Razor-sharp one-off Guzzi Le Mans from London custom builders

Now that’s a café racer. We think.

Razor-sharp one-off Guzzi Le Mans from London custom builders

NO matter how hard the big motorcycle manufacturers try, they’ll never be able to match the imagination of genuine custom bike builders, as demonstrated by this.

It’s what London custom house Death Machines did with a 1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans Mk2 discovered in a yard in Italy, and we’re not sure we’ve ever seen anything quite like it.

It’s called ‘Airforce’, in homage to Giovanni Ravelli, who was an aviation pioneer as well as motorcycle racer and founder of Moto Guzzi. It was built to mark the anniversary of his death, on January 14 1887.

The brushed aluminium bodywork has been painstakingly hand-shaped, and looks sharp enough to shave with.

Every design decision began with the question ‘What would Giovanni do?’ according to Death Machines.

The custom house said: ‘They say convenient is the enemy of right. Mr Giovanni Ravelli, a co-founder of Moto Guzzi, was not a man to take the convenient path. WW1 fighter pilot, aviator and motorcycle racer, he was so fast he became known as ‘The Italian Devil’. We hope he would have appreciated the fact that our Moto Guzzi Airforce, built in his memory and released on his birthday, was the most inconvenient thing we’ve ever made.’

If you’re curious about Death Machines’ name, you make, like us, be intrigued by its origin.

An explanation on the website says: ‘When he was twelve, James's [Hilton, propretor] uncle took him on his first motorcycle ride. The uncle advised him not to tell his dad. So he told his dad to see what would happen. Motorcycles going down like a bag of shit is what happened. 'Motorcycles are death machines, son.' was the concluding advice.’