There is a great privilege in being given the opportunity to witness a master craftsman fine-tune their skills over the years and hear from them the passion that drives them in the pursuit of perfection. It is impossible for words or pictures to ever truly convey just how incredible their creations are, but we do our best to tell their story. Hailing from Hamburg, Axel Budde has been giving us this gift for years, and the genius behind some of the world’s greatest Guzzis is back for another showing. But don’t mistake Kaffeemaschine build number 40 as being anything like his past bikes, yes she’s another gorgeous girl, but this 1980 Le Mans II has been distilled down to the absolute perfect drop.
I’ll give the game away immediately, the bodywork is carbon fibre, the engine is as good as a Guzzi gets, she’s been built to be a true GT in the grand tradition of the ultimate European sports tourers, and a host of the important components have been developed and built in-house at the Kaffeemaschine garage to take the riding experience of the famous Italian twin, to heights never achieved before in the history of the illustrious brand. Put simply, what sits before you is not just a beautiful bike, but as close to as perfect a Moto Guzzi as has ever been built.
When I first saw the photos I fell in love, as I always do with Axel’s custom creations. But it wasn’t until he explained the detail of the build that I truly appreciated what I was looking at. This is Axel’s own bike, a machine used to develop the parts for his GT series of bikes, that are destined to take you on the trip of a lifetime, and leave you never wanting to get out of the saddle. This is no easy task with any custom bike, looks often mean that functionality has to be compromised and a stunning seat can leave your bum in tatters in just over an hour.
But not an inch of this build hasn’t been thoroughly thought through, and it all starts with the Tonti-designed frame of a 1980 Le Mans Mk II. The highly triangulated, straight tube chassis was always known for its brilliant handling, but Axel applies a host of his own tricks to make it even better, including adding an all-new subframe and applying extra gussets in just the right places. From here the process of turning it into a roller begins with the wheels, and Guzzi hubs are mated to new San Remo rims, that have been laced together using all-new stainless spokes.
Handling is a key feature for Axel, and having improved the stock forks as far as they could go, he has now crafted an entirely new Kaffeemaschine front end that will be featured on all the GT series bikes. It all starts with the machined triple trees, that feature a unique steering stem and the ability to adjust the steering angle. Through these drops a custom-turned set of 40mm fork tubes, that house the best of modern dampening equipment and sliding bushes. All of these parts, including the one-off axles are machined from solid alloy block and Axel reports that “the first kilometres were very promising with a wonderful comfort and response.”
A steering stabiliser is also incorporated into the package, while the rear end features a custom brace and Wilbers adjustable rear shocks built to Axel’s exacting specifications. The braking system definitely doesn’t let the team down, with stainless lines throughout, modern Brembo masters and entirely rebuilt calipers clamping new discs.
While Axel was piecing all of this together, he was awaiting parts that he had previously designed, and every last part of the bodywork arrived back, made entirely from high-end carbon fibre. From that gorgeous tank to the side panels with custom storage, the seat base and the fenders, it’s picture perfect and weighs nothing at all.
From 228kg, all loaded up the Guzzi now tips the scales at just 184kg, but you better believe that doesn’t mean the engine remains stock. The bottom end is blueprinted and balanced, with a new crank connected to a lightweight flywheel for improved response. The top end features Kaffeemaschine’s own flowed and polished cylinder heads and one of their custom ground camshafts slots in too.
Electronic ignition powers the party and allows the timing to be tuned to perfection, which is exactly what Axel can do with that set of gorgeous Dell’Orto PHF carbs, with their own machined velocity stacks, and a full stainless exhaust for good measure.
The tricks don’t stop there, “Our electrical system includes heated grips and seat, a sensor key lock, our USB charging socket in the steering head” and quick locks for the side storage and removable custom luggage bracket. The case, with a waterproof transparent top for your navigation, is made from the same beautiful black Aniline leather as the seat. “There is also room for a wallet, phone, water and a pullover inside of our waterproof, lockable carbon fibre frame box.” Even the rearsets have been redesigned so that they now give more adjustment for comfort.
Built beautifully, but ready to eat up the miles, the GT series based on KM40 is now ready to roll, and owners are given everything they need to simply get out on the road and ride, it really is heaven on two wheels.
[ Kaffeemaschine | Instagram ]