided to build a Guzzi in the spirit of the original café racers, focusing on horsepower and handling:
“I built this motorcycle simply as an experiment, to see how much horsepower I could get out of this old engine, which originally had only 62 hp.”
The engine is a military-spec 850cc T5 mill that’s been punch out to 1103cc, fitted with V11 Le Mans heads, an aftermarket camshaft, lightened flywheel, and a pair of Dell’Orto carbs. Dario also upgraded the suspension and brakes, and the numbers speak for themselves:
“183kg (originally the T5 weighed 220kg) and 105 hp.”
That’s a 80 pounds lighter, with more than 50 extra horses coming out of the air-cooled, pushrod Guzzi V-twin! Not surprisingly, that numbers can be felt squarely in the seat of the rider’s pants.
“It feels like riding a bull and getting a kick in the ass in the same time ????”
Below, we talk to Dario for the full details on this incredible 1100cc Moto Guzzi café racer.
Moto Guzzi T5 Café Racer: Builder Interview
(Dario suggests reading this in the accent of Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather ????)
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Sicilian born in 1976, passionate about engines since childhood, I have always been attracted by the beauty of the lines and the richness of the stylistic details of the 60s / 70s motorcycles, which in my opinion reach their maximum expression in the Italian productions of that period (Le Ducati Desmo by Fabio Taglioni, the V7 of Carlo Guzzi and Giulio Cesare Carcano…).
From this passion for Italian Style with a decidedly vintage flavor, and obsessed with the awareness that detail makes the difference, the idea of the Hardcore Division was born, a workshop that aims to create specials (one-off) without compromise.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The frame of this bike was taken from an old 1986 T5 Tonti frame with a short steering head.
• Why was this bike built?
I built this motorcycle simply as an experiment, to see how much horsepower I could get out of this old engine, which originally only had 62 hp.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The design idea that inspired me was the original cafe racers. Few frills and lots of engine. A Gun Bike, like when you organize the races at the bar from traffic light to traffic light.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
A military-derived 850cc T5 engine with a larger oil pan and electronic ignition was mounted on the chassis. The displacement was increased to 1103cc and v11 Le Mans heads with springs and titanium plates were mounted, coupled to a b-sport F1 CAMS camshaft. To give more liveliness to the engine, the flywheel was lightened by 900g. To maintain the Italian style, I fit two Dell’Orto PHM40 carburettors.
The front fork is a traditional 40mm by Bitubo with progressive springs inside. Bitubo adjustable shocks also at the rear. The original braking system has been replaced by Ducati-derived Brembo calipers and master cylinders.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The bike doesn’t have a nickname but the numbers on the side tell you everything you need to know.
• Any idea of the weight and horsepower numbers?
183kg (originally the T5 weighed 220kg) and 105 hp.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the finished bike?
It feels like riding a bull and getting a kick in the ass in the same time ????
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The thing I’m really satisfied with is the increase in power given to the bike.