Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing: 1979-1982 Moto Guzzi Le Mans CX100

A profile of the Moto Guzzi Le Mans CX100 and its primary contenders.


| May/June 2015


Moto Guzzi Le Mans CX100
Claimed power: 70-80hp @ 7,250rpm (approx.)
Top speed:
125mph (est.)
Engine:
949cc air-cooled OHV V-twin
Weight:
530lb (wet)
MPG:
45mpg (avg.)
Price then/now:
$4,949 (1980)/$4,500-$6,500

The original Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans of 1976 was not much more (or less) than an endurance racer with turn signals. The 844cc engine featured filterless, bell-mouth 36mm Dell’Orto carburetors, a 10.2:1 compression ratio, and a sports exhaust for a claimed 81 horsepower. The Le Mans made little concession to creature comforts, but provided sparkling performance and handling for the sporting rider. It was a critical (and commercial) success in both Europe and North America.

The specification stayed largely the same until 1979, when the story got more complicated. That year, European markets got a MkII 850 Le Mans with similar specification but revised bodywork. The U.S. version, however, got the new 1000SP’s quieter, cleaner and somewhat detuned 949cc engine. Several sources have suggested this was a response to ever tightening noise and emission regulations, but Greg Field’s book Moto Guzzi Big Twins quotes Mike Berliner of U.S. importer Berliner Corporation saying it was simply a response to American dealers’ belief that bigger was better. Thus was born the U.S. market CX100, which was essentially a touring 1000SP Strada with MkII Le Mans bodywork.

The 949cc 90-degree air-cooled, overhead valve, wet sump, V-twin engine was fitted into the same Tonti dual cradle frame as before. Two Dell’Orto 30mm carbs (now with proper air filters) fed the iron-lined alloy cylinders running a 9.2:1 compression ratio, while a 280-watt alternator at the front of the engine ran the electrics. Power was transferred through the automotive-style twin-disc dry clutch to a 5-speed gearbox with shaft final drive, the final drive casing forming the right side swingarm tube. Three-position preload adjustable shock absorbers located the swingarm to the frame.

Both front and rear wheels were cast alloy, the front attached by Guzzi-designed, hydraulically-damped spring forks, and both wheels were 2.15-inch (WM3) section by 18-inch diameter. Tires were 110 section rear and 100 front.

The CX100 carried over Guzzi’s linked braking system: Pushing down the right-mounted foot pedal activated both the single Brembo rear disc caliper and one of the two front calipers at a ratio of 70 percent front, 30 percent rear; squeezing the hand lever then gripped the other front disc. Though many riders were suspicious, Rider concluded the setup worked well in their tests: “…the integrated system allows safe cornering on slick surfaces or for non-skid stopping beyond that of conventional brakes.” Stopping was “shorter and more stable,” they said.

TONYC
5/21/2015 7:59:33 PM

I'd take any of the three. Or one of each!






Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

Classic Motorcycle Touring and Events.


The latest classic motorcycle events and tours.

LEARN MORE



The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $4.95 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $29.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265