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How hard can you ride a V50?

Discussion in 'Small Block' started by MartinM, May 20, 2020.

  1. MartinM

    MartinM Just got it firing!

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    I just inherited my father’s pride and joy, a self-restored, full refurb (was sat for 30 years) ‘79 V50 Mk2 with 15000 on the clock. I’ve been away from biking for 10 years, but when he got too ill to ride it and asked me if I wanted it, he seemed chuffed when I went for it (and I’m now chuffed to be riding it!) He was still riding it aged 80 – good man!

    I took it for its first run out yesterday in the sunshine, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Lovely character, sound and handling – and great to be back on a bike! However, I’m new to both Italian and ‘historic’ bikes, having had all Jap previously. I’m no top-end, arse in the air speed freak (never owned a sports bike). My last (and favourite) bike was a Honda Transalp, a soft tuned sit up and beg 600 V twin with a relaxed ‘roll on, roll off’ power delivery. The power was ample for me and I loved the V twin power delivery; I like that the Guzzi feels similar(ish) – no offence!

    As I said, I’m not a ‘fast as you can’ bloke; however I do like hustling through twisties, leaving the brakes alone, picking the right gear and rolling up and down the revs through the bends. This is when I ride/rev a bike the hardest. My concern is this: I found the Transalp suited my riding style well. It was great for ‘pick a good gear and roll on/off’ small road twisty riding, and was fine to be revved pretty hard (for me) up and down the range in and out of corners. But then the Transalp/Revere engine is known for being pretty much indestructible… I couldn’t resist trying similar on the Guzzi yesterday on a few of the twisties we have around here, and the bike felt great! Nimble, flickable and nicely enough power to have fun with, if the revs are kept up… So here’s my query: Can a 40 year old V50 (albeit with only 15000 miles up) cope OK with being ridden quite (fun!) hard between 4 and 5000 revs for short periods? I didn’t fancy taking the revs higher, and it had got ‘fun’ enough for me round the bends at those revs anyway. I found that 60-ish mph (also around 5000 rpm in top, I noticed) was pleasantly brisk enough for commuting between the twisties too, so it’s likely I’ll not take her much faster, or the revs higher, than 5000.

    What’s your thoughts please? Will she suffer at my hands, or am I being overly cautious? Obviously I’m hoping the consensus will be for me to stop being a light-weight, that the bike will be fine. But I’d prefer not to do damage through ignorance…

    One other question. I noticed that when in neutral, tick over is fine. Pull the clutch in and the revs drop to the point of stalling. Caught me out a couple of times at junctions yesterday (in gear, clutch in), until I cottoned on what was happening and kept a few extra revs on the throttle to compensate.

    Thanks, Martin
     
  2. Raven

    Raven Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Famiglia

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    I think you're being overly cautious. '79 is not an antique. Guzzi's like revs up to a point. 4-5,000 rpm seems to be a sweet spot, at least in my experience. I used to shift up and keep the revs lower until I realized how responsive the engine is in that happy range. I now only use top gear for speeds in excess of 120 kph.
     
  3. MartinM

    MartinM Just got it firing!

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    Great, thanks Raven. Looks like I already found the sweet spot!
     
  4. GuzziMoto

    GuzziMoto GT Reference GT Contributor

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    My experience with Guzzi's is they are over-built and can do that sort of thing all day long, day after day.
     
  5. Dinsdale Piranha

    Dinsdale Piranha Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Contributor

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    Whilst mine is a much newer model it is still, basically at least, a small block Gutz - V7iii. Most of my life I'm sedate to the point of boring, but I do get off my leash when I get near twisties. The problem I have then, is bangin' my head constantly on the rev limiter. The red line is 6,500 and the rev limiter is 7,200. When I really find some nice roads and decide to get right amongst it I ride much more by feel, so staring at the tacho doesn't happen. My engine gives no indication of running out of breath - just keeps on pullin' until the ugly rev limit stutter. I think, as GuzziMoto said above, the engines are seriously over-engineered. I have 36,000Km on mine and it doesn't miss a beat. Burns no oil (doesn't even pump any into the airbox) and just loves to spin.

    Just get on it and give it heaps!
     
  6. MartinM

    MartinM Just got it firing!

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    Thanks all, a very positive consensus. Revs and fun it is then!
     
  7. jr1967

    jr1967 Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    The V50`s were called the NATO model in the Dutch Army, outfitted with a kick starter and lower geared transmission.
    I can guarantee you that those bikes were frequently run at red line rpm`s while being used by 18 year old soldiers since they topped out at 65mph or so on the highway with that gearing. And the bikes lasted.
    I`ve seen them on the military training grounds being abused hard on tanks trails and in the dunes. They actually jumped them like moto cross bikes.....
    So don`t worry about rpm`s.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  8. MartinM

    MartinM Just got it firing!

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    Wow, thanks for the history lesson jr1967, that's interesting to know! And another plus on the revs front. Cheers
     
  9. jr1967

    jr1967 Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    From a Dutch Facebook page
    2 (2).jpg 2 (1).jpg
     
  10. Adamigo

    Adamigo Just got it firing!

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    Isle of Mull to Manchester in one shot, with refuelling stops, when bike had 47kmiles on the clock. 5000 rpm all the way, 300 miles distance. Can she? Certainly she can!
     
  11. MartinM

    MartinM Just got it firing!

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    Thanks Adamigo, that was some journey. You must have been set in a 'V50' shape when you arrived!
     

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