Jez from La Busca Motorcycles does like a Guzzi, which is handy as we like featuring them.
That v-twin motor is so good looking it can withstand even the most hamfisted custom job. Jez doesn’t do anything by halves so his bikes don’t rely on mechanical architecture to make a statement, or more importantly please the customer.
This latest build is based on one of the ugliest faux cruisers of all time, the 750 Nevada. Jez has welded some words together so I’ll let him take over and tell us about Bottle o’ Smoke.
“The idea for this build started when I was working on another, smaller Guzzi V50 entitled ‘El Chapo’… the bike in question was a long haul project to see just how fast and nimble I could make a Guzzi small block. The build ended up being an absolute rocket and it spawned the idea of doing something similar on a carbed 750 block.”
“I’d seen some of the Nevada scrambler builds people had done and decided to build a more road orientated machine using a low mileage 2002 Nevada I’d picked up as the donor bike. The goal set was to see if I could get close to the same sort of performance I attained with the V50 and improve the bike in all areas.”
“One of the main gripes with the carb model Nevada is the Digiplex ignition, a temperamental beast that requires resetting when the gremlins appear, which is often. With this in mind I decided to fit a Sachse electronic ignition, a top quality beam breaker unit with 7 different maps available, all built into the unit.”
“To compliment the ignition and get the bike kicking out some decent HP, the carbs have been jetted-up using data gathered from previous Guzzi builds and tuned to the hand built, straight through exhausts. A Motogadget M-unit controls the rest of the bike’s system and Motogadget speedo, indicators and controls maintain the minimal look.”
“One of the main design considerations was the stance of the bike and also within that, the riding position. I wanted to lose the raked-out look of the original Nevada design and add some leg room to the ergonomics.
This meant going for a deep seat and working with the FAC air-assisted damper forks by dropping them through the yokes and fitting the clip-ons above. Rather than grind back the redundant top yoke clamps, I decided to make them into the start and stop control housing, there’s something very Soviet Submarine about the effect this produced, and I kinda like it!”
“The standard frame finishes with individual kick-ups so I fabricated loop that would sit as a stand-alone piece, bringing the seat and rear fender into play at different points, extending the look of the rear end up and back to give a flatter, sleeker stance.”
“Rather than hide the rear brake master cylinder, I mounted it outside the side panels to show it off and have it accessible, this also enabled the panels to cut as narrower look as possible, giving more bulk to the V-twin block. I was keen to have the frame really stand out. So after blasting, a metallic Gun metal powder coat was used to contrast against a textured rear fender and panels. The tank is finished in a metallic Olive, chosen to sit well with the varying neutral shades.”
“Road testing has produced some interesting results; the ignition mapping built into the Sachse unit moves the power to different ranges depending on what map’s selected and it’s very accurate. The low end power and torque the engine now produces is excellent while the handling is way beyond the original set up and the ride is very solid at speed.”
“It’s no secret I have a soft spot for Guzzi builds, especially the small blocks and this project has proved to be as enjoyable as all the others, as a standard bike the Nevada’s tend to be the ugly duckling of the Guzzi range and I hope people like what I’ve brought to the table on this project as much as I do.”
It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for Guzzis too and I’d own this Nevada in a heartbeat but moreover this build demonstrates Jez’s ability to build a decent custom without getting carried away or drawn into the overly creative willy waving that we’re seeing more of these days.
Bottle o’ Smoke looks like a new bike straight out the back door of the Mandello del Lario factory…if Moto Guzzi employees were allowed to build what they wanted.
This article first appeared on The Bike Shed; It’s republished here with permission.