Obsession in the pursuit of perfection can drive a man crazy and has seen many an artist go crazy or resort to cutting off an ear. That is the danger of walking the tightrope in the endeavour to reach nirvana, but the reward when it works turns the agony into ecstasy. This is the life of Axel Budde of Hamburg’s Kaffeemaschine, as he continues to turn out one perfect Moto Guzzi after another. No other marque is now worthy of his time and just when we thought he couldn’t go one better, he’s returned with ‘Special No. 33’ a Le Mans Mk III that has us worshipping at the altar of Axel.
Now in their 100th year, the longest run of any European motorcycle manufacturer, Moto Guzzi has always built beautiful bikes. Even in its earliest days, there was something special about the marque, an Italian seductress that just made you desperate to throw a leg over. But then the ’80s hit and while it is true that almost every marque suffered from the same shoulder pad wearing, cocaine-induced, horrific designs. The Italian’s took their gorgeous twin-cylinder bikes and dressed them up in a way that still makes us shudder.
Undress the Guzzi however and things were much more pleasant; refusing to buckle to the pressure of perimeter frames, oddball turbo engines and archaic fuel injection that most of the other makers were experimenting with. The company retained their glorious foundation with Tonti frames and character filled horizontal V-Twins. It is from this base that Axel does his work and with another Le Mans III in his possession and up onto his bench, it was time to turn out another piece of perfection.
The frame is prepared in the same meticulous way he always does his work, with all the welds checked, the unrequired tabs and brackets cut off and smoothed out, and the large subframe cut back to the bare bones he needs; no more, no less. Now he could begin to craft the bodywork that makes his bikes such a standout, but this time with a difference. In the past he’s used all manner of metals, most recently 2mm aluminium, but now he’s gone one step further and everything you see is carbon-fibre and kevlar.
Starting at the front you get the glorious blade-style fender that hugs the tyre hard and is held in place by his own bracket work. But it is that stunning front fairing in true cafe racer style that grabs the attention first, the picture perfect lines held in place by a hand made front subframe that is just as good to look at. Topped with a clear screen, its lightweight and ultra strong construction makes it equally as functional and the theme continues on to the gorgeous shapes of the tank and tailpiece that are both made from the ultra-expensive materials.
The solid blue colour has no need to be fancy, high gloss and perfectly laid down, it allows the bodywork to shine. Providing the perfect base the rest of the paint is a low gloss silver to match the raw metal of the mechanical components. They of course are the large block and twin cases of the 844cc engine that has been pumped out to a full litre in capacity. There is no area of the engine that is left untouched with the dynamically balanced crankshaft spinning a set of hand-selected connecting rods and larger pistons for the increased swept capacity.
The cylinder heads have been pumped and ported, with all of Axel’s years of Guzzi experience poured into ensuring they flow at their best. Larger valves are employed to help fill the bigger cylinders and a custom camshaft of Kaffeemaschine’s own specifications has been ground for the task. A lightweight and balanced flywheel helps the engine to spin up fast with electronic ignition and Dellorto PHF carburettors completing the upgrades. The gearbox and final drive are revised to match the characteristics of the new engine before it was onto the dyno for a final tune.
Everything on the bike is high end, whether it be the all new brake system with stainless steel braided lines or the exquisite leather seat, nothing is done by half. The suspension has been completely redone for a sporting yet plush ride and the flat shoulder aluminium rims are wrapped up in Conti Road Attack tyres. Axel even makes his own switchgear to give the cockpit a high end feel and the entire wiring loom is built from scratch and then neatly hidden away. With all that power being transferred through the ultra smooth shaft drive and the minimal weight of the carbon bodywork, we can only imagine that No. 33 pulls like a freight train, but it’s hard to take your eyes away from her even as she just stands still.