A desert-sled built to take on the sahara

4y ago

The Moto Guzzi V65 TT was released in 1984 as a competitor of sorts for the all-conquering BMW R80 G/S, the engineering team at Moto Guzzi were operating under the tight fist of Alejandro de Tomaso at the time – so the development used as many parts from other Guzzi production bikes as possible.

The V65 2-valve engine was used largely for its reliability and relatively low-weight, it was fed by a pair of 30mm Dell’Orto PHB carburettors, the swing arm was taken from the V65 Custom (as it was 2 inches longer) and it was bolted to a strengthened V65 frame that had a detachable cradle to make engine removal a quick and painless process – an important feature for a bike intended as a desert endurance racer.

A larger 21 inch spoked wheel was fitted out front, bolted to Marzocchi 42mm enduro-spec forks, and twin Marzocchi shocks were used in the rear. Knobbly tires were used front and back, and a thick seat was used to keep riders comfortable after long days in the saddle.

With a dry weight of 165 kilograms (363 lbs) the Moto Guzzi V65 TT was a solid 21 kilograms (46 lbs) lighter than its main rival – the BMW R80 G/S. The features of the V65 TT made it a reasonably popular bike in the burgeoning duel sport scene of the 1980s, though it never enjoyed the Paris-Dakar successes of its BMW rival, it is still a well-regarded bike for its torquey V-twin and low kerb weight.

The rebuilt V65 TT you see here is the work of Barcelona-based custom garage Fuel Motorcycles, it was built from the ground up to take part in the gruelling 2,500 kilometre Scram Africa event a little earlier this year, and the dust it’s wearing was brought home from the North African desert.

The team at Fuel decided to replace the forks with those from a Honda Dominator, to improve suspension and braking. A set of new Betor MX shocks were used on the rear to improve suspension and slightly increase ground clearance – every millimetre of which would be vital once out on the Sahara.

It was decided that a set of new Heidenau K60 tires would offer the best on and off-road performance for the trip, and a double front headlight was repurposed from a 1988 Suzuki GSXR 750 with a frame built in house. The original fuel tank was swapped out for a unit from a 1970 Triumph T120, and a new 2-into-2 custom exhaust was fabricated with high-exit mufflers.

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