When it comes to design, the 90s has a lot to answer for. Even the Italians, renowned for their design and aesthetic excellence, got caught up in the fads of the time. The 90s Moto Guzzi SP1000 III is one fine example. Known as the ‘gentleman tourer’, the SP3 had a huge high-mounted full fairing and very harsh angular lines. So, when a customer brought one into the Side Rock Cycles garage in Bournemouth, England, they were looking to transform this Italian V-twin into a more modern, lighter-weight ‘gentleman racer’. Their client, Tony, wanted ‘top quality components and plenty of bling’ – which was music to their ears.
After giving the SP a mechanical check, Side Rock were pleased to discover that the engine was in great condition. Even though this later SP wasn’t the best-looking ever made, it was one of the best-selling models due to its superb handling and power at the time.
The stock tank was ditched and replaced with a gorgeous alloy tank from The Tank Shop in Scotland. Once the bike was stripped down, the tank, frame, wheels, new seat and alloy front mudguard were sent off to Wicked Coatings for a fresh new colour scheme.
The stunning satin gold is a ‘Marchesini’ shade and the red is a Ferrari colour with a subtle metal flake in the lacquer for that special sparkle in the sun. To top off the new single seat is some beautiful upholstery by Glenn Moger in black leather, with Tricolore diamond stitching to give a nod to the bike’s Italian birth place.
While all the parts were off getting painted, the motor was stripped for closer inspection and then refreshed with some worthy upgrades. The guys used a RAM single plate clutch and lightweight balanced flywheel which gives a really light lever action and spins the motor up quicker for a better response.
They also fitted a deeper sump with an external oil filter, a timing chain kit with upgraded tensioner, refreshed heads, new piston rings and stainless braided oil lines. Once all the mechanical work was done, the motor and transmission were treated to a satin black finish with highlighted fins and all stainless fasteners.
To increase the handling and braking on the SP, the forks were refreshed and a new set of racing-specification, custom-made and fully-adjustable Maxton shocks were fitted. The original Brembo twin pot calipers were junked in favour of a set of four-pot Brembo’s and a new pair of floating discs bolted on.
SRC then hit up their go-to CNC machinist, Rob, to make a billet alloy top yoke which had to incorporate new ‘fat bar’ clamps. He also made a stainless top nut with integrated start button and mountings for the new Acewell speedo. To finish off the front end, Rob CNC’d a lovely new fork brace to prevent any fork twist.
Since all the original electrics, including the loom, were binned, a new bespoke loom was made to mate up with all the new high-tech electronics housed in a custom tray under the seat. These include a Motogadget M-unit controller, M-button, keyless ignition, push button switches, LED bar end indicators, Koso Thunderbolt LED headlamp and multi-function Highsider rear LED lights – which were set into the end of the frame rails.
The original 90s ignition system was replaced with a state-of-the-art Elektronik Sachse digital programmable system and, together with the new Dyna coils, now produces a big fat spark every time.
With the Delorto carbs fully overhauled and fitted with flip-up chokes and spun alloy bellmouths, it now breathes much better. Combining the carbs with the brushed stainless ‘Le Mans’ exhaust system from OS Pipes and the Guzzi results in a note sweeter than Pavarotti.
The end result is a gorgeous Guzzi with better handling, modern electrics and retro styling that would make Carlo Guzzi proud. If you live around the Kent area in the UK, you may see “SkyFin” thundering along with Tony at the helm, grinning from ear to ear.