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Breva 750 Retromod Racer

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This thread is a compilation of a few posts I've done on other threads and is the whole story of what I've done to create a Breva 750 Retromod Cafe Racer.

................So, I've moved back to Oz. God's own Country and being financially challenged, after a few months bikeless, I just had to buy a bike, and it had to be a Guzzi. (I'll not be going back to Japs or anything else, though  I would be tempted by a vintage Ducati, 900 SS or similar,) So with precious few bucks in my hand, I bought the cheapest Guzzi I could get my hands on. Guess what it is?

yup! A 48 horsepower 750 Breva.

I wasn't expecting much, considering my last bikes were a California Jackal and a Bellagio with 75 horses each, but I was pleasantly surprised with the torque, handling and general rideability of the bike. THe look is growing on me too, though I am not really into the "modern, UJM ish styling,"  I am more an old school, classic 70's style fan. (My ideal bike, much lusted after is a Le Mans Mk 1>) but the baby Breva really is a handsome machine.

Being me, I had to start modifying it, so first thing I did was put on some bar end mirrors and Ace Clubman handlebars.

I reckon it looks 99% better and for me, makes it seem more sporty and (it may be an illusion, but.........) faster, cos it now has a racier stance.

Took it to the "Ruptured Budgie Rally" put on by the Moto Guzzi Club Of Queensland and the bike handled beautifully and got a lot of appreciation from guys on bigger and better Guzzis, most of them saying "The 750 Breva is a good bike."  I felt they were patronising me. It is a good bike! but it really is (for me just a tide me over bike til I can get something bigger and better.)

quick image upload

Can't stop there though, so I thought I'd give it a more classic look and a few weeks and a few hundred bucks later a V7 Classic tank off Ebay arrived in the mail.

................... ................ and so it begins...........

I had grand visions of creating a Breva - Le Mans replica with a 750s Monoposto seat, but eventually found that the dimensions of the bike are just too short to house the le Man's Monoposto seat and not look ridiculous, so I figured..........

just fit the V7 tank and modify the original seat to suit and have a modernish, classic looking bike.....

I got a second set of chrome Ace bars,,,,,,,,,,,,, a bit wider so they wouldn't hit the tank at full lock, and are SHINIER!

It was a bit of mucking around getting the tank to fit. I had to cut down the front posts with the rubber mounts to get the tank on and relocate the coils, but it all worked out fine. The seat needs to go to an upholsterer to get it looking tidy and I have to change the sidecovers, but it was coming along nicely and the I got hit hit by a bus!

A bit of damage done. The most frustrating thing is the Bus company weren't interested in paying for their dickhead driver's mistake, pulling out into my lane and turning while I was next to him. I hit his front wheel when he turned and hit the road, was carted off to hospital, but luckily nothing broken except for bike parts: handlebars, mirrors, exhaust etc, etc.....

Check out how much the bars were bent. 10cm on one side and 14 cm on the other.....

Anyway, I took the bastards to court, but the legal process is long and complicated and two adjournments and nearly a year later it still hasn't been resolved. f***ing pissed off! Nearly a year chasing the bastards to get justice and I haven't been able to continue the transformation. The bike remains a work in progress halted by a bus.

Fortunately, finances have improved a bit and I got myself a maniac bike which I'm tinkering with. Say hello to my little friend a 1200 rollerised Griso.

f***ing awesome bike! Woo hoo! I love it.
So far stripped and polished the handlebars, exhaust pipes and radiator covers, put a Dart flyscreen on and am planning on repainting it red, so it goes faster.
Anyway...... I go back to court for the third and final time and hopefully get paid out by the bus company, so I'll have a few bucks to throw at the Breva. Watch this space.


And now the video

and a question from Stephan on the original thread, Barn Finds.
Quote from: stefanb1994 on September 11, 2020, 03:49:12 PM
Hi @Calijackalbob,

How is your Breva to caferacer conversion project going?

I was thinking about doing the same thing to my Breva. However I also was thinking about lowering the front of the bike by  lowering/piercing the front fork a few centimeters (+- 3cm) through the triple clamp. Do you think this is a good idea, and what will the results on the bikes or the frames geometrics be? How does the bike handly by doing this? I am hoping this will make the bike look more "tough".

I also was thinking about installing clip ons on it (the V7 III racer type). Do you guys have any experience with this?

I found this heavily customized Breva on the internet and really like its clean looks.

Let me know what you think.

Hi Stephan.
THe Bus company's insurance co was ordered to pay up a decent sum, so the bike has had a few presents and is coming along nicely. I know I am overcapitalising on the bike, but don't care. The process of customising is reward in itself. I don't have any plans to sell the bike, so whatever I put into it doesn't matter. If I did sell it, I wouldn't expect to recoup all the dollars flung at it.

(There's a very nicely done Nevada in Australia for sale at the moment that has had a V7 makeover, chrome tank and all. The only thing that looks different is the rocker covers. Anyway, the guy must have spent a lot on it and foolishly thinks he can get more money for it than an actual V7 racer that is a decade or so younger! Dreamer.)

Anyway, here's what she looks like at the moment.

Le Man's sidecovers, Cut down seat and ducktail, Ace bars, a Dart style flyscreen, $100 mufflers and new suspenders. Just waiting on my Griso to get painted, then the Breva will get a fresh coat of paint and seat professionally reupholstered and it will be finished.

Now to your questions..... dropping the forks in the tripleclamps. Personally I wouldn't recommend it. It will alter the steering geometry, rake and trail and thus the handling characteristics and could make it really bad. (Unless you get a pro suspension dude to set you up front and rear.)

When I put the new shocks on, they were 5cm shorter than the originals, and this made the front sit a little higher than the back. It felt great, looked cool and seemed to handle ok til I got into a high speed sweeping turn and it all went to shit. My arse end was wobbling all over the place like a plate of jelly at 100kmh. Not nice.
If you look at this pic, you will see my response to that. I got a local engineer to machine up extensions to give me back those lost 5cm (you can see them at the bottom of the shock.)... and viola, the sweet predictable Breva handling has returned.

Clip on's are cool, I put some on my Bellagio and they worked and looked great. I put Ace Clubman bars on the Breva, and like the more aggressive riding posture. Ace bars have the same sort of look and stance as clip ons, but the range of height adjustment is more limited,.... the higher you go, the closer they are to the tank, the lower you go, the further forward, which stretches you out..... but I found a sweet spot. The thing is with clip ons or ace bars, the long distance comfort level suffers and you might end up with very sore wrists. The positive side is, you can get great CNC aluminium clip ons for about $50 on fleabay, or splash out on some Tomasellis for $300.

I just had a close look at my breva and was reminded why I opted for Ace bars instead of clip ons for the Breva. Clip ons attach to the forks. If you put them on, the clamps on the forks will be perilously close
to the tank and will also necessitate buying or making different headlight and instrument brackets as there is no way the clamps will have room otherwise, AND clip ons will be lower and further forward, making wrist pain much more likely. I chose to forego all this hassle and use Ace bars. Another plus with Ace bars is that if a bus hits you and bends the bars 7cm on one side and 12cm on the other, they still won't hit the tank. Check it out. Exactly the same bars, new ones on top showing how much the first set was bent in the accident.

best image hosting

I got mine here....

If you go for Ace bars, get the longest ones you can. These are 71cm end to end, which leaves (just) enough room for the clutch cable to be routed comfortably. The first set I got was a bit shorter and the cable was hard up on the instruments and the brake hose rubbed on the dial. Looked the business, but didn't work the best.

Anyway, I will be posting a very detailed write up on the transformation sometime after I'm done,
(I'm DONE, almost,.... so this is the detailed story......)
.... so keep an eye out for it. In the meantime good luck with your project.
Now, back to the garage to pull my Griso apart, so I can get it painted.


But, let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. There's more to the story......

More on fitting the tank,.........
I used the plastic V7 tank, because it has the fuel pump  at the back (the steel ones have it mounted on the side, up front.)and I just transplanted the Breva pump.
The posts that hold the forward tank rubbers had to be shortened by about an inch each side because the V7 tank is narrower.

The coils had to be relocated under the spine of the frame, cos the Breva tank is narrower in that section... This is a before pic. I'm pointing at the bit that hits the tank.....

The triple clamp's handlebar riser bolt housing had to be ground down so it doesn't hit the tank....

In these pics you can see the rubber and the nut holding the risers. Normally it is hidden in the tube......

The front of the seat had to be cut down and re-shaped to fit the tank. (Still a work in progress, I'll consult the upholsterer to make sure I've put enough fibreglass on the seat pan for him to have enough to work with...)

Here I'm drilling holes into the cut down section of the seat, so that the fibreglass has something to hold on to....

in this pic, I'm filing down the edges of the seat to round them down so that it doesn't cut into the new upholstery when it is done.

and the bottom of the seat was cut in line with the frame to accomodate the Le Mans sidecovers....
I also cut down the footrest hanger plates and polished them up to make room for the sidecovers. This is what it looked like on sunday. Still riding it during all these mods..

Here's a quick look at the bike and a listen to my $95 pipes.

and the Breva 750 Retromod Cafe Racer Transformation story so far on video.


Suspension and exhaust modifications.
Part 3 of the Moto Guzzi Breva 750 Retromod Cafe Racer Transformation. In this part, you see some suspension and exhaust modifications and how they were done to achieve a look that could be mistaken for an original Moto Guzzi factory design. Watch it through to hear the awesome sound of the (merely $200) exhausts at the end.

and fast forwarding a bit..............
Moto Guzzi Breva V7 Le Mans Tribute walkaround and startup. Awesome exhaust sound.

Comments on the youtube video.......
Matt cc
2 months ago
This must be the best (cheapest 👍) way to get a good looking Guzzi? Love your exhaust note!

2 months ago
Thanks Matt. I'm sure it's not the cheapest way. Nevadas are probably cheaper and easier to convert (Check out Racer Tv's video here - ) and they have wire wheels, which is a great look, but there are a million Nevada cafe racers and customs. I wanted something different. At the end of the day, I have probably spent as much on the Breva as it would have cost to buy a nice used V7, (albeit not $pending it all in one go.... just a hundred here, a few hundred there, then the big bucks spent on the paint job when the rest of the bike was (almost) complete..)
But the total cost is irrelevant to me. I don't care that I have overcapitalised on the bike, partly because $3750 was donated by an insurance company after one of it's idiot bus drivers knocked me off the bike!
The point of the exercise is the process of making the bike the way I want it to be.  My Breva stands apart from the V7s because of it's alloy wheels, modern dashboard, Ace handlebars, sporty seat and grab rails.
It's different and different is good, I reckon.

Have a good one Matt.

Matt cc
2 months ago
 @CaliJackalBob  Thanks very much for this good info and link. I'm just finishing an XBR500 project which now sports a less bulky CB200 tank, etc. I'd love to own a Guzzi next and am torn between a Griso 2v or a G5 for even more character (only because a T3 Cali is out of my reach) However, the fettling voice in my head is never silent for long, so a Guzzi project like one of yours is very tempting. Cheers, Matt.

2 months ago
 @Matt cc  If you are talking about the V1000 G5, I'd go for that. I have a Griso 8V and it is a fantastic bike, but the scope for customisation is limited. (It's already absolutely gorgeous, and who are we mere mortals to mess with divine creations?) The 2V is pretty much the same, just a little less lunatic. The V1000 oozes Classic Guzzi style, but if I could get my hands on one, I wouldn't mess with it. (Unless it was a shabby, crashed or already hacked bike...) There are too many butchered Cafe racers out there (That all look the same) and precious few original classic Guzzis. Good luck with the XBR. Upload some videos, I'd love to see it.

Gray Kay (This was the previous owner.....)
2 months ago
Thats a great job CaliJackBob, you have done me proud.
Love it. Cheers G.
2 months ago
Thanks Gray. It's getting the love it deserves. Looks good now, but sometimes when I look at pictures of the way it used to be, I feel I shouldn't have messed with it. (Felt the same about my other Guzzis and )

Gray Kay
2 months ago
 @CaliJackalBob  You have done well, lines are proportional and look like a factory job.
Hope she runs good too...
Cheers Gray.

2 months ago
Very nice job. nice motorbike. I have a Breva 750 cc, and I would like to transform it and install a Guzzi V9 Roamer tank if possible.

2 months ago
Wow! A Roamer tank. That's something I can't envision on a Breva, but I'm sure you can do it. I have seen Roamers with V7 tanks, so they must have similar mounting points, though it was a bit of work getting the V7 tank to fit my Breva. I imagine you might encounter similar challenges. See my video here on how I managed it.
Good luck with your vision.

2 months ago
.Hi CalijacklBob. Thank you for your answer. I have already seen your video and I saw how hard you had to work to achieve the result you expected. I will be inspired by your experience to try to get the same result as yours. looking forward to reading you.

It is really humbling to have people being inspired by what I have done to my bikes and comment, ask advice. I don't see myself as a "Bike Builder".... I really only do cosmetic changes. That's why my videos state at the end,
"Moto by Guzzi.
Customisation by Calijackalbob"
I didn't build the bikes, just made them more beautiful TO ME. If you don't like them, do better, then enrich the biker world by showing what you've achieved. Don't hang shit on other people's projects. They don't make them to please you.
Now, show us what you've done to make your bike "Better - more beautiful" to you. I'm sure you will find lots of people who appreciate your work.

One of my previous projects.
Moto Guzzi Bellagio, Power Cruiser to Cafe Racer.

When I moved back to Oz and had to sell the Bellagio, I cried. Loved it. Maybe one day I'll get another one. Awesome mGuzzi.

El Vikingo Tropical:
Beautiful bike!


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