Return of the Cafe Racers - Destined to Guzzi – Marcin’s T3 Cafe Racer

Destined to Guzzi – Marcin’s T3 Cafe Racer

If you don’t get Moto Guzzis or you don’t like their looks that’s ok; Guzzis are not a flash-in-the-pan affair. It’s more of a slow burn that like all good things, takes time to develop. Not only am I a long-time Moto Guzzi fan, but I also find the Moto Guzzi T3 from the 1970s particularly alluring. The T3 features a great handling frame and a Guzzi big block engine that could be maintained by a child.  A man who understands this completely is Marcin Guja, of Poland. A well-versed Guzzisti of 20 years, he feels a strong affinity for the Italian brand and this T3 cafe racer is his latest work.

“I’ve made about 15 motorcycles based on Moto Guzzi.” Marcin recalls. “This brand is my destiny as our initials are the same!” In this instance, the build was quite an international affair. Marcin set out collecting parts from Latvia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Holland and the USA. Inspired by the likes of Ritmo Sereno, Officine Rosspuro, Magni and Moto Studio, Marcin set about to build his vision of the perfect Italian cafe racer.

Moto Guzzi T3 cafe racer

Marcin began the project with a 1980 Moto Guzzi T3 rolling frame, almost identical to the venerable Le Mans models of the same period. However to power his creation he thought that a true cafe racer deserved a big boost in power. Therefore this T3 is powered by an early-2000s 1100cc engine from Moto Guzzi’s V11. Fuel-injected from the factory, Marcin promptly threw the whole EFI system in the bin, reverting back to the old ways with Dell’ Orto PHM40 carburettors. Delivering those extra horses to the rear wheel is a 5-speed gearbox from a California III that Marcin retrofit to the upgraded engine. The spent air inhaled by those oversized carbs exits via a Le Mans-style Lafranconi exhaust system.

“The V11 engine does give me a lot of gratification,” says Marcin. “but the tune-up was the most challenging part.”

While the engine was away getting a lick of paint Marcin turned his hand to the frame and bodywork. Subsequently, the frame was de-tabbed and the subframe shortened to accommodate fibreglass bodywork. Marcin built the seat unit himself. However the Le Mans/early V7 fibreglass tank was sourced and a front fender was lifted from a Moto Guzzi Nevada (do not Google the Nevada, thank me later). In addition, a Rickman-style fairing was installed up front and all the associated bracketry was made to adapt it to the headstock. After that, he mounted the stock T3 speedometer within a custom machined bezel on the top yoke.

Moto Guzzi T3 cafe racer

For the paint, Marcin chose a luxurious black and gold scheme and it looks the business. I’m particularly fond of the way the gold pinstriping accentuates the body lines and separates the matte black sections from the gloss. Marcin even left some unpainted lines on the tank to monitor his fuel level which adds a vintage race bike feel to the whole package.

Keeping the bike supported through the twisties are rebuilt forks with progressive springs. In addition, Marcin has installed modern YYC shocks in the rear. The factory triple-Brembo arrangement has also been rebuilt with stainless steel brake lines. Marcin didn’t mention if he kept the linked braking system or if he is running them de-linked. That’s a popular aftermarket modification and heresy if you’re a Guzzisti. The bike’s wheels are the standard Moto Guzzi T3 items painted gold to match his modified frame. I am a complete sucker for gold wheels and I’m glad Marcin feels the same way!

With the build progressing well Marcin turned to the aspect most of us loathe and/or fear – the electrics. As the EFI system was dumped Marcin had to make the entire wiring loom from scratch, including the ignition system. Ignitech came to the rescue with a universal ignition module and having personally used Ignitech products I can attest to their quality.

“The only thing left was to tune the engine, adjust the carburettors and go for a test ride.” recalls Marcin. “Performance-wise I’m extremely happy. I was able to create a motorcycle with a classic style and strong character – riding it gives me a lot of satisfaction. It has the authentic look of a 70’s bike. It has a lot of interesting details and custom elements that are unusual in modern cafe projects. A classic cafe racer with strong performance, made for enjoyable rides!”

After a long time of searching, I stopped looking for a Moto Guzzi T3 months ago. But after seeing Marcin’s transformation, I’m seriously reconsidering that move…


Story by Ben Pilatti

Moto Guzzi T3 cafe racer

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