'73 Restore + Honda Hot Seat Questions | Ask the Pro

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By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Ed Milich

Got a question for answers? Send it to mcmail@sorc.com

The Discovering Of Eldorado
I recently bought a 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado that had been in storage for over 20 years. I was able to clean the carbs and replace a couple of gaskets to get the thing up and running. Should I restore this bike myself, or would that be too hard for a weekend mechanic with little experience? Also, should I try to keep it original or should I install electronic ignition and replace the ball bearings with modern equipment? Is the bike worth anything once restored? I tried to find a manual but only found one for '72 on down and for '74 on up; nothing for a '73 Eldorado. Which manual would help a regular guy who does not want to pour a lot of money into a bike with no sentimental value?
Signed
Wife Will Divorce If It Costs Too Much

"It sounds like you stumbled across your Guzzi by accident; perhaps one of the happiest of your motorcycling days. The 1973 Eldorado is a classic mix of a Panhead Harley, '57 Chevy and air-cooled VW. It makes all the right noises, has the timeless, classic lines of your comely Aunt Betty in her wedding photos, and you can tune it up in less time than it takes to find your flippin' Whitworth tools.

"'Plug and play' is a lot to ask from any 34-year-old motorcycle that's been parked for 20 years. Even so, I have seen Guzzis pulled out of despicably dirty places fire up after a five-minute carb cleaning, new battery and fresh gas.

"The best part is that collectors haven't inflated the market for these bikes. I'd draw the line after a few tasteful modifications-MAC slashback mufflers or a police-style solo seat-but you're free to customize without guilt. The basic Eldo package is reliable to begin with; no need to chase modern contrivances such as electronic ignition. Just enjoy what you have: a classic Italian cruiser.

"There are many excellent vintage Moto Guzzi parts sources, particularly Moto Guzzi Classics (www.motoguzziclassics.com), MG Cycle (www.mgcycle.com), Moto International (www.motointernational.com) and Cycle Garden www.cyclegarden.com. The Guzzi folks who run them have a wealth of knowledge to share with their customers.

"If they printed a '73 Moto Guzzi Eldorado manual, it would say, 'See 1972 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Manual.' Basically, Guzzi has made the same bike for the past 35 years. The design has evolved, but many parts from the earliest '67 Guzzi V700 still fit the latest bikes. Any '70s Guzzi shop manual is a good reference for fluid capacities and tune-up specs. Then find some good Guzzi friends and ask a lot of questions.

"The Eldorado is like life: You get out what you put in. For a little time, money and effort, you get a machine whose classic looks and reliable performance stir the soul."

Since most Moto Guzzi questions require professional help of some kind, we put yours to Ed Milich-mechanical engineer, roadracer, musician, intransigent Guzzi weirdo and the brains behind www.guzzitech.com.

On the Hot Seat

I ride a 2003 Honda CBR600RR with a Hotbodies slip-on and the pipe fries my leg. The muffler can cooked the USB dust cover in my PC III and keeps my backside a little too warm for comfort. I looked into solutions, and one that seemed too good to be true was exhaust tape. On the Web threads, some say it works and others say it damages your pipes, which is what my mechanic said: "It makes the pipes and canister brittle." Inquiring minds want to know: What's the real deal, cheap fix or destined to destroy?
Sgt. Guy L. Baxter
Tal Afar, Iraq

According to former Superbike tuner and current Vance & Hines tech guru Jim Leonard, your wrench is right. The heat tape would probably make the can brittle, but it would help on a metal pipe, assuming you're burning your leg on the right side. Adding a sheet of insulating material under the seat might be a better compromise. "We raced at Gateway one year when it was unbelievably hot and humid," Leonard recalls, "and we had to wrap the YZF750 tailpipe because the riders' boots were melting! We put ice in our shoes just to stand on the pavement."

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