The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Rider: Matt Haffenden/Caledon, Ontario, Canada
Occupation: Aircraft mechanic
Rides: 1974 Suzuki TC185, 1975 Moto Guzzi 850T, 2004 Suzuki Intruder VL1500LC and his very first minibike, a 1971 Arctic Cat Whisker 50cc
Matt’s story: “This past summer, I finished a two-year project of my 1975 Moto Guzzi 850T. I bought the bike from a buddy of mine. We both ride in the Southern Cruisers Chapter 209 in Orangeville, Ontario, Canada.
“The Guzzi was a basket case. He had bought it from a friend, who bought it from some other guy, who we believe got it at an auction. My friend had started the project with the intent of turning it into a café racer. It sat for a bunch of years disassembled. The engine was on a homemade dolly. The frame was bare and all the other bits were in buckets.
“I mentioned to him that I was looking for a project that was something not everybody else had. He told me what he had and I picked it up cheap. The Moto Guzzi 850T had not been road-worthy for about 10 years. Luckily, my buddy kept the engine well-oiled while he had it apart.
“Two years later, it’s basically done. The rear passenger pegs are missing in this photo, but they’re on now. It was gray, but I changed it to yellow. As with most old projects like this, some parts cannot be bought easily, so they need to be made. With the help of the people at Metro North Machine & Design Inc. in Brampton, Ontario, I had all the metal bits made that I needed to get the project done. Other key items I needed were purchased from the nice guys at MG Cycle. I managed to get out on it about eight times before the snow fell here. I worked out a few minor bugs and it runs great. Once you ride an older motorcycle, you can really appreciate what they are all about. It’s a high revver. It purrs at any rpm, and likes to shift gears at about 4,000rpm. Now I’m looking forward to getting back on it in the spring.”
That’s a nice Moto Guzzi 850T, Matt. We’re jealous! — Ed.