The Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert

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The Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert may sport an automatic transmission, but that doesn't mean it can't make the best of your favorite winding road.
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The Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert .
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The Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert .
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A big V-twin is the heart of the Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert. Reliable and economical, Guzzi engines are famous for their longevity.
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The Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert .
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The Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert .

Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert
Years produced:
1975-1982
Total production: N/A
Claimed power: 71hp @ 6,500rpm
Top speed: 110mph
Engine type: 949cc overhead valve, air-cooled transverse 90-degree V-twin
Weight (dry): 255kg (560lb)
Price then: $3,495 (1976)
Price now: $4,000-$6,000
MPG: 35-45

You pretty much know what you’re going to get when you ride an old Moto Guzzi tourer — or so I thought before riding the Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert.

I was expecting a slow-revving V-twin engine, a laid-back riding position and a large, comfortable seat. The Guzzi certainly ticked all those boxes, thanks to its wide handlebars and a huge, squashy dual seat that feels more like a waterbed than a typical bike perch.

But the Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert was like no other bike I’d ridden before, and really I should not have been surprised about that. The reason for this Guzzi’s unique feel is its big, agricultural 949cc V-twin engine coupled to its automatic transmission, which meant that my left hand had nothing to do apart from an occasional flick of the turn signal, while my left boot never had to leave the broad floorboard where it was resting.

Rumbling down some sleepy country roads on this extraordinary classic Italian motorcycle was a pleasant way to spend a hot summer afternoon, even if the Guzzi’s age, weight and idiosyncrasies mean that riding it isn’t always as relaxing as the bike’s flat torque curve and zero-effort transmission system might suggest.  But the Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert certainly impressed enough to make me understand why it was well received by most who rode it back in the late Seventies, even if it didn’t convince many motorcyclists of the benefit of automatic boxes.

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