Friday, November 30, 2018

Bikes I have owned part IV. Moto Guzzi Spada III

The fourth in an occasional series of memory lane ramblings...

This machine came into my possession, as indeed have several others, whilst sitting in the living room one evening with beer in one hand and laptop mouse in the other. It seemed really cheap, a sly bid which would surely be bettered, but no, whoops, it was now mine.

I drove from Dorset up to Stafford to get it. A considerably longer drive than I had anticipated. When I got there the bike was slightly sorry, it was being sold on behalf of the owner by a friend (alarm bells should have been clanging) and the battery was flat. Eventually aforementioned vendor got it running and then proceeded to thrape the nuts off it from cold. At that point I should have got back in my van and driven home, one day of my life wasted but without the encumbrance of another project bike.

Moto Guzzi Spada III. A gentleman's tourer.

Once home I bought a new battery for the Guzzi. Then I rode it around the block. My 'block' is on a steep hill. At the bottom of the hill the rear tyre flattened rapidly. As the bike had not fitted into my van without some considerable struggle and removing the screen I decided to ride it the couple of hundred yards home. Mistake, the rear tyre was now properly buggered.

I discovered that removing the rear wheel on a Spada III involves taking both silencers and the rear brake caliper off. I was beginning to hate this bike....

The Spada's cockpit.

Once back together with new rear tyre I balanced the carbs and gave the machine a service. By now I was the father of twin girls. It had definitely been a stupid time to buy a new project. I gave the Guzzi a couple of spins. If I could forget the fact that at six foot two the canted back screen was way too close to my face and that my knees painfully rubbed against the fairing it was quite a nice bike. 

Givi panniers. A bit clumsier than BMW Krausers. 

The Spada III was created as a gentleman's grand tourer and it lived up to that promise fairly well. The power is roughly the same as a BMW R100RS and the bike felt ever so slightly sprightlier. The quality of finish however completely paled against a BMW. Brakes were linked and pretty good, handling not bad too. If you forgot the fact that this was a machine for which basic maintenance appeared to be quite awkward to get on with then this could be quite a pleasant machine. Oh, and you need to be under six foot in height for the bike to comfortably fit you, but not too short as the saddle is quite tall.

A bit similar in lines to a Hesketh Vampire.

I had bought the Spada as I had hankered after a Guzzi for a while and I was rather seduced by the looks of the Spada. I like classic sports tourers and I would love a Hesketh Vampire, the Spada looks similar, is similar on paper and is much much cheaper. 

A few months in to my ownership of the Spada the police came knocking on my door. Apparently the guy who I had bought the bike off did not in fact have the permission of the owner to sell and it was involved in a dispute. Hmmm... definitely should have walked away from this one. This blew over and a week or so later I found out that it was all resolved. At this point I decided that parting ways with the spiteful Spada was the most sensible thing to do. Rather sick of it I contacted a breaker but the price really did involve taking a heavy hit. So it went back up on eBay....

Finish was a bit iffy. Lots of bubbling in the paint.

The Guzzi found a willing buyer despite an honest appraisal of its various vices. At least it was now on the road and had received some love and attention. The price nearly covered my expenditure, certainly not though my time and anguish but I was happy to see it go. The new owner came down from Wales to pick it up and, despite my advice to the contrary, planned to ride it home. It wasn't that I had no faith in the bike at all, rather that it had not covered more than thirty miles in the last couple of years and was an unknown quantity. However ride it back he did, I made sure that he contacted me when he got home. Great bike he said, love it, never missed a beat...

For such a mechanically simple motorcycle home mechanics
on this beast were a royal pain in the butt...

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