Wonderfully Raucous: “Gutso” Moto Guzzi SP3 1000 Café Racer

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe RacerMoto Guzzi Cafe Racer from Side Rock Cycles…   

The Moto Guzzi 1000 SPIII was the third generation of the Italian manufacturer’s Spada (Italian for “Sword”) series of gentleman’s tourers. By all accounts, the third time was the charm for the Spada, which formed the base for many Italian police bikes of the era.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe RacerFirstly, the iconic transverse Guzzi V-twin was uprated to specs more akin to that of the sportier Le Mans. This meant larger inlet valves, smaller exhaust valves, and a hotter cam, resulting in 71 horsepower and nearly as many pound-feet of torque. The 16-inch front wheel was eschewed in favor of an 18-incher for better high-speed stability, and the big windscreen and fairing offered outstanding wind and weather protection. All of which leaves us to wonder: what if all of those heavyweight accoutrements were stripped down to create a comfortable, air-cooled, rock-solid cafe racer?

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe RacerThat was the path taken by Pete Hodson of Side Rock Cycles, a UK-based builder and racer with a rich history of national-level road racing, including several club championships, as well as many years of competition enduro and trials experience. Many of Pete’s builds use the BMW Airhead as a base, but he also works with other makes and models — including Guzzi’s Mondello-built V-twin machines.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe RacerAptly named “Gutso” for the big, bold character of the build, this Guzzi has been fully transformed in Pete’s Bournemouth workshop on the central South Coast of the U.K. The 18-inch mags were swapped for a pair of 17-inch spoke wheels, necessitating a custom swingarm to accommodate the width of the big rear superbike-size wheel — both supplied by our friends at Radical Speedshop.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

In front, meanwhile, you’ll find a set of “right-side-up” Öhlins forks with billet yokes, integrated speedo, top nut starter button, and brand-new Brembo radial calipers — trick!

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe RacerMost of the bodywork was custom made, including the alloy tank, tail, and front fender. A suite of Motogadget electronics replaces the old Italian fare, and the rider sits astride a custom two-tone suede and perforated leather saddle, boots hiked up on rear-set controls.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe RacerThe battery is mounted in a stainless steel box under the transmission, and the custom stainless exhaust with Project SC silencers makes for one hell of a soundtrack on the road. Says Pete of the riding experience:

“Typical Guzzi, long and low very stable. Great brakes and suspension with a wonderfully raucous exhaust tone.”

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer“Gutso” was one of our favorite builds from the recent Bike Shed Show in London, where our man on the ground, Roberto Garagarza (@roga______) captured the show shots you see here.  For teh outdoor shots on the road, credit goes to Leon from Flat-Out Creative. Below is our full interview with Pete for those who want to go into deeper detail.

Moto Guzzi SPIII Café Racer: Builder Interview

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

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

Based on a 1989 Moto Guzzi SP3 1000.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

• Why was this bike built?

Customer project. We built him A BMW R100 cafe racer about ten years ago and still has it.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

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

He wanted a special cafe racer based on a rendering he gave us.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

• What custom work was done to the bike?

Lots. Special wide swinging arm with open shaft to take superbike size rear wheel with stainless spokes.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

Billet alloy yokes designed to take Acewell speedo, start button in top nut and new Ohlins right way up forks. Custom mounts on forks for new radial Brembo calipers.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

Custom alloy tank, seat, front mudguard, custom stainless exhaust with SC Project cans, custom wiring loom to link up a full set of Motogadget electronics including keyless ignition. All LED lights.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

Custom stainless under transmission battery box. Custom rearset footrests with mount for rear brake master cylinder. Custom seat upholstery in anthracite suede and black perforated leather.

• Does the bike have a nickname?


Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer


• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?

Approx 80bhp / 200kg.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

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

Typical Guzzi, long and low very stable. Great brakes and suspension with a wonderfully raucous exhaust tone.

Moto Guzzi SP3 Cafe Racer

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

Getting it all to work in harmony!

• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

Steve at Phoenix Metal Finishers, Lyle at Wicked Coatings for the flawless paintwork, Glenn at Moger Custom Seats, Bob Presslie for the custom wiring.

Follow the Builder

Web: siderockcycles.com
Instagram: @siderockcycles1
Facebook: Side Rock Cycles

Photography Credit

Roberto Garagarza: @roga______
Flat-Out Creative: @flatoutcreative

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