These days you can buy a bike from Italy and have an old Guzzi delivered direct to your door. Talbot Coleman gave it a whirl
Enjoy more RealClassic reading in the monthly magazine.
Click here to subscribe & save.
In 1999 Talbot Coleman took the plunge after 50 years of owning and riding British bikes and bought an Italian import V1000 Convert, built in 1975. Not only was Talbot taking a gamble with an import, but he also opted for one of the most unusual Guzzis going with its automatic gearbox. Talbot’s bike needed re-commissioning (headlamp, air filters, battery, fork dampers, seals, etc) and that work cost about £250 in total. So was it worth it?
‘The Convert is a really nice machine’ says Talbot; ‘and incredible value for the money. Automatics have never really caught on but look at the modern range of scooters; most of them are automatic and they’re extremely popular. OK, the Guzzi does have two ratios but in real life you choose the high ratio and ride it all day as a true automatic. You only need the lower ratio for serious hill climbing. At traffic lights you apply the foot brake, wind on the revs and when the lights change you simply release the foot brake. The acceleration is astonishing.’
So has Talbot encountered any problems in the 4000 miles he’s covered in the past two years? You might expect some gremlins: after all, one of the problems of buying a recent import is that you’re unlikely to know any of its history and it may well have been standing for some time before being shipped over here. ‘On the contrary,’ reports Talbot; ‘it starts, runs and stop faultlessly. The only failure to date has been one indicator bulb! It’s very easy to control, there’s no gear changing so you just open the throttle to Go and use the linked brakes to Stop.’ So that’s one satisfied customer.
PEOPLE TO SPEAK TO