Craig Rodsmith has been building motorcycles for almost 40 years, but this 1969 Moto Guzzi Eldorado is his favorite. Rodsmith had always wanted to build a dustbin racer that mirrored the old Moto Guzzi V8 racebike. The metal work was a challenge for him, as the fairing was handcrafted out of four separate pieces. It's not perfect, but that's what Rodsmith likes about it.

“I like bikes like this, that aren’t perfect. It has a little bit of soul,” Rodsmith says. “This looks like it was made by a human being, rather than a machine.”

Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
Craig Rodsmith’s shop, Rodsmith Motorcycles, is based in Lake County, Illinois.Julia LaPalme

Rodsmith's goal for his custom Moto Guzzi was to be shown at the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Texas, but his plan was almost completely derailed by a workshop mishap.

“My shop’s very small, so right after I finished it, I actually knocked it over and bent all the fairings. This was the Monday before the Handbuilt show, so I worked until 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night, loaded it at midnight, and then we drove straight to the show.”

Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
“Margerie” began life as a 1969 Moto Guzzi Loop-Frame Eldorado.Julia LaPalme

Rodsmith’s custom Moto Guzzi is named “Margerie,” and there’s a very important and personal reason for that.

“One of my best friends, Dave, started to push me to make videos during the build process because I’m a bit of a character, but I’ve never put myself out there in front of the public like that,” he says. “Originally I built this bike for the Mama Tried show, but unfortunately a couple of days before that show, Dave’s mother Margerie passed away. We were trying to come up with a name for this bike at the time, and we just went, ‘That’s what it’s going to be, Margerie.’”

Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
Can you tell this project was inspired by the famed Moto Guzzi V8 racebike? Rodsmith cut the frame down 3.5 inches and brought the seating position farther back.Julia LaPalme
Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
Here, “Margerie” sits outside the entrance to the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Austin, Texas. It’s crazy to think that just days prior to this, Rodsmith accidentally knocked the bike over, damaging the handmade aluminum fairing.Julia LaPalme
Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
From the front, this custom Moto Guzzi is just as foreboding as it is elegant.Julia LaPalme
Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
The Guzzi’s 950cc engine features lightened internals (the flywheel is only 6.75 pounds), and it sucks in air through two 36mm Dell’Orto carburetors.Julia LaPalme
Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
The tank, seat, fairing, and tail were all hand-formed with hammers and an English wheel in Rodsmith’s shop.Julia LaPalme
Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
Brass accents around the oil pressure gauge, speedometer, and boost gauge add a hint of color.Julia LaPalme
Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
The exhaust and rearset controls are made from stainless steel.Julia LaPalme
Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
Many of the small nuts, bolts, and other accessories have been nickel-plated.Julia LaPalme
Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
If this bike wasn’t crazy enough, Rodsmith added a small 1.5 turbocharger to the mix. The bike runs 5 pounds of boost, and he designed all the plumbing for the turbocharger. The intake is made from aluminum.Julia LaPalme
Moto Guzzi Dustbin Racer
Rodsmith didn’t use any colored paint; instead, he sandblasted the frame components and clear-coated over them to keep rust away. It gives this custom bike a very industrial appearance.Julia LaPalme