I got this as a stock bike around ten years ago as my daily “commute to London bike”. The Guzzi is a great mile muncher, sitting happily at 80mph no fuss all day every day, which was ideal for the 100 mile each-way trip.
Then fatefully one night overtaking a truck on a downhill section I threw it into the front of a BMW coming the other way, ripping the front end clean off the car and the Guzzi. The handlebars ended up in a tree, one forkleg either side of the road and me escaping with only a busted finger. So in the best ‘chop what you got’ tradition, decided this was its time.
I took the only salvageable parts – back wheel, transmission and engine, to Butler at HARDUPCHOPPERS in Sussex, England. Butler specializes in metric custom frames and made this bespoke for me (he also did a Suzuki GS850 frame for me but that’s a different story). I grafted on a set of Husqvarna USD forks in a set of slab yokes made by a “friend of a friend” and then dragged the rolling frame back to my den in Devon.
After a looong conversation with Maz and the girlz at Mazchopz in Weston super mare in Somerset, I changed the front wheel to a 21 inch spoked wheel laced by Talon engineering in Somerset to the Husqy hub and brake rotor. The Electronics and fuel injectors all got fried or smashed in the crash, so I decided to go
the carb route using Dell’Orto’s pf164’s and a Ducati ignition pack. Maz kindly made sure all this worked as it should and also off-set the engine and transmission slightly to clear the rear tyre I had chosen. While she was at it, she built the side stand, knuckle- duster sissy bar and one-off handlebars. The old Sporty’ tank was one I had hanging around (as you do) and my mate Chopper and I put that and the back mudguard (fender) in place before it all went off to powder coating c/o Micky Morgan in Devon.
The seat was made by Chopper and features the ‘California Love’ logo and Bear, called bear because my ‘er indoors’ – the ever suffering Laraine, who had the patience of a saint as I dragged this through three counties, numerous barns & workshops, to sit with my mates as we put this together, she reckons it sounds like a grumbling bear… then it went back to Maz who with her ace sparky Gwynnie put the electrics together & finally made it all go bang!
Since then Malcy’ built the aluminium oil tank (in the original the oil breathes into the frame and at rest drips back). He also built the beautiful stainless straight through pipes.
From stock bike, through near total disaster to full custom ride – I am blessed with great friends eh?
- FABRICATION: MOTO GUZZI
- YEAR AND MAKE: 2003
- MODEL: CALIFORNIA EV
- ASSEMBLY BY: NEIL, MAZCHOPZ, CHOPPER
- TIME: 2/3 YEARS
- CHROMING: V LITTLE
- MODIFICATIONS: SHORTENED PROP SHAFT
- YEAR: 2003
- SHIFTING: FOOT
- PAINTER: RATTLE CAN BLACK
- YEAR: 2003 (COUGH)
- BUILDER: HARDUPCHOPPERS – ONE OFF BY GRAHAM BUTLER
- TYPE: HARDTAIL
- OTHER: BESPOKE
- BARS: MAZCHOPZ
- FENDERS: FRONT NONE REAR: CHOPPER
- HEADLIGHT: CHINESE
- TAILLIGHT: MALTESE CROSS
- SPEEDO: CHINESE
- ELECTRICS: GWYNNIE VIA MAZCHOPZ
- GAS TANK: O/S MUSTANG
- OIL TANK: ALUMINUM BY MALC BRAYGWYNNIE VIA MAZCHOPZ
- OIL SYSTEM: MODIFIED MOTO GUZZI
- SEAT: BY CHOPPER
- TYPE: HUSQVARNA MOTOCROSS
- BUILDER: NEIL
- SIZE: 21”
- HUB: HUSQVARNA
- RIM: MOTOCROSS GOLD
- SIZE: 16”
- HUB: MOTO GUZZI
- RIM: REAR: MOTO GUZZI
- TIRES: AVONS
- BRAKES: BREMBO
By Neil ‘Ben’ Benbow