Classic Experience: Living With a Moto Guzzi 850 T3

Wonder what it's like to live with a 1975 Moto Guzzi 850 T3 on a day-to-day basis? We find out.

  • 1975 Moto Guzzi T3
    Photo By Richard Backus
  • 1975 Moto Guzzi T3
    Photo By Richard Backus
  • 1975 Moto Guzzi T3
    Photo By Richard Backus
  • The T3’s 844cc V-twin is almost unburstable.
    Photo By Richard Backus
  • Brakes are Brembo all-around.
    Photo By Richard Backus
  • Editor Backus enjoys a spin aboard the T3. Our test bike is lovely to listen to thanks to the BUB exhaust system.
    Photo By Richard Backus

1975 Moto Guzzi 850 T3
Claimed Power: 68hp @ 7,000rpm
Top speed: 120mph (est.)
Engine type: 844cc air-cooled OHV 90-degree V-twin, 83mm x 78mm bore and stroke, 9.5:1 compression ratio
Weight (dry): 535lb (243kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 6.3gal (24ltr)/36-42mpg (observed)
Price then/now: $2,800 (1975/approx.)/$4,500-$6,500

Sample parts prices from MG Cycle:
(Prices listed current as of publication. Subject to change)
Muffler set: $497.72 (Original style)
Air filter: $12.12
Points and condensers set: $40.45
Electronic ignition conversion: $202.46
Brake pads: $24.84 per caliper
Valve cover gasket set: $6.94
Top end gasket set: $23.75 per cylinder

Service recommendations:
Oil and filter change: Every 3,000 miles
Air filter: Clean/replace every 6,000 miles
Valve adjustment: Check every 3,000 miles
Spark plugs: Clean/adjust every 3,000 miles
Ignition timing: Check/adjust every 3,000 miles

At the dawn of the Seventies, Moto Guzzi’s U.S. fortunes were on the rise thanks to the popularity of its V7 and Ambassador V-twins. Yet Moto Guzzi chief engineer Lino Tonti knew that continued success meant building the brand beyond touring bikes. What Guzzi needed, Tonti believed, was a sport bike.

By late 1969, Tonti was already sowing the seeds that would grow to become the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. With a new welded, triangulated frame of Tonti’s own design and a 748cc version of the V7/Ambassador’s 757cc V-twin, the 5-speed V7 Sport proved beyond doubt that Moto Guzzi could make a sport bike to run with the best of them. Building on this new foundation, Guzzi applied Lino Tonti’s brilliant frame to a succession of new models.

In 1974, Guzzi introduced the 850T (for “Tonti”), which featured the V7’s frame and a mildly tweaked version of the Eldorado’s 844cc V-twin. A single front disc brake gave it reasonable stopping power, and the big engine in the Tonti frame gave lively performance.

4/6/2018 8:03:34 AM

A 1976 T3 was my first Guzzi, I had been riding an R100RS for 14 years. Since then, I have owned 5 Tonti framed machines, my favorite being a 1983 LMIII. I now have a Convert and a G5 in the stable. MB Mpls, Mn

10/22/2015 1:47:52 PM

Great article on the Moto Guzzi T3. I bought a 1976 T3 with at rue 12,000 miles in Xmas 2014 from a mate who put it in his garage 30 years before following the purchase of a car after his first born turned up. The shocks had long since died and the exhaust and side panels were all rusted, the breaks had sized but it was all there. The good news was the engine did turn over as my mate had put oil down the bores . 3 months of stripping the engine and changing all the oil seals , brake seals , new spokes were fitted and Conti Go tyres. She is everything you described in the article , a lovely handling usable classic with a reasonable turn of speed . I have spent the summer pottering around Kent in the UK and left my much faster and more comfortable BMW RS languishing in the garage. I have been a fan since riding my mates guzzi 1000 in the early 80s

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